Wednesday, January 26, 2011

TCO And The Human Footprint

It is an age old question...

Which is better, centralized copiers versus local printers?

We here at Expert Laser Services support both kinds of devices, we do not go into this discussion with a strong bias.

The honest answer is “IT DEPENDS”. The fact is that copiers and printers can have exactly the same “cost per print” if the right device is selected for the application. Typically, copiers cost more and are leased while printers cost less and are purchased or leased at a lower cost. Total-Cost-of-Ownership (TCO) is the real figure that you want to know. TCO takes into account the monthly lease payment, the cost per print and any and all supplies, parts, and service charges that are added.

There is one additional major issue....
The Human Footprint...

IF employees who do a lot of printing are required to walk distances to retrieve their prints, the cost of that time far exceeds any savings that may or may not exist on Cost-of-Ownership. When employee labor is included, there are few scenarios where centralized printing is cost-effective. But, there certainly are times when it is.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Marketing And Sales: Bridging The Gap

As I prepare to head down to Austin Texas to speak at
MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum I find myself reflecting on my unique position within my company. I am a member of both the marketing and sales teams here at Expert Laser Services and this position has given me a unique perspective on the relationship between the sales and marketing departments.

There is a cliched notion of tension inherent between sales and marketing in the minds of many people and to some extent said presumptions bear the marks of truth.

Working as a living catalyst between these two departments in my own company has given me a true appreciation for both professions. The experience has also provided me with insight into the aforementioned tensions that can arise between the two as well as an understanding of how to diffuse issues that arise from the misconceptions of each.
Below I offer a few tips that help breed understanding and positive relationships between the sales and marketing departments in my own company.

Finding And Nurturing Leads: It is an accepted responsibility of all marketing departments to find leads for the sales team. While many sales professionals are good at chasing down new leads, many fail in nurturing leads after they are turned down. Some would argue that it is marketing’s job to track each interaction with said prospects and to nurture the prospect overtime in the hopes of eventually providing sales with an opportunity to turn the prospect into a customer, however sales professionals would do well to take some of this responsibility into their own hands.

One way to do this is to make use of account management software such as Act. This kind of software is an excellent tool for the sales team. If each member of the sales team made use of such a tool, recording each interaction with new prospects the marketing department can then use said data to produce stronger case sensitive marketing strategies for each specific lead. This is the kind of symbiotic relationship that can help prosper both the marketing and sales team.

Generating Proposals: While the marketing department can certainly help a sale to move forward faster by producing proposals based upon templates in which the sales professional provides the marketing department with only the key details of the company, contact and products or services being sold, sometimes it is best for the sales professional to generate his or her own proposal with a personal touch. While this is not always necessary there will be occasions where the situation calls for this kind of action and both the marketing and sales department can benefit from these atypical situations.

Creating Content: One of the best things a sales professional can do to separate his or herself from the flock is to become a noted thought leader in regards to their products and services and becoming involved with social media marketing is an excellent way to do this. Writing a blog, setting up a Facebook and Linkedin page in addition to communicating through micro-bloging services such as twitter are all excellent ways to generate content which communicates expertise.

Some sales professionals will scoff at this and immediately suggest these kind of tools are for marketing folks only. I must insist to hold this perspective is little more than an unfortunate misconception and at worst the kind of sentiment that leads to the loss of sales. It is likely that some of your competitors sales professionals have already established themselves on the social web and have taken some of these albeit “marketing responsibilities” upon themselves.

Granted you may have to invest your own time to become involved with social media should your company not allow you to work with these tools on company time however, once sales opportunities arise from your efforts you may just be able to change their minds about these company policies if they are in fact currently in place.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Austin Bound

I am pleased to announce that I will be speaking at MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum in Austin, Texas on Friday February 4th in regards to my "Destroy Your Printer Contest".

I must admit I am rather exited, a bit taken aback and honored to be speaking at this event. The track that I will be speaking for will also be hosting three other case studies in addition to my own of which MarketingProfs is hailing as Four of the Hottest SM Case Studies Around!

My hope is that I will be able to inspire others who have yet jump into social media and provide them with a solid case study that proves you can be successful in B2B social media even with no budget.