How are you planning to grow your business in the second half of 2016? What if you could increase the size of each sale rather than having to find more net-new customers?
Interestingly, the marketplace for workflow and business process automation (BPA) tools remains strong. Wintergreen Research explains that the market for BPA will grow from $3.4 billion in 2014 to $10 billion by 2020. Need a little clarification on what BPA is and how to start selling these solutions? Keep reading for some tips for success.
What is meant by business process automation, or BPA? Business process automation is often used to describe the process of moving from analog, paper-based processes to digital workflows. These solutions usually combine the ability to automatically route documents to different users for specific tasks with collaboration and security tools. Many include an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) application, so that the information or document is at the center of the process.
Given that the average knowledge worker makes close to $20 per hour, businesses today are highly motivated to replace manual process steps with automated solutions, and this is where you will see the size of your average sale increase. Solving a business problem often requires more than a single technology solution. For example, moving almost any process from paper-based records to electronic files requires a scanner, imaging software, and a document management application or cloud service. Rather than simply selling a scanner or selling just the ECM component of the solution, VARs begin to see significant growth as they combine technologies into business process solutions for customers.
How does it work? One of the easiest ways to start selling BPA is to choose common business processes like invoice processing for AP or hiring for HR and then design a solution that includes all the necessary components to streamline the entire process. Packaging all the technologies into a seamless package makes it easier for your customer to buy and for you to implement. For example, consider invoice processing for AP. When moving from primarily paper invoices to digital options, companies should consider the following five steps:
1. Scan – Using a scanner or MFD and imaging software to create digital files to replace paper invoices
2. Index – Applying identifying metadata to each digital invoice in the imaging application so it can be quickly located using keyword search
3. Reconcile – Viewing purchase order, delivery, and invoice records side-by-side to verify quantities and pricing using an ECM application
4. Remit –Obtaining needed approvals and authorizations prior to issuing payment by routing records to each individual in the process using automated workflow software
5. Retain – Setting retention periods and verifying approvals prior to records deletion using an ECM application or cloud-based service helps companies track and meet records retention guidelines
Armed with this simple explanation of the process of automating AP, you sell your prospect on the lower cost, better control of sensitive information, and improved efficiency of digital invoicing rather than confusing them with too much detail about the software and features needed to accomplish their goal. Thus, it’s much easier for your customer to buy.
DataBank is one of the largest imaging and information management resellers in the United States, and they’ve experienced significant growth over the last 10 years. The company’s CEO Chuck Bauer explained, “The day of the glad-handed sales person has passed. Today, customers demand someone in front of them with in-depth knowledge. Customers have already done their research on the web, which gives them a foundation. Now they need you, the reseller, to help them understand how products can boost the money-making power of their businesses.” DataBank offers a broad range of hardware and software options, so they can tailor a package best suited to their customer’s specific needs. Information management and BPA is about presenting the right data to the right decision maker at the right time. “Your customers want to decide and then move on. As a reseller, your challenge is to make this process as simple and effective as you can,” said Bauer.
Taking the time to think about helping your customer to achieve a goal or solve a problem will change your perspective about how to sell technology. You’ll find that most business challenges require more than one technology, so your average sale size will increase. Plus you’ll find that your customers are happier when they can get a total solution from a single vendor, rather than having to cobble together technologies themselves.