This month I thought it was important to tackle the ol’ hunting vs. farming concept. Office technology dealers are some of the best hunters we have seen over the years. That’s probably still true today, except the market, technology, etc. continue to change. The biggest opportunity I’ve seen since entering the industry 7 years ago is to shift to farming. And I’m a hunter at heart!
Here’s how to come to this conclusion:
- You have hundreds or even thousands of customers already. The work has been done to create a base. Leverage that base!
- You have significant data on these customers, whether from old buying habits and/or their whole fleet in your remote monitoring software.
- Most customers only buy one or two offerings and you likely have more to offer this year and next.
- It’s MUCH less expensive to farm vs. hunt.
The biggest hindrance to following this obvious path to revenue seems to be the reliance on outbound sales. I’m not saying you don’t need this. It’s just likely you don’t need more of it right away. Outbound reps with their current commission structures will not get out of bed to action transactional supply orders. They won’t sell more A4’s. They’re likely not equipped to sell IT very well at first. So, if you asked them what can be done, they’d just say, “find me more leads”.
Sales reps should be one option to consider as an owner. Not the end all be all.
Instead of putting more effort into something that is shrinking in success, why not try some farming to compliment what you already have? Did you have someone call every single account you have this year to ask what else you can do for them? Why not? Before I go into how e-commerce can make all that much easier and more cost effective, ask yourself why you haven’t contacted everyone to see what other opportunities exist? With tools like CRMs there is no reason you shouldn’t be able to check to see if this was actually done.
Enter e-commerce as a farming tool…
You can now farm with efficiency:
- Set customers up on your e-commerce platform
- Set up pricing, quotes, favorites, Supply Cupboard, etc. to tailor their experience
- Ask them, “is anything else we can do for you?”
- Rinse and repeat
The trick here is to stay hungry and enjoy your meals. Care less about how you get the food to the table. Put your ego aside and care only about getting the wins. Who really cares if it’s from hunting or farming, or both?
I can promise that if you’ve done some honest farming of your account base this year you already see the value.