The changes we have seen in our professional lives during these challenging times, be it remote working or digital processes, are not new. They are, rather, an acceleration of trends we had seen emerge in recent years, but at a rate much more aggressive than we could have imagined.
This has been particularly true with regards digitalization, an area which has represented an important pivot for Kyocera in recent years due to the increasing need for smart workflows, paperless processes, and streamlined document solutions.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the demand for these services soar. Without them, many businesses simply would not have been able to survive.
At Kyocera, we have used digital tools to become more efficient and agile, and to boost our capability of providing better solutions for our customers.
The pandemic has had a substantial impact on end-user behavior. As per findings from the consulting firm McKinsey, the number of consumers who now use digital channels has increased by an average of 20-25 percent during the lockdown. Moreover, they report that first-time digital consumers now account for almost 40 percent of the growth in digital goods and services.
As we have seen with retail, the pandemic has shifted demand for goods and services online and our dealers have had to quickly adapt and show tremendous agility and flexibility. This is the approach that will be sure to win us many lucrative deals going forward.
Even if our customers do not buy our products online, they are able to gather a wealth of information and are often well-informed by the time they engage with us. As a result, we must become smarter in how we approach and speak to customers.
This needs to be factored into the sales pitch process. It is vital we find new ways of creating value from the very first interaction.
Our dealers will play a key role in giving these customers new reasons to choose Kyocera by providing them with the unique insights that come from our experience.
This shift to digital also means that customers are less loyal than before. They are now able to easily compare products and prices and, if they see a better deal, very often they will not hesitate to jump ship.
As market and consumer behaviors continue to change, it is paramount that our salespeople receive the training they need to do what they do best. This will be critical to future success. Training does not simply refer to knowing our products inside out; it is now vital to have a broad understanding of technology, economic trends, and market dynamics.
Nowadays, the best salespeople are those who are excellent listeners as well as those with the ability to ask customers the right questions, to really understand their pains.
Detailed research before approaching C-Suite executives allows us to understand the current situation of their company, their priorities, and future plans (expansion, diversification etc.). These insights help us create a more personalized and appealing proposition – vital ingredients to help capture the decision maker’s attention. These are people who receive proposals and pitches on a daily basis, and we need to immediately stand out.
The outdated “One size fits all” approach no longer works; success will now be enjoyed by those who are able to create personalized solutions that can add value to a customer’s business.
Based on the dealer feedback, we have seen the power of cold calling during the pandemic because it has been easier to reach executives and decision makers. We have also seen that in many cases, effective lead generation activities have paid dividends. This shows us the importance of a comprehensive strategy when approaching potential customers.
In this regard, the use of digital marketing tools to obtain qualified leads has been, and will continue to be, fundamental. These tools have enabled our dealers to quickly capture attention and demonstrate the value of Kyocera.
Throughout history it has been said that from every crisis comes opportunity. The current pandemic is no exception.
We have used this period to invest more time than ever in developing sales training for our dealer network. We have also accelerated our plans to implement new technology such as marketing automation tools and web content management to help generate greater demand and interaction.
In terms of our products, we have introduced an exciting new inkjet printer that promises to disrupt the production printing segment. We have also looked to strengthen our IT services business, and we are ready to cope with the potential increase in demand for A4 products that may come from companies reverting back to decentralized printing and individual desktop A4 MFP’s and printers in the wake of the pandemic.
Moreover, we have put a greater emphasis than ever on communication, both internally and externally. This is the only way to battle through a crisis and emerge stronger.
President & CEO
KYOCERA Document Solutions America, Inc.