The Xerox Innovation Centre at the Xerox Europe Headquarters enables Xerox channel partners and end-users to see first hand Xerox’s industry-leading technology and managed print services offerings and experience the real-time evolution of print technology. Xerox Concessionaire, Document Network Services Ltd (DNS) took this concept to the next step when they became the first UK-based Xerox channel partner to create their own Innovation Centre.
A little over a year has passed since the grand opening and we wanted to find out how the DNS Innovation Centre has helped their business grow. A recent conversation with Michael Close, the DNS Marketing Manager, offered insight that might help other channel partners considering a something similar.
Driving demand and differentiation
“The DNS Innovation Centre gives us a unique selling proposition over our competitors,” Michael stated. “And, it has helped our sales people embrace the solutions by creating an environment where they are better able to understand the details of exactly how Xerox solutions work.” This enables the team to help customers remain happy as they move along the buyer’s journey.
Building an Innovation Centre where customers arrive “ready to view and test solutions” removes obstacles inherent when calling on customers at their locations. Yes, traveling salespeople can present sell sheets, images and guides or even videos about products, but learning by doing, is still the most effective way to retain information.
Increasing the sale teams capabilities
Those aren’t the only advantages for the DNS sales team. The DNS Innovation Centre makes it possible to:
- Give compelling demonstrations at a moments’ notice – which means sales can better work within the customer’s timeframe
- Increase event attendance – because planning, hosting and attending events are simplified when the location is convenient
- Stay connected with existing customers – by inviting them in for hands-on learning experiences when new technologies are released
- Provide tailored customer experiences – to their unique needs using real life examples
- Shorten Sales Cycles – by demonstrating proof of concepts prospects can test a variety of solutions in real-time
Impressive and practical
“When we bring customers into the DNS Innovation Centre, they actually test the solutions we’ll put into their businesses before they invest,” Explained Michael. It’s an elevated experience over your typical copier showroom. “Our ability to show people how a solution works is one of the main benefits. Customers are impressed by the layout of the room, our discovery table and how practical and personal the demonstrations are.”
For example, being able to use cutting-edge technology in a purpose-built environment to show how an effective Managed Print Services (MPS) contract works; from initial assessment, to design, to implementation, and all the way through to ongoing management can make a big difference to your success rate.
How to build your own Innovation Centre
The best strategy for getting started, according to Michael is to grow your Innovation Centre at a comfortable pace. “We started with one MFP and added solutions and hardware as we went along,” He said.
Next, when your Innovation Centre is up and running begin scheduling events and start inviting current customers to come view the latest technologies. “We’ve had over 100 visits from customers in the past year,” He added, “we have a lot of customers using print hardware but they aren’t aware of how the solutions can benefit their business.
One of the largest sales we made and implemented recently was due to inviting an existing customer to the DNS Innovation Centre for a custom demonstration.”
If you build it…
Unlike in the film Field of Dreams, “if you build it they won’t come”, as Michael mentioned, you need to drive awareness with a marketing communication plan to make sure that your prospects and customers know what you can offer. Here are the essential digital marketing tactics Michael has used to drive awareness and visits.
If you want your innovation centre to be found by Google, you need a dedicated web page. If you want to encourage prospects to visit, you need online booking capabilities on the page. And, if you want to bring the experience to life you need an introductory video. Then you have the basic ingredients to be able to spread the word using social media.
If you can, leverage existing trade or business memberships. DNS managed to get coverage from Marketing Derby who featured the DNS Innovation Centre in an article that Michael then shared through social media.
Building the Innovation Centre has been a transformative experience for DNS Limited and their clients. I’m sure this investment will help them continue to grow their business for years to come.
Become a Xerox Channel Partner
If you’d like to become a Xerox Channel Partner like Document Network Services then start your journey by joining the Xerox Global Partner Program and learn how you can include Xerox products, solutions and services as part of your value proposition.