Impact's "Sales Philosophy" Formula for Success
November 1, 2000
The yardstick of success is not an easily read ruler that defines fortune clearly. Everyone measures success differently. Some people measure success by monetary gains. Others define success by their personal or professional accomplishments. For Frank Cucco and Dan Meyer success is calculated by what they have achieved with their office technology brainchild, Impact Networking LLC.
During its first year, Impact Networking has become the mid-west's largest Kyocera Mita dealer, and it has maintained that position for the last eight months running. For Chicago area businesses, Impact Networking has quickly become the office technology dealer to connect with for digital imaging products, sales and service.
So why is this digital imaging technology dealer succeeding in a market saturated with traditional copier dealer competition? According to Frank Cucco, CEO of Impact Networking, success is defined in two words, "sales philosophy." This philosophy is the unique sales strategy Impact Networking has developed.
"Between myself and Dan [Meyer], we have over 40 years experience in this industry," says Cucco. "With our knowledge, we developed a sales philosophy that we feel gives our sales force an advantage over the next guy. Without talented, well equipped sales teams, we would not be successful."
This sales philosophy does not concentrate on unit sales alone. It first focuses on the sales force itself. It concentrates on the tools and techniques that are provided to support the sales force. An example is their account database, which stores over 90,000 accounts. Armed with this ACT! database, Impact's sales force can access detailed information on a specific customer's account. Every sales rep has approximately 3,000 territory contacts stored into their personal databases. Each day changes are made to the main database keeping account information up to date and accurate. This constant updating allows sales professionals to have more information on a specific account in the network, enabling them to be more knowledgeable about their clients and their needs.
"The database helps our people to immediately respond to a customers needs," commented Dan Meyer, Vice President of Impact Networking. "We feel that it is crucial to have accurate account information and a quick response time when dealing with today's customers."
"We are in an industry that sells technology, and we have formulated Impact Networking as a technology driven company from the beginning," stated Cucco. "With technology moving at such a rapid pace, we felt we needed to equip our sales force with the technology tools that they need to succeed."
"You would think something as simple as a providing sales reps with a territory database would be common in our industry, but it's not. The office technology industry is still years behind in updating some basic selling techniques, which is one of the reasons we've grown to be so successful in such a short amount of time," continues Cucco.
ACT databases alone though don't make a sales force cutting edge. Another edge is the Impact Networking showroom. With a state-of-the-art 11,400 square- foot facility, the showroom is equipped with a 3,000 square-foot digital lab. This lab simulates almost any office environment and allows a prospect to experience Kyocera Mita digital office technology in a "real-life" situation.
"Our lab is constantly being updated with the latest in software and hardware. We have a 69% conversion rate with the prospects that visit our digital lab. By offering a hands-on, try-before-you-buy showroom to potential customers, we can immerse potential clients in the digital imaging products that Kyocera Mita offers. Our customers see this as a very valuable tool in their decision making process".
Efficiency is another key Impact Networking uses to achieve success. All sales force telephone calls are logged and monitored by a call accounting system for three key pieces of information to maintain a high level of efficiency: the time the call was made, who the sales rep contacted, and how long the interaction lasted. This information is recorded to make members of the sales force accountable for their time, and sales.
"Developing successful sales people requires training them in three main areas—sales skills, product knowledge, and time/territory management. Tracking their call levels and daily activity (time spent talking to current and potential customers) is essential to increasing their productivity and improving their time and territory management," stated Meyer.
Calculating their formula for success, Impact Networking realized that sales revenue alone would not produce the outcome they first envisioned. Service was also a vichieving the desired goals.
"No sale is ever finished. We want to continue the relationships we establish when customers purchase technology. The best way to continue with a positive relationship is with quality service". "This has been accomplished by specializing in Kyocera Mita digital imaging systems. Impact's technicians work exclusively on digital systems from one manufacturer, which increases their expertise and simplifies warehouse parts inventories and technicians' car stocks."
Impact Networking offers all customers a 24/7 guarantee. The 24/7 guarantee is a service program that offers service anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. An Impact Networking technician is available by pager at all times. Other service strategies include, three hour guaranteed response time, 98% uptime guaranteed, free loaner policy and unlimited customer training.
To supplement the sales philosophy that has generated Impact Networking's success, an avant-garde website has been developed and is constantly updated. "Unlike most office technology dealer websites, impactnetworking.com has the capability to actually offer a secure transactional-based interface. Customers and prospects can use the website to purchase supplies, access company and product information, and communicate via e-mail," commented Cucco.
To enhance the efforts of the website, Impact Networking implemented an integrated and coordinated advertising strategy. By using consistent radio support targeted at key demographics, Impact Networking creates a message that effectively communicates customer benefits. The radio spots utilize actual customer testimonials to define the Impact Networking message. The radio spots are also posted on the website, giving the message a broader audience reach.
"Our success has occurred simply because we have been willing to change with the industry. We have implemented all the tools that our team members need to succeed. This has generated a winning culture, and the results of this culture have benefited our customers. Success starts at the top and trickles down. The experience of our entire team and our policies and strategies all have one common goal, and that is to satisfy the customer," commented Cucco.
Since its inception, Impact Networking has certainly impacted Chicago-land businesses. So what is in the future for Impact Networking? According to Cucco, Impact Networking will expand and open a new branch every 18 months. Their long-term goal?
"In five years, we will be a $25 million company," comments Cucco. With their vision and their willingness to stay on the leading edge in sales technique and technology, can anyone doubt them?
Impact Networking is an authorized Kyocera Mita dealer, with corporate headquarters based in Waukegan, Illinois. Impact Networking services the entire Chicago metropolitan area in Northern Illinois, and Southeastern Wisconsin.
For more information on Impact Networking, call 888-752-0052, or log on to impactnetworking.com.