Many economists believe that even after a full recovery from the Great Recession, employment numbers will lag significantly behind where they were before the meltdown occurred. They will eventually rebound to pre-recessionary levels, but with an interesting twist—many people will find completely new jobs using new skills in new industries. This is because businesses of all sizes have been forced to do more with fewer resources and in the course of doing so have reengineered business processes to a new level of efficiency. Although this trend has impeded job growth, it has enabled companies to weather the storm, and embark on the road to economic recovery.
This is not a new concept. R. Buckminster Fuller coined the term “ephemeralization” decades ago to describe the ability of technology to “do more with less and less until eventually you can do everything with nothing.” That of course might be a bit of a stretch, but it at least describes the intent of just about every business trying to get the most out of available resources.
Companies who have successfully navigated the recent recession have done just that. They have used new technology and equipment to reengineer themselves. Businesses have become more efficient, less wasteful and much more agile.
Despite this trend, many equipment vendors are still concerned about the state of the economy and business as well. They fear that their customers’ attempts to cut costs will ultimately result in a reduced demand for equipment. They look at the mindset behind doing more with less and assume that customers are going to tighten the purse strings and stop acquiring equipment. They see the present state of the business landscape as a challenge to be overcome, while businesses struggle to get back on their feet.
The reality is that this is not a challenge—it’s an opportunity. Any organization seeking to do more with less needs help in doing it. They need new technology and equipment, they need the expertise to properly deploy those resources, and then they need to fund the entire solution.
The point is that companies who are seeking to streamline their internal operations in order to maximize are actively seeking not only solutions, but vendors who can help deploy them. This translates into a massive opportunity for the equipment vendor who can see the potential and move to capitalize on it. The reality is that the more aggressive a company is about the need to transform, the more equipment they are going to need to do it.
For this reason, equipment vendors should focus on showing their customers how to do more with less—by using new equipment, properly deployed, and completely funded. Doing this effectively will have a significant impact on sales growth, but it will also require a completely reengineered approach to traditional equipment sales. Most equipment vendors have understood for quite some time that effective selling in their particular market space requires a consultative approach. In today’s rapidly evolving marketplace, consultative selling is being replaced by solution implementation.
The convergence and evolution of different technologies and related equipment is bringing vendors of diverse disciplines together into virtual partnerships that enable them to create sophisticated bundled solutions, literally on the fly. Basic office equipment has evolved into sophisticated print management solutions. Telephone systems now carry both voice and data throughout the company and throughout the world. Everything is tied to the network, including data storage and security. All of this requires even more dedicated equipment and infrastructure. And any equipment vendor who can organize all of the diverse elements and bring them to market will achieve dramatic success.
Doing this however requires a thorough understanding of the customers’ needs and problems, and then the expertise to know how to meet the needs and solve the problems. An excellent approach to doing this is to partner with a financing source that understands the marketplace and its problems, and that has the resources necessary to not only help develop and propose solutions, but then to fund them as well. Showing prospective buyers not only how to solve problems with state-of-the-art technology and equipment but how to pay for it as well creates a powerful competitive advantage in the marketplace.