How did Tech Data, one of the world’s largest distributors of IT products and services, drive triple-digit growth in service renewal sales last year? It started by taking a closer look at its data, says Dana Farfante Reina, the company’s Cisco Services Marketing Manager. Massive sales gains were only the beginning for Dana and her team as they put a powerful new initiative in place to help Tech Data’s reseller partners grow service revenue and profits while building stronger relationships with their customers.
Earlier this week, Dana took time out of her busy schedule to describe the secret to the distribution giant’s service revenue management success in a webinar titled “How to Build a Best-in-Class Recurring Service Revenue Practice.” (If you missed the live event, don’t worry; a complimentary recording is available here.) And if you want the CliffsNotes edition, we’ve pulled together the highlights below in an easy-to-read question and answer format:
Q1. What did you mean when you said your sales success started with data?
DFR: To alleviate the data issues that we faced across our North American service renewal program, we worked closely with MaintenanceNet to evaluate and cleanse relevant data from a variety of existing sources, such as our ERP system, CRM platform, and our quoting and ordering system. A focus on quality data ensured that the service renewal quotes we produced under our new initiative were not only accurate, but also effectively shared with the right channel partners at the right time in the product or service lifecycle to maximize business results.
Q2. The sheer volume of low-dollar service quotes that resellers have to contend with in the IT channel presents sales obstacles for many organizations. How did you overcome that challenge?
DFR: MaintenanceNet’s AutoQuoteTM solution sets the stage for us to scale at an incredible rate because we’re able to automate quote creation and send out branded, automated emails with built-in quotes that allow purchase to be made in an instant with just a few simple clicks. A “buy now” button prompts the partner to purchase a renewal without picking up the phone. Using automation, we transformed tedious, manual processes and we were able to generate thousands of service quotes each month for our partners in record time.
Q3. How are you able to capture the low-dollar service renewal sale with AutoQuote?
DFR: We honestly did not have a “process” around opportunities under $25K in value until MaintenanceNet began to provide AutoQuotes. Prior to that, we would just email quotes out to customers, but the SMARTattach Opportunity Portal now allows us to offer service quotes to customers proactively and in a much more “actionable” format. Resellers can also access their information via our website: they can view an inventory of contracts, review AutoQuotes, email their end users and manage their service renewal pipeline — all on the portal. With added efficiency and automation, this process should only get easier.
Q4. What are some of the other ways that you were able to achieve the results you did?
DFR: The SMARTattach Opportunity portal, which is a service revenue management platform, gives our resellers visibility into their service contract purchases and aligns relevant data with the products and customers that they support. In addition, the Opportunity portal enables our partners to use customer-specific pricing and branding – and send service quotes directly to their customers, and it also provides self-help tools and allows resellers to create quotes on demand.
Q5. How do you measure and monitor sales progress?
DFR: With the Opportunity portal, we can monitor our ongoing AutoQuote campaign performance and gain insight into other service sales opportunities that our reseller partners can go after.
Q6. What are the most important benefits to your resellers, other than the revenue gains?
DFR: Our partners have also benefited from on-time service quoting and renewals, reduced quote creation time, and the elimination of sales administration tasks and manual quote processes – which has improved the overall operational efficiencies across our partner sales organizations. We can now enable our resellers to deliver quotes quickly, while building and preserving customer relationships. With the SMARTattach Portal – resellers can also gain insight into new service sales opportunities by identifying products sold without services, and then take immediate action by generating a quote.
Q7. What kind of time savings have you achieved by switching from a manually-driven program to one powered by extreme automation?
DFR: With over 7,000 quotes delivered per month, we’re estimating that Tech Data has saved itself over 500 hours through automation and has saved its partners over 1,500 hours. That’s a huge time savings.
Many thanks to Dana for sharing her time and expertise in the webinar. Want to hear more of her best-practice ideas? View the webinar recording now.