Integrators of visual communications solutions in the enterprise must come to the realization that their sales opportunities are less about hardware and more about software and services. The commoditization of hardware is manifesting in purchasers putting less emphasis on, or sometimes no longer valuing differentiation in product features. Price is quickly becoming the key differentiator and integrators need to respond. To be effective, they must provide a “total” solution sale, where software and services play the most important part of the offer. The key to this is in fully understanding their client’s business and intimately knowing their brand.
It’s vital to understand the client’s business not just in a superficial way, but in an appreciative way where there is solid acknowledgement of how they earn revenue, what the various revenue streams are, the pressures those streams are under, as well as a general sense of the sector and the competition. Furthermore, having some knowledge of where the company is heading in regard to new markets, opportunities, and products will allow integrators to customize solutions that are aligned with the client’s aspirations. It is by fully grasping the customer’s pain points that innovative software and service solutions will emerge.
It’s just as important for integrators to know the brand they are servicing. Visual communications comes down to storytelling, be it using video, images, or data (big or small). Appreciating the tone the client uses, the brand personality, and the brand promise will drive content decisions and software functionality. The brand is not just a logo; it is the very essence of what the company stands for. The role of the visual communications vendor is to put forward solutions that are completely aligned with the brand.
The solution sale is not about boxes of things; it’s about how those boxes communicate with each other to create value for the client. It’s about appreciating the “how” — how the solution solves current problems and positions the client for future challenges and opportunities. Progressive integrators and hardware companies are coming to realize the shift from hardware to software and services and see exciting opportunities in providing unique, customized solutions.
Vern Freedlander is vice president of production services for Montréal-based X2O Media, a Barco company. X2O Media is a leading software developer of real-time visual communications solutions that significantly improve communications throughout the enterprise. With more than 20 years of broadcast television experience as a producer, director and executive, Freedlander oversees all of X2O Media’s content initiatives. He can be reached at [email protected].