UTAX (UK): Driving dealer successes through a partnership approach

Celebrating 10 years as managing director of UTAX (UK), Shaun Wilkinson takes time out before Dealer Support LIVE to share his thoughts on forging successful partnerships with vendors and end-users

Who is UTAX (UK)?

UTAX (UK) has been a pre-eminent brand for professional office technology in the UK since 1989.Our product range provides cost-effective, smart solutions for all office output to support the distribution and integration of printing, copying and multifunctional systems. We have achieved double-digit growth for the last six consecutive years.

The company is committed to the UK market through a growing partner-only network which is supported by our sales, marketing, IT, technical and direct services teams.

Our parent company is TA Triumph-Adler in Germany where they currently manage in excess of 220,000 devices in the field and have been successfully practising the art of Managed Print for many years. Our ultimate parent company is the Kyocera Corporation in Japan, a company with $15 Billion in revenues and a world leader in the MFP and Laser Printer market. 

How can dealers become more successful?

In order to forge longstanding, successful and profitable relationships with their customers, vendors have a responsibility to offer as much support as they can. They should be able to provide valuable market insight, in-depth product knowledge, an understanding of specific verticals and specialist installation assistance.

Our business model is, and has always been with our customers at its heart. We, more than most, understand that effective partnerships are critical to our success and have assisted us in achieving our continuing double digit growth.

It’s apparent to me that to be successful, we must develop solid partnerships. Whether that’s with the manufacturer who provides your hardware and software solutions, the people who work for you or the customer you sell to, the partnership approach is the life blood for success.

What should dealers be offering to their your customers? 

According to the findings in Quocirca’s latest report, 70% of respondents want to single source and put all of their costs under one central contract to reduce the administrative and IT burden. This presents a huge opportunity for dealers and I believe that the art of selling managed print and document solutions needs to become much more collaborative with all parties working more closely to bring together bespoke packaged solutions that deliver real results to the end-user.

Every conversation has to start somewhere and it's the same for a customer solution. In many cases, your customers won’t know what they are looking to achieve or improve until you’ve had those conversations and this is where it’s important to ask them the right questions. Once you’ve established their expectations, make sure you feel comfortable with your proposition and have the support you need from your vendor to back it up.

This approach shouldn’t be exclusively for a new customer base. Constantly review your existing customer base to see how to maximise opportunities with them – after all they are your best advocates when it comes to approaching brand new customers. Look for those customers who have a high degree of loyalty and trust already, and talk to them about new ideas, where they want to go, what they want, what they need and what they aspire to achieve. Learn and understand their business model, to allow them to understand how your expertise can not only benefit their bottom line but drive efficiencies within their work place. Your ultimate aim should be a mutually beneficial, long term partnership.

Just as one size doesn’t fit all, one single approach to changing your business model is not the key to success. Companies that are more likely to succeed in this ever changing world of new technology are those that are not intimidated by new and fresh approaches, are prepared for change and accepting of assistance, wherever it may come from.

Thinking outside the box doesn’t mean abandoning all your experience with selling hardware alone; it means embracing the opportunity to put this knowledge at the heart of a truly complete offering.

Proof that a new approach can work

Our most successful partners, have, with our help, all adopted the single solutions sales approach and are winning contracts large and small all over the country. They regularly win business, whereas several years ago, they would have stood no chance of even competing. By embracing new ways of doing things, they have secured longer term, more profitable contracts and are reaping the benefits of this new business approach.

UTAX (UK) is a Key Sponsor of Dealer Support LIVE where Shaun is one of the keynote speakers.

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Posted by Austin Clark (95)

Written on 27th September 2016

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