Promo Customers Are Demanding More From Technology
For years, the primary promo industry client technology solution was a simple website where buyers could search for product and request a sample or quote. If it was elaborate, a company store would be set up with some inventory. But now, due to technology advances in other industries, companies are demanding more from their vendors—not only to drive product cost savings, but also drive operational savings.
At Boundless, we are seeing this daily as our sales professionals request technology enhancements to drive soft cost savings for their clients. The following are some of the most popular requests:
ERP Integration: Often described as punch out. We are seeing this type of request from mid to large companies asking that we integrate with their procurement software such as Ariba, Coupa and Oracle. The primary reason: It reduces a company’s transactional cost upwards of 50%. With fewer of their people touching the order, integration creates bottom line savings.
Single Sign On (SSO): Companies do not want to have their buyers log in to websites using two different passwords. The preference is to enable their promotional buyers to use one set of login and passwords and provide access to multiple applications, creating ease of use and efficiency.
Aggregate Purchasing: Also characterized as GroupBuy or temporary pop-up stores. This has become very popular during COVID, as companies are asking distributors to create temporary websites enabling employees or customers to enter a proprietary code to acquire a gift of choice.
Online Order Tracking: The Amazon effect: If an order is placed online or via purchase order, buyers want 24/7 real-time visibility to order status and tracking. They do not have the time to track down a salesperson or wait for a return phone call.
As companies require technology enhanced solutions to drive efficiency and soft cost savings, salespeople and promotional product distributors will need meet this demand.
At Boundless, we are fortunate to have software developers on staff and our own proprietary technology. However, with the speed technology is evolving, we would need to have unlimited tech budget to keep pace. Thus, we have added a layer of technology service personnel who are well versed in both our proprietary technology and the ever-changing third-party licensed technology.
This team accompanies our sales professionals on presentations that involve technology, asks the necessary discovery questions to diagnose the technology solution needed, and ultimately presents a solution. That team will also work to implement the solution being a liaison between developers or third-party tech license partners, allowing salespeople to focus on selling—which, after all, is how we all make money.
With inflation on the rise, companies will be motivated to drive efficiencies and savings forcing us all to react. Those that do will have a wealth of opportunities.
Pat is currently executive vice president of sales at Boundless. Prior to joining Boundless, Pat was vice president of sales for Toppers, a Top 20 industry supplier. Prior to Toppers, he served as vice president of national accounts for Norwood Promotional Products, one of the largest promotional products suppliers in the industry. In his free time, Pat enjoys drinking a cool beverage while attempting to play golf.