Managed IT services and software channel brass dominated attendance and participation at the digital and diversification-themed summit.
Seven-time Frank Award Winner ACDI hosted Camp ACDI 2023 in November in Tempe, Arizona. The company’s events always seamlessly incorporate education and fun. They also draw guests and enthusiastic engagement from many of the most respected office technology dealerships in the country.
Josh Lane and Mark Hart welcome guests to Camp ACDI 2023.
Some of the leaders from a diverse group of respected dealerships at Camp ACDI 2023 included Dave Greene, president and COO, EO Johnson; Tom Messner, director of strategic accounts, and Andrew Skinner, director of sales and business development, ProSource; Jeremy Reimers, vice president of sales and marketing, Capitol Business Systems; Carlos Rivera, vice president of network solutions, New England Copy Specialists; Carson Stone, solutions manager, Stone’s Office Equipment; along with representatives from All Copy Products and many other top dealerships.
Tom Messmer, ProSource; CJ Cannata; Andrew Skinner, ProSource.
Curtis Adkins, Systel Business Equipment, and CJ Cannata.
Networking at Camp ACDI 2023
Mike Stramaglio, Stramaglio Consulting; Josh Lane, ACDI; Carson Stone, Stone’s Office Equipment.
While networking with so many of these and other like individuals who are leading managed IT services, solutions, sales, and marketing efforts at some of the more forward-thinking dealerships, I continued to realize that even though it is important to have dealer principals present, it is increasingly important to get to know and learn from the members of a dealers’ leadership teams that are empowered to make substantial strategic recommendations and decisions on key diversification areas, particularly those in the digital realm. ACDI’s leadership team as well as the entire ACDI staff set an inviting tone during Camp ACDI 2023 that encouraged dialog about best-practices between participants.
Dave Greene, EO Johnson, and CJ Cannata.
Mark Hart, vice president of marketing and business development for ACDI was in top form serving as Camp ACDI 2023 emcee and panel moderator, as was Josh Lane, president, who also personally conveyed ACDI’s commitment to doing whatever he and his team could to help ensure partner success.
A special guest was Chris Dance, CEO and co-founder, PaperCut, who traveled from Australia to attend the entire three-day meeting. He and Lane enlightened guests with a fireside chat, underscoring their mutual commitment and the depth of the PaperCut-ACDI relationship.
CJ and Tawnya Stone, GreatAmerica Financial Services.
The summit included an excursion to a dude ranch in Tempe, called The Dude Ranch, where guests had the option to continue building existing or new relationships during a group horseback riding excursion, ATV ride, and/or opportunity to shoot clay pigeons at the ranch rifle range.
10 Key Takeaways from Camp ACDI 2023
Overall, this was a tremendous event filled with an array of valuable insights. Here are my 10 takeaways.
- In the office technology industry, among others, the first question to ask a prospective new employee in an interview is, “Are you good at using Google [or your preferred search engine]?” The inference is there are so many questions – as well as things we can all learn about and how to do – if we are savvy search engine users. This comment from Austin Hacket; SVP, federal & strategic enterprise accounts, ImageNet, immediately resonated with virtually everyone in the audience and was adopted by many attendees.
- Many of us often, even if inadvertently, assume we know what a customer is thinking. I’m certainly sometimes guilty of this. Don’t. Encourage your salespeople to ask as many mutually applicable questions as possible, and in a manner that sets up the prospect to optimally be receptive to your portfolio of products and services.
- While over 70% of customers indicate that they use print management software, many dealer representatives in attendance indicated that it was much less. The key takeaway from this statement is that most office technology customers don’t necessarily know about print management and it’s up to the vendor to probe and pick in order to get to the reality. Only then attempt with a client or prospect to move upstream.
- The most prevalent topic of discussion among IT Services decision makers today is digital transformation (62%), followed by cybersecurity (30%) and cloud (27%), which may, to some, seem somewhat surprising.
- Customer loyalty is only about 10% in the IT services space, and IT service professionals are looking for knowledgeable talent who can aid in customer retention. IT experts and department buyers are so swamped today, they need companies and experts with experience they don’t already have. They are proactively looking for outside help. Anyone who approaches them with solid support that really alleviates a challenge or burden and helps them become more efficient is likely to be successful in establishing a new, or enhancing an existing, business relationship.
- Salespeople will rarely gravitate toward something they are not comfortable with, so when you have a company like ACDI that offers reputable product support (e.g., SMEs) and is willing to have an open and transparent discussion with your team and your customers, it’s important to take advantage of it. If dealers don’t leverage this support, they could miss out on critical input that will likely reduce their opportunity cost and ultimately help increase profits.
- Price is only an issue in the absence of value. As underscored by Anthony Sci, CEO, Keypoint Intelligence, “That’s how we are trying to set ourselves apart from other vendors. [The vendors that work with us do so] because they choose to work with us and our partners.” He added that Camp ACDI 2023 is a great example of that.
- Microsoft will be an increasingly bigger player in the office technology industry. They are likely coming into our channel and market because they see an opportunity. However, their focus has yet to be determined. Digital transformation is too broad of a topic or portfolio of tools, so Microsoft will likely focus on where they can get the biggest bang for their buck. This will likely be defined over the next year.
- During a dealer representative breakout session that Lane encouraged me to participate in, several channel software experts and executives indicated that Scanshare Capture, a document management tool in ACDI’s expanding portfolio of offerings, can be a more user-friendly and straightforward method of scanning documents into the cloud than solutions from some of its leading competitors like Frank Award Winners DocuWare and Square 9 who currently enjoy majority leading market shares in this space, along with companies like Laserfiche.
- As part of its continued diversification efforts and commitment to the EV charger space, ACDI’s recently announced partnership with Lincoln Electric is posed to continue helping the dealer-friendly organization continue achieving new levels of success. In particular, while Tesla chargers are the gold standard, they are not vendor agnostic. Another point that underscores the positivity that could emerge from this partnership is any part is replaceable within 30 minutes. ACDI wants dealers to be trained directly by them. Not only that, GreatAmerica Financial Services, the title sponsor of Camp ACDI 2023, announced an EV Charging Station Finance Partnership with ACDI on November 14.