Simon Hollister, Sales Director, HOLLIS Technology
Q: What are your customers most interested in?
A: Our growing customer base has common issues as well as their own unique concerns. Top of this list right now is security/data protection, particularly with the onset of GDPR. HOLLIS Technology’s specialist GDPR team helps these customers with data security solutions that become part of their overall GDPR strategies. Our recent accreditation by Develop as an ineo SECURE accredited partner demonstrates our commitment to protecting important data by securing MFPs and assisting customers as they seek to achieve GDPR compliance.
Other areas that are high on the agenda of our customers include SAN solutions to help manage and analyse increasing volumes of data. IP telephony is also a major talking point as customers are becoming more familiar with the benefits that can be derived from using this technology.
We are also receiving more enquiries from customers looking to maintain and upgrade IT infrastructures and the next 12 months will bring major opportunities particularly for Wi-Fi deployments as vendors launch 802.11ax products in advance of ratification by the IEEE. HOLLIS Technology is currently gearing up with a very exciting vendor in this space.
Q: Do clients have the same understanding of industry terms, such as BYOD, MPS or MDS, as we do?
A: Our customers tend to have a good understanding of terminology and it forms an essential part of the sales process. Education is the start of that process and the better they understand terminology and what it represents, then the more they see the value we can offer as a business partner.
Q: Where are you seeing most traction at the moment, are there any verticals that are particularly strong?
A: The education sector is as strong as ever. We are addressing this market with the establishment of HOLLIS Education IT, a specialist team that understands the requirements of schools, colleges and universities. The retail sector is also buoyant as the requirement for digital marketing is recognised, with IT being an enabler to the customer engagement ambitions of creative and sales departments.
Manufacturing seems to be on the up as well, driven by the better understanding of technology such as Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) location-based services and the IoT and how they can provide solutions to real issues.
Q: When selling MFPs, what are the most popular software solutions you provide and why?
A: Print control, management, file conversion and sharing, continue to be the main areas of interest for existing and new customers alike. Organisations, including SMBs, are now realising the power of these tools which have become a key business requirement to help control print costs. We are, as mentioned previously, also seeing demand for soft security solutions in this space increase dramatically.
Q: Where do you get information on the latest products and solutions, and do you feel that the OEMs are doing enough to educate their channel partners?
A: HOLLIS has great relationships with our technology partners. We include training and updates, both technical and sales, in our weekly meetings at which vendors are invited to present to keep the whole team up to date on features, benefits and new products. These relationships are massive to us as our whole ‘sale’ is consultative based and if we don’t know what is going on, how can we provide what is best for our customers?
Q: Is your patch particularly competitive – is it national or local competition that you face?
A: Our patch is changing as we evolve into a national company and transition from a pure Managed Print Provider into a full technology provider offering end to end solutions. To that extent competition is healthy and we compete with all. Going forward we are promoting the fact that we offer a local service on a national level.
Q: How do you spend your week – time on phone, face to face meetings with customers etc.?
A: My week is split between the north and the south so I clock up some miles. Whilst growing HOLLIS Technology into a national company, I manage the sales process, work with existing vendors and develop relationships with new vendors. We also have a large number of loyal customers who I meet with to develop and grow my understanding of their businesses.
Q: What would make your job easier?