Simple is not easy

30 08 2007

Building software and online solutions that are intuitive and extremely easy to use is NOT an easy feat.  At Point2 Technologies we strive for this in every piece of web-based software (also known as Software as a Service SaaS), and online marketplace we develop… we know our audience appreciates software and online applications that do not take a computer wizard to use.  We have dedicated “Usability Experts” that are trained in Human Computer Interaction (HCI).  These individuals demand a lot from our developers when it comes to ease-of-use.

On this note, our staff of 100 watched a TED talks video this week that really hit this fact home… New York Times technology columnist David Pogue talks about When it comes to tech, simplicity sells.  http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/7 .  It’s a playful and fun ~20 minute video that I think you’ll not only get a kick out of, but you will also learn something from.  And it may not just be tech that needs to focus on simple… maybe machine manufacturers can glean something from this ‘simple’ concept.

Chester

Regards,

Chester Hagen – chagen @ point2.com
Vice President Sales || Point2 Technologies Inc.
888.955.7900 toll free || 306.955.1855 outside N.A.
 

  Powering progressive dealers! – http://manager.point2.com/ 

UsedIron.com; over 29,000 machines for sale, thousands of buyers a day 

We create innovative technologies that empower our customers to lead their field  





Excavator or Backhoe?

22 08 2007

Looks like Excavators wins!

Whether you have an entire fleet or a single unit to procure or dispose of; you’ll find it very interesting (and maybe a bit surprising) as to what are the highest volume search terms that bring 2,500+ visitors a day to Point2’s http://www.UsedIron.com/ marketplace.  With Google.com as the largest source of traffic to the site, here are the top 25 search terms that bring people to UsedIron.com:

1 – Mini Excavator

2 – Backhoe

3 – Tractors for sale

4 – Mini Excavators

5 – Excavator

6 – Skid Steer

7 – Timberjack

8 – Dozer

9 – Wheel loader

10 – Used excavators

11 – Used bobcat

12 – Used heavy equipment

13 – Excavators for sale

14 – Bobcat 753

15 – Backhoes for sale

16 – Grader

17 – Backhoe for sale

18 – Used Backhoes

19 – Heavy equipment for sale

20 – Water Trucks

21 – Heavy Equipment

22 – Loaders

23 – Backhoes

24 – Bobcat 773

25 – Skidder

So whether you sell (or are trying to source) Caterpillar machinery, John Deere equipment, Case / CNH, Komatsu, Volvo Construction, Hitachi, Bobcat or any other brand of heavy equipment, you know where to find it or sell ithttp://www.UsedIron.com/

Please don’t hesitate to call or email us for more information on any of our solutions; for equipment dealers, manufacturers, rental companies, and contractors. 

Chester Hagen

Regards,

Chester Hagen – chagen @ point2.com
Vice President Sales || Point2 Technologies Inc.
888.955.7900 toll free || 306.955.1855 outside N.A.
 

 Powering progressive dealers! – http://manager.point2.com/ 

UsedIron.com; over 29,000 machines for sale, thousands of buyers a day 

We create innovative technologies that empower our customers to lead their field  





Blackberries, Laptops, PDA devices, Smartphones? Where do I begin?

15 08 2007

With the shelf life of many technologies being about 18 months, choosing the right hardware and software for you and your sales team can be a daunting task. Where do you begin? What are the differences between hardware and software? And how are they related?

No matter which combination of devices you choose, they are designed to give the user access to information where he needs it, when he needs it. For a heavy equipment salesman, usually that means access to equipment and customer information where he is most effective – in his territory and calling on customers.

The second criteria to remember: any technology that is complicated to use and takes time away from selling will not succeed. So it must be easy to use. In my last Blog post, I mentioned how often I hear dealer management telling me how difficult it is to implement any changes because their sales teams won’t use the tools. I don’t buy it. Do you think that if a dealer invested in a system that would help a salesman sell more equipment, he still wouldn’t use it? Unlikely.

I see 3 key factors here:

1. Connectivity – Access to Accurate, Complete, Timely information

2. Easy-to-Use – It must be user-friendly

3. Effective – Saves time, increases productivity, increases efficiency

The first factor is addressed by the hardware. Equip your sales force with Laptops with Air Cards, cell phones, PDA devices, Smartphones, Blackberries (visit www.pocketpc.com or www.blackberry.com for more information). Each device has pro’s and con’s. No matter the combination, they give the user access to much more information than if he carried reams of paper around with him. And you need to determine a balance between cost and timely information – it can be quite costly to keep a user connected to information 100% of the time, however, no connectivity means that information is out of date.

Ease-of-Use, this is a tough one. Last week, I was speaking with an IT Support person regarding a system that I use and it seemed like he was condescending to me! If I am being talked down to because I don’t understand a certain technology, what hope does the average heavy equipment guy have? Put the onus on your technology supplier to build tools that are targeted to the audience. A system that requires intensive training and a huge learning curve for its users will never catch on. Keep it simple.

Finally, a software solution should be effective. It should save time, save money, increase profits – whatever it promises to do. It should solve your problem. How do you know if it will deliver? Talk to the supplier and talk to their existing customers. Ask questions; understand what is the core value and purpose of the product. Is it compatible with your other systems? How well does the technology company understand your business? Do they have industry experience? And most importantly: how will the solution make your business easier to manage?

And remember: stay focused on the problem you’re trying to fix.

A couple of months ago, I was speaking to a John Deere Construction dealer who had just completed a Six Sigma study on their sales cycle to uncover their problem. After weeks of study, Six Sigma Black Belts found that for salesmen to be more effective, they needed to increase the Quality and Speed of information to their salesmen. Sounds pretty basic, right? Well as the study went on, they lost sight of their original goal and implemented a solution that did not meet all of their requirements.

Technology is a very fast-paced industry, but you don’t need to get left behind in a cloud of confusion.

Best regards,

Laura Watson

Commercial Manager

Point2 Technologies, Inc.

888.955.7900 || 604.675.9393 ext 228

lwatson @ point2.com

www.point2.com





Face-to-face telephone or email

8 08 2007

1, A couple quality face to face sessions in a day.

2, Dozens of quality phone calls in a day.

3, An unlimited number of emails.

Which is the best use of a heavy equipment salesman’s day?

I have heard it countless times from dealer management; “I want our salesmen out on the road talking face-to-face to the customer; not behind his computer”

I remember my first days at the Caterpillar dealer in Western Canada; Finning Canada.  I was handed a list of all current jobsites in our local area and I was to call every one of them to see if they were in need of our type of rental equipment for their job.  I was strictly generating leads and I could get through 30 calls in the day (depending of course on how many people would give me some telephone time).

With email there’s the opportunity, or risk (depending on how you view it), to just sit back and type a message… then hit the send button and wait for the phone to ring or the door to open.

And face-to-face, while time consuming, leads you to the customer’s jobsite or office (or favorite lunch spot or watering hole) and requires that good ‘ol fashioned belly-to-belly time.  How can you beat that?

So which is best?  Which is most effective? 

I think you’ll all agree that there’s benefit in each effort… it just depends on what the objective is.  Do you want to root out a lead?  Perhaps the phone is most effective.  Do you want to send out an equipment “Hot List” to current and prospective clients?  Perhaps email is most effective.  Do you want to build a relationship stronger and keep a customer for life?  Some face time may just do the trick.

I think the risk is that anyone of these options is considered “the only way” .. or that one of them is “not of benefit“.  I think all will agree that a salesman, or sales department for that matter, who spends all his time on email, or all his time on the phone, or all his time at the watering hole… may not be using his time most effectively. 

Get your sales department to adopt all three methods and watch the results.  Equip your salesmen with Point2 MANAGER Tools and watch OUT!

Please don’t hesitate to call or email us.

Chester

Regards,

Chester Hagen – chagen @ point2.com
Vice President Sales || Point2 Technologies Inc.
888.955.7900 toll free || 306.955.1855 outside N.A.
 

 Powering progressive dealers! – http://manager.point2.com/ 

UsedIron.com; over 29,000 machines for sale, thousands of buyers a day 

We create innovative technologies that empower our customers to lead their field