What data destruction firms can learn from Apple

July 18, 2014

By Bob Johnson, NAID CEO

Recently, I read an article about how sales is changing in many ways. I could not help but draw comparisons to NAID members who are taking the same approach with great success.

In the past, businesses responded to customers’ needs or problems. The key to success was finding the pain and providing a solution. Of course, that is still largely the case for the majority of businesses, including most service providers in the data destruction arena. However, the most profitable organizations showed a different way to approach product and service development. Instead of providing a solution to an existing customer problem, companies like Google, Amazon and Apple found success in inventing products customers had not envisioned and then demonstrated how it made consumers’ lives better. In that model, sales is less about touting the advantages of one product and service over those of a competitor, but showing how it makes their lives easier and helping them learn how to use it. This new sales technique has spread fast to other industries, including automobile manufacturers, household goods, and, yes, even data destruction.

While I recognize the hubris of including NAID in the same category as Apple, Amazon and Google, in reading the article I could not help but think about our Customer Employee Training Program, the Compliance Toolkit, and Downstream Data Coverage. These programs all provide something that clients do not yet recognize as something they need. Customers and prospects probably think all professional liability coverage is the same or, worse, do not understand its importance at all. Customers and prospects may or may not know that regulations require they train their employees on proper data disposal, but they almost certainly do not think about their destruction contractor has an easy way for them to comply.

When a service provider can educate a prospect on how the programs benefit them and how easy they are to put in place, those prospects respond. This is not conjecture, it is a fact. Scores of NAID members prove that month in and month out. They are using this new sales model of providing a new product the customer had not envisioned.

Is it easier to just try to fill the needs customers already recognize? Not really. In that approach, there is no difference between service providers except price. It is easier insofar that it does not require the service provider to become educated. It is easier insofar as the service provider does not have to integrate an educational approach into its sales and marketing. But, it makes hanging on to and obtaining new profitable business much harder.