By Gregory Pings
“Being a Xerox partner, we not only sell technology, we also use it to enable us to be more efficient and take care of our customers.”
Jeff Horn is president and CEO of Benchmark Business Solutions, which sells printers and managed document solutions in west Texas and eastern New Mexico. In his words, he’s responsible for the success or failure of the company.
Horn ticks off the top three things that help Benchmark succeed:
Great people: “I’m surrounded by them.”
Technology: “You can’t work without it, so it must be up and going.”
Mission: “You’ve got to have everyone pulling the rope in the same direction. They have to believe in the mission and work together.”
But technology always seems to take over the conversation.
Horn’s personal use of technology runs the gamut – cell phone, tablet, video chats, Bluetooth, mobile printing and more. His personal mission is to keep his inbox messages under 30. “But you gotta know when the time it takes to craft a good email response would be better spent on a good telephone conversation.”
And time is a factor. Oftentimes we have to act before we are able to fully communicate.
“Culture comes in here,” Horn said. “Make time to talk with partners and staff, but balance that with the need to act. Your company culture comes into the decision on what, when and how much to communicate.”
Mobility and the new rules of work
Horn freely admits Benchmark’s workplace isn’t modern in terms of open floor plans. About half of his people are in offices, the rest are in cubicles or sales bull pens.
“Open spaces are not comfortable for people like me who are about to turn 40,” Horn noted. “But it doesn’t matter what I want. What matters is what’s most attractive to my workers. They grew up in this environment and it helps them be more productive.”
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But his office is modern in terms of technology. The mobile and open-ended nature of work underpin the Xerox notion of “set the page free.” You can’t wall people off, and you must promote a collaborative culture, particularly for employees who travel. Since work is no longer a 12 x 12 space, so it is that “the page” is not necessarily a piece of paper. “The page” is your database, a phone call, instant message, email – whatever it is that keeps you connected to your work, your colleagues, your partners and (let’s face it) your family.
“Changes in technology are fast-paced, and it can be difficult to keep up,” Horn pointed out. “The upside is that technology connects us. Makes it easier to do business across more locations. But technology has to be managed. You have to keep it in its lane so that it won’t dominate your day.”
Benchmark has been named the number one Xerox sales agency in the country several times, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Blue Ribbon Award winner in 2013, 2014 and 2016. Clearly, Horn and his employees know what it takes to succeed when you sell (and use) technology.