Chip Godwin, The South East Team Leader at Drake Software, has been at the top of the sales department for the past seven years – #1 in sales on multiple occasions. Responsible for helping to develop marketing strategy, sales planning, travel schedule, and training representatives, he also provides telephone support for customers whose issues require a higher level of resources.
We asked Godwin what he has learned from customers and prospects this year while on the road.
One of the best ways to learn what is important to our customers is to meet with them in different environments. It is also a chance to help them find solutions to problems. Whenever possible, I like to visit with the customers in their office and help configure their software or help them see for themselves how the Drake products work.
That is what I love about the travel involved in my job. So far this year, we have been from coast to coast -- to Seattle in the Pacific Northwest and Portland, Maine, down to Miami and all the way across Southern California. Most of the preparers I spoke to had a neutral year, not gaining a lot of new business, but not losing many existing customers, either.
That’s pretty impressive, given the uncertainty thrown into the industry at the last minute:
- Preparer responsibilities under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
- Delays in starting the season
- The specter of IRS regulation and certification
- The end of support for Windows XP and the debut of Windows 8.1
But with the season now past, the preparers we are meeting at conferences, seminars and client calls have turned their attention to preparing for the season ahead. While the ACA and voluntary certification are still topics of interest, these are joined by the cost of doing business, movement to the cloud and integration of their tax and accounting systems.
Those three are really separate parts of the same topic. With the cost of everything going up – paper, toner, electric and software included – preparers are looking for the most economical system that supports their business, in the cloud or on the desktop. They want to see that the applications work smoothly with one another, and are sometimes surprised to find how well Drake products achieve this. And they want to be able to easily convert their existing customer files quickly and accurately.
Travel is never easy, especially when we have a limited amount of time to see as many customers and prospects as we can fit in. But there is no better way to do our jobs, and no easier way to keep pace with this dynamic industry.
Call 800.890.9500 or email Chip.Godwin@DrakeSoftware.com with any questions you have about Drake Software.