The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Jim Dolce on Challenges in a Dynamic Industry

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Dynamic industries – those that have gone through significant changes in recent years – have faced a unique set of challenges in sales and product development. FUJIFILM North America Corporation, is one of them. Their Imaging Division, which has historically been a B2B sales and marketing organization, has shifted to become a product development organization.

We sat down with Jim Dolce, Vice President Technology and Strategic Business Development at FUJIFILM North America Corporation, to discuss challenges that dynamic industries face and how they can overcome them.

You were listening to the BDB revenue executive experience, a podcast dedicated to helping the executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're talking about challenges and sales and product development. When you were in an extremely dynamic industry. Now most of you will think, you know, hey, I'm in a dynamic industry, but I'm talking about industries that go through significant changes. Amtrack, thinking about themselves as transportation instead of trains, kind of changes. To help us do that, we have with US Jim Dulcha, vice president of Technology and Strategic Business Development at Fujifilm North America. Jim, thanks for taking the time to be on the show today. Hey, thanks. Thank you, Chad. It's a real pleasure to speak with you, and you know I really enjoy speaking with your in general, chaid, but in this context I hope I'll be able to contribute some value to your audience. Oh, I have no doubt. I have no doubt. But before we jump in, I have to I have to bring this up now for the audience sake. Jim and I've known each other for your so I used to sell to him when he was a Fuji we became good friends and there's an interesting from a sales perspective and interesting kind of progression that I've seen Jim go through from leading up development to jumping over and do it some business development strategy and then back. And so can you help just kind of give the context of that journey for our audience so they understand that you're bringing deep knowledge from two very disparate parts of an organization? Sure, okay, I'll give it my best shot. So first let me explain that I work with the within the imaging division of Fuji Film North America and our our business is still very much focused on photos and printing. Much of what I suspect the Audience Associates Fuji with the portion of our business has been. This portion is primarily been a sales and marketing organization. Historically and over the past five six years we've really had to shift becoming a product development organization and so much of that product development is software based, and that's where I really come in. I've been in software development and software management my entire career and and our organization itself has been primarily a betob company. Here in the US. You don't always hear about us, but you hear about all the big players in the photo industry that we serve and support, and much of the software that we've developed over the years has been to customized solutions that help those retailers. You know, we work with some of the world's largest retailers and the largest photo companies and and all of the software has been about helping them meet their needs. And the role and my shifting is really been around turning that around and...

...looking at instead of how we create value for our customers, how we create new innovative products for their customers and really focusing on our customers, customers, and and looking at how we can leverage software and how we can advance our business and expand our markets and channels through new solutions. And everyone is aware of the explosion of photos that's taken place, you know, the last few years and and so with that we've recognized that new business opportunities will will really come around software solutions, new products that we can bring to market. And so coming from the technology side and seeing how we could meet those opportunities with solutions caused us to have my roll shift and move from software, leaving the Software Development Organization to leading a bus Dev organization, and that was out working with lots of companies throughout the industry, big and small, work with a lot of startups as well as some of the biggest players in the industry, to try to understand where are their unmet needs and how we can address them with with our technology, and so I've been doing that as part of my shift and then recently of actually shifted back to running the development organized. Change is the only constant, absolutely as solutely. So well, at the end of the day it's still looking at there's a much broader customer segmentation out there today. How can we develop new solutions to meet their needs and create real value for their customers? So I'm not sure if that answered your question, Chad, but there's my quick thirty second Bob, I guess. Oh No, it was perfect. It was provramming Fuji. You know a lot of people be familiar with code at least those guys that are that are my age or old to remember the dominance that that companies like CODEC had and then all of a sudden disappeared. Well, it seems like all of a sudden in retrospect. Well, Fuji's done an amazing job of, I think, staying ahead of that curve and reimagining, you know, who they are, and that view of product development software. How really reimagining how you think of people, capturing memories and moments. Those are the conversations that you and I started having years ago and it's been phenominal to watch that progression take place and as you went from curious, as you went from straight up, you know, product development into Biz Dev. What was that transition like? How did it how did it feel? How did you leverage the product development into that, you know, Business Development and strategy side of the game? Well, it was. It was interesting for me, Chad. The challenge there is has been as a software developer and as a selfware development team, you see that you could be doing so many different things and the idea of building cool software, building cool applications, because you can, right and then and then the...

...shift to okay, but what we're really looking to do now is create value and be able to build a sustainable business. So how do you look at where you're going to invest your software development dollars or any of your technology dollars to really be able to build a long term sustainable business versus just having some fun building some some cool technology? I think that was probably the biggest challenge for me because I come from this world of development. I I see so many great things we could be doing now to be able to apply a business case to that and put a business perspective on to it and really look at it and say where is the opportunity? Is it a short term when versus a long term sustainable business? That was that was probably the biggest challenge I had. And then a little. I've worked with sales and business leaders for years. Speaking language what wasn't a problem. It was much more of the mindset that I think I had to I had to shift as I adapted into that new role. So help me understand that mindset shift was. Give me a little more detail around that. So you know, What's interesting for me is is I may look at we started looking at customer segments and seven years ago chat our the whole industry saw our customers as one customer, the soccer mom right about. I'm going to get this soccer mom to print their photos. Right today, everyone takes photos and everyone has so many different needs and and what they do with those photos is also different. And and so now you can look and you can imagine for just about anybody, a new APP you could develop, a new solution, you can develop and so part of the mindset was stepping back and looking at not who our current customers were, but who the noncustomers were. We're the people that are not printing in our world, because that's what we're still about driving, and in my section of Fuji is driving that printing business and and one are the things that we can do for them. And it's not about getting everybody to print all their photos. That's not really what anybody wants or needs. It's really about how do we create products that people will find great value for, they'll cherish for years to come, that they'll give as great gifts or that they'll just use for whatever purpose they have, maybe it's completing a homework assignment or decorating their dorm room. So as we started looking into this and we started remapping out a whole new customer segmentation. The amount of opportunities out there were incredible and we immediately had a list of a hundred different projects that we could take on very short time. How do you take that hundred projects and what'll it down to? Where is our opportunity for creating real long term value? And I think that is part of the buying set that kind of really took a little bit...

...to get, you know, to take hold and then instill in my team. You know that that it's that it's not just about going after each of these opportunities. It's it's going to be about where can we provide the greatest value and working we create a long term sustainable business from a sales from a sales perspective. We when we're working with sales, seems we think of that as the difference between opportunity to discovery and opportunity creation. So like these are the things that you know, these are the things we know we could do, but what about the things that we're not aware of? Let's spend some time. You know what's going to provide the greatest value. That's one of the reasons. That's why I think you and I hit it off. I was so interested in understanding what your vision for the solution up to all these problems could be, and I got really passionate about that. And so it's in sales we want to figure out. Okay, the Oh, there's all the opportunities you can identify, but here's all the ones that you know a probably with a little bit more work. If you uncover them, you can actually create those opportunities for long term, and that's the fun of it, I mean from for my perspective. Yeah, absolutely, all right. So let's go macro for just a second here and talk about the foojis business objectives. mission. You know what's the what's what are you guys strategically focused on for the rest of this year and into two thousand and nineteen? So, interestingly, as a business, we've we've survived through diversification and you know, when I started in this business with Fuji just about fifteen years ago, it was actually at the peak of the photoprinting business. I think that was the year that the that the US sold the peak number of roles of film, and I believe it a not chat. I think it was like eight hundred and eighty million rolls of film developed in processed that year, in this past year, that the numbers about fifteen. So massive, massive disruption to the business. Fortunately, what's really interesting is that the technology behind film, the technology of the chemistry and working at things at a nanoscale, applies to so many other industries and and so we diversified, and you reference codect. In many ways we diverse fied in a similar way that CODEC did. We we got into medical fields. We've got into other fields that really leverage that core knowledge that we gain from all the years of R and D understanding film and understanding how you manufactured paper and the various substrates. Right now we as a company actually focused on six priority business fields. One of them is still digital imaging. It's still a strong passion for us as a company, but we're also very focus on healthcare, highly functional materials, document solutions, optical devices and graphic systems, which is is still about the printing industry, but at a much larger scale. And you know, as as a company, we...

...strive to use leading edge proprietary technologies to provide top quality products and services that really contribute to the advancement of culture, science, technology and industry as well as improved health and environmental protection and society. You know, that can sound a little bit cliche and and a lots of teams and companies talk about their commitment to sus to society, but you know, we really do have a very strong commitment to the environment and we back that up with real sustainable sustainability initiatives. We have a strong commitment to health and wellbelling being and and are backing that up with the work we're doing in the medical fields and including you know, we do regenitive medicine today, which I suspect would be a surprise to most of the audience. Yeah, you should see my face right now. All of that comes from knowing the technology at a nanoscale. That originated with with film and how you manufacture film, and it's pretty amazing. You know, people often times I say I work for Fuji Film and and and People's responses. They still make film. Well, interestingly enough, actually, last year film usecrew because it's kind of a cache. It's there's a little bit of a niche audience where, especially with the millennial generation, that there's photographers that want to go back to using film and they want to experience that for the first time in their in their careers. But what you may not know is is virtually every device that you carry with you, every l LCD screen, probably in all of our TV's, as a layer of our film behind it. And and all of that film is helping you, for example, to see the device at any angle, to see the image and be able to see that picture no matter what angle you're looking at it. That's part of our film. And Yeah, and so you know people that recognize that it's all about the photographic film, But but we've actually leveraged that technology in so many in so many other ways. And and then for me on the end of and the imaging side, you know, will always be committed to making it easy to capture, share and preserve your memories and tell the stories of your lives with photos. You know, that's that's my particular passion and why I why I work in the imaging division. And so when we look at, you know, kind of those objectives, to get into those deeper into those six areas, I'm sure there's metrics of you know, we I could any sales person worth their salt would probably to look at the the time case and stuff like that. But you know there's metrics associated with, you know, market penetration and all that stuff. But I'm curious if that's top line objective, how's that presenting itself in Your Day to day? You know, your day to day metrics are the things that you're measured on, your goals you're trying to yeah, so for me particular, I can't speak to the other areas of our business with with respect to their day to day and in the metrics that are all tracking. In our imaging world, our objectives are really being impacted by a very dynamic and rapidly changing world of photos,...

...images and videos. So for us we have to look at what percentage, for me in particular, what percentage of our resources are actually devoted to supporting our existing businesses and how much we're investing in the future with new business development. This looks at where we're spending our marketing dollars, our product introductions, are resource allocation across software teams, how much of that is really focused on the present versus the future? And in some of that goes back to Chad. I reference that we we work with some of the world's largest retailers and we support their businesses today, and so there's a lot of what I'll refer to as legacy business that we still work hard daytoday to continue to grow in advance. And yet at the same time there's this huge opportunity facing both us and our customers and our noncons stommers, in the sense that the explosion of photos that that's taken place. And so for right now, one of the key things I have to look at is how much of our resources, whether it's marketing dollars or software developers, are allocated towards preserving and extending our kind of legacy businesses versus where we investing for the future, how much that is investment on our collective future success, because we still maintain a very strong focus on our bb partners. So I don't know if that completely answer to your question, but give you a little bit of an insight as how we look at that. Yeah, and so I would assume then you're probably also keeping really close track on margins, right, and profitability from investment to Roy. Yeah, yeah, one, one thing I can share with you, Chad, is is that as a company, we have virtually no debt and we focus very heavy, heavily on profitability. So, at the end of the day, profitability is a key area that we focus in on every project that we take on, every new bisiess venture that we consider. At the end of the day, aside from the value it's going to create from our customers, we have to think about our company and the profitability that we can that we can generate. And and so what problems? So what challenges are you having where problems are getting in the way of of the I should say, what problems are you managed to resolve in order to make sure you're maintaining the profitability that you're you know that that Roy is there. What types of things are challenges do you wrestle with on a regular basis? Some of what we wrestle with is is the challenge is actually a blessing. Right. We have with some amazing and wonderful customers today and they have very real and tangible needs in the present and squeaking out extra profitability on a long term business that you've been running. You have to deal with operational efficiencies, but you also have to deal with changing some mindsets and in helping people move towards the future...

...and because of the nature of our industry, a lot of our customers that we work with. The photo industry just tanked right and the printing business declines significantly, so staffs were reduced and that and that meant that our customers placed a greater reliance on us to help them maintain and then grow that business. So a lot of our challenge is about balancing how we continue to meet their needs developing solutions for them that will not only help them today but lead them into the future, and I think that's one of our biggest challenges because they're running very lane and across the I think across most companies, capital has been a challenge for several years. So investing in new equipment that can manufacture great new products, that's always a challenge, and then showing them the return and what it's going to take and to get that return, what kind of investment they're going to need on their part. You know, I think those are some of the areas that are particularly challenge for be to be company like us. It's not something that we can go out and focus on directly with how we interact with our end consumers. It's really about our customers and understanding their business models, understanding their profitability what drives their profitability? How do we support that while still driving our profitability? I think those are some of the trick your challenges. We deal with well. That makes I mean that's a that definitely increases, unless I miss my guess, the focus on you know, your account managers are beauty guys, the the relationship managers, whatever you're calling them internally, that work with those people. I mean that that was a lot of pressure on them to really understand your customers businesses, because you really want step removed from where the transactions happening. Yeah, yeah, absolutely, Chad. And the the interesting thing is is that for some of our biggest and best customers, they've been customers for a long time. We've been working with them for a long time. We understand their business is really well and some, you know, the players change over the years, but in general we've maintained really good and really strong relationships and I think you're right that's been a critical component of our success. There is just having that ability to understand our customers, their business, what what makes them tick, and and that can be down at an individual personal level. Sometimes, you know, at the end of the day, where all human beings right and understanding the differences between someone who's running a business at one company versus and not there and and what that means in terms of how you have to adapt your practices is a very real part of doing business successfully with with with your customers, and I I think you know that, coming from your sales background. Chats. Oh, without a doubt. Without a doubt. It's also an interesting challenges. I kind of think through it like as your customers go through their own innovation or dealing with disruptions in their industries, those relationships, those connection points,...

...even as people change, that's almost I mean that's like an MBA in a bell jar. I mean it's got to be unbelievable to have access to be a part of that, not only to see Fuji's response with the see your customers as they go through innovation cycles or dealing with disruption cycles. Yeah, Oh, yeah, absolutely. And and how those how their innovation cycle does impact us. We feel that all the time. And as companies introduce new technology, and you know we work with retailers among other players, but as the retailers introduced new technology and their stores, how do you work with in their regulations and their rules to take advantage of that or how to you adjust your systems quickly to meet the challenges of or adopt some new technology that they're rolling out. That's a constant and then, you know, our retailers don't sit still and wait for us to to Sid. They're out there, you know, and doing their own homework and trying to figure out where they need to be going and and that often means they may be bringing things to us to evaluate and say, does this make sense? Can we make this work? What do you think? And and you know the fact that we have a great, strong collaborative relationship with our with our customers and partners makes that I'll doable. But it's definitely a learning experience every step of the way and you know, if I could use this to get credit for an Mbah chat, I would, but but for now I'll just take it as it's all been good, good experience and good education. And so as you've gone a kind of across time in the roles of kind of change back and forth, and the industry continues to evolve and Fuji is a phenomenal, phenomenal company from my perspective. But I'm curious how you've seen your own perspective change in terms of working with and empowering your team's internally, going from you know, products development, software development guys to work with bed you guys to back? How is your perspective shifted in terms of what it takes to enable those teams or, you know, kind of expanded your role, your perception as manager and leader internally? Yeah, that's a that's a great question chat and I think that retrospectively, I have to just confess I'm a control freak. Steps admitting gave a problem. Yeah, exactly. So you know, there's there's a lot that I'm a control freak and I'm a workaholic to dangerous kind of, you know traits and and so there's a lot that I do because I can. And one of the biggest things that I've I've had to learn as will never, will never scale because I can't scale me. So if our ability to scale requires me to continue to do more, that's not scalability. And so really thinking about what the organization needs to be able to achieve a different...

...level of scale is is really the changing mindset that I think we all need to adopt and and in in today's world especially, and what I think of is the platform economy. It's really about three things. It's it's about scale, it's about scope and it's about speed and the the pace of change is just faster than ever was and you have to be able to keep up with that pace as a development organization and as a company or you're losing out. And all of your systems really have to be designed with scalability in mind. Give you a little sense of scalability. I remember our our backend system receives orders and routes them to any number of stores or labs for fulfillment and then production and and I remember when we had our first million ordered day. It was during a holiday, during one of the peak seasons, and I thought, man the the scale we had achieved to be able to receive a million photo orders and to be able to handle those and and all the images and route them out and and just to put that in perspect if I remember seeing something on New Year's Day from one of the people on the Google photos team that talked about on New Year's Eve this year over three billion photos were uploaded. We will photos cloud, if you will. So the scale of that companies are achieving today is nothing like we could have ever imagine, you know, ten years ago, and that's going to be the norm for everything that you do. And then the scope is really about, in some cases, the diversification and we have a set of products that may be fine for one small customer segment, but that's not enough for for the business going for you really have to look at the breadth of your products, the depth of your products, and all of those come into play. As you'R is really looking at how you are your kind of positioning yourself for the future and as I take a look back at a lead a ship perspective, that I have to look at how are we structuring our teams to be able to emphasize scalability at a technical level but achieve scalatability at a team level? If our team can't scale as the business scales, then we're going to be we're going to be the bottleneck. And then how do we work at the pace? Then we need to. That's about empowerment right. If every decision has to flow up the chain before anything can get approved, you'll never work at the pace that you need to work at. And and scope is really about just opening your eyes and in getting a broader perspective on the types of products, the types of markets, the wide range of customer segments. And to do that you need people thinking differently and having a different understanding. You need to post a relationship between development and marketing and research and product management. So so, for...

...me, a lot of it is is cause me to kind of shift and say, all right, as that control freak can work aholic that I am, how am I actually getting in the way and slowing us down right? And and what do I need to have on a team? And and then how do I need to empower the team? And that that sounds a little bit cliche, but it's reality. If your team can act without running everything through you, you're really slowing everything down. Without a doubt. I love it. It's so out of curiosity. What do you see is the most exciting trend on the horizon for Fuji and your team? I just I think, Chad, this explosion of photos is such an exciting opportunity for us in our teams and, like I said earlier, I don't want to convince everybody to print. What I really want to find out is what do people want to do with those photos? And sure we all love to share them. We all love to send pictures of our vacations or our dinners to friends and kind of boast that this is what I'm enjoying right now, right, but it is about a very human experience, right, and it is about preserving memories and in experiencing somebody else's memories when we share and and I think the fact that everyone is walking around with a camera in their pocket is just super exciting. And I'll give you an example. One thing I was amazed at last year my wife and I were on a vacation and there was a family sitting out by the pool side and they had a little daughter and she was six years old, and I only know that because I asked the mom and dad afterwards. Here's this little daughter and she's got she's got a smartphone and she's out acting like a photographer to her parents. She's posing them, she's telling to move this way, moved away and she's just capturing pictures and and I think the way you now have a generation that his growing up with photos. And what does that mean? And in one thing I think back to is all right, for US older folks, Chad, think about when the transistor radio first came about, right, that simple invention of the transistor that allowed people to carry music with them. And look at what that's done for the ubiquitous nature of music and how that's fundamentally change the way we consume music and how we can consume music no matter where we are every part of our lives. And that same transition is happening with photo right now as we speak, and has been for some time. And what what is that going to mean, you know, ten years down the road, if one company alone is getting, you know, three billion photos a day, what does that mean for the larger world? And and how does that change the way we're going to look at history, because everything is going to be documented in photos, right, and there's that's some pretty exciting stuff. There's some scary parts...

...that. In general, if that's pretty exciting, excellent, excellent. All right. So let's Change Direction here just a little bit. I ask all of our guests kind of two standard questions towards the end of each interview. The first is simply, as a revenue executive, that means you are, in the nice way of saying it a prospect, in the sales way of saying it a target. So I always like to ask our guests how how is the what's the most effective way to get your attention? When somebody doesn't have a relationship with you and they want to get in front of you to, you know, sell you something or show you a new solution? What's the most effective way for somebody to grab your attention, build the credibility so that you'll give them the fifteen minutes or twenty minutes to have a conversation? Okay, that's it. That's a tough one, but I don't want to give away all my secrets here. You're the first one who's ever caught what I'm doing there. Yeah, so after seventy episodes, Jim, after seventy episodes, you just nailed it. But so what I would say is, first and foremost, do your homework. I'm not just a name on a list, and so let me try to put it this way. Don't pitch your product or technology to me. Pitch your product to me and and so don't be lazy and approaching me. Do Your Research and tell your message to how your solution is going to create value from my customers, my business and and for me. And I get a lot of people that see a title and interpreted the wrong way and reach out to me via email and and or they see that I, you know, are company is in a different business and because I'm bus Dev in my title, they just assume and and what they're pitching has absolutely nothing to do with me or my specific work. And and all they had to do is look at Linkedin and they would know that. Right's we all live fairly public lives now from a social perspective, and instill a little bit of homework goes a long way. And and sometimes it's about being creative. And there's I given example. There was a there's a company that I've tried to talk to a couple times. We haven't been able to hook up and I've been mildly interested in and what they had to say, but I wasn't overly enthusiastic. And and a couple weeks ago they reached out to me by sending me a tweet and the tweet included a video that they made specifically to show their concept to me and why it applies and how it would create value for me and my business. And that was a that was the tailored sales pitch done through a tweet with that included a video and that thirty second video did the job better than any phone call the email. It was pretty creative and it got me to follow up with them and and I think it was about they took the time to figure out how to show...

...me that what they're to sell me is really valuable to me and and and that they know who I am, as opposed to I'm just another name on a list or a title that they got from somewhere, an email that they got on some list that they purchased. So I think in general, from a technology perspective, there are so many companies I talk to on a regular basis. They all have great concepts, but at the end of the day, I don't know. I've got to do a lot of diligence in terms of filtering them out and at some point it becomes overwhelming. And so the best thing that I can tell you is the people that show me that they've put a little extra effort into learning about me and making this a little bit more personal will always jump to the top of a list. Excellent, excellent, all right. Last question. Call it our acceleration in sight. There's one thing you could tell sales marketing professional services people one piece of advice that you've learned from your career that you believe if they listened to it, and that's always the coveat with people, if they listened and applied it would help them be more successful in hit their targets. What would it be and why? That's a that's a tepun yet my there's a first kind of reaction I have to that is is just remember that we're all human beings at the end of the day. People have lives, they have families, we're all human and when you take that for granted, when you when you approach your work, you lose something. I think the maybe the more focused answer is really to focus on value creation. How are you creating value for your customer and your customers customers? Whether it's in the products or services you sell, maybe it's in your particular service to your customers, how you work for them and support them in your day to day interactions with them. I think if you always focus on creating value in your interactions, you really can't go wrong. Excellent James. I can't thank you enough for the time today. Has Been Awesome having you on the show. I really appreciate I know it's taking us a wild to make it happen, but again, I really appreciate, I truly enjoy our ability to connect and talk. I love our conversation. So a deep, insincere thank you for me. Well, well, thank you chat. I really enjoy talking with you too. I hope, I hope your audience find some value on this, but you know, maybe I could talk forever with you anyways. Thanks her to time. All right, everybody that does it for this episode, please check us out a Bob Rev exaccom show, the episode of friends, families, Co workers, if you like. What you here do is a favor right as review on itunes. Suggest other guests that you actually want to hear from, not just these people that are reaching out saying they have something important to tell me. Until next time. We have valued prime solutions with you all nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the BB revenue executive experience. To ensure that you never...

...miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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