ACCUCOMS Representation Services in the Balkans Creates New Opportunities for Publishers and an Improved Service Offering to Libraries

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semih bakerThe year 2014 has seen the expansion of ACCUCOMS’ sales representation services within the Balkan region. These are new and promising services geared towards growing the corporate and academic markets.

In the below interview, Semih Bakar, Sales Manager at ACCUCOMS for Turkey and the Balkans, discusses how ACCUCOMS assists publishers in growing their business in these regions and how we can better serve libraries according to their needs.

1) What are the opportunities for publishers planning on growing their business in the Balkan region, and what is the role of ACCUCOMS in creating and chasing these opportunities?

ACCUCOMS proactively works on behalf of publishers all around the world. We offer a variety of services to publishers, for instance, gap analysis for products, detailed monthly reports, customer service help, telemarketing activities, consortia agreements on behalf of publishers, etc. We offer a variety of services for publishers who would like to see a solid and remarkable growth. We also contact each institution on behalf of the publishers and try to meet the needs of our publishers with tailor-made content.

2) What is the role of consortia and subscription agents in the Balkan countries? How do you manage relations between publishers and libraries/consortia?

Current data shows that there are several consortia groups in the region right now. There are two, which work as national consortia in Bosnia & Herzegovina (EICBIH) and Croatia (Centar Z Online). Then there are  two others, one from Serbia (KOBSON) and one from Slovenia (CTK),  both conducting their consortia business as ICOLC members. All of these consortia aim to obtain increased access to a greater number of sources to meet the educational and inquiring needs of  participating users (i.e. academicians, researchers, walk-in users, students, etc.). ACCUCOMS is now working to create stronger relationships between both libraries/consortia and publishers. We strive to provide tailor-made products to meet the needs of the libraries or consortia groups.

3) What is your approach to new sales, and how do you make sure publishers are pro-actively represented considered the geographical extension and the socio-political diversity of the Balkan region?

I believe in bilateral relations for every sales activity. I try to put myself in the potential customer’s shoes, treating him or her the way I would want to be treated if I was the prospect/customer. The most important thing is to focus on their wants and needs and to give them a reason to buy after understanding exactly what they need. If my offer is the same as what they have now, slightly different but not better, they won’t bother to switch.

4) How are you coping with the different languages spoken in the Balkan region? Do you have a team supporting your sales activities?

At present, English is the main language of communication and I don’t see this as a problem.

5) What is the added value of ACCUCOMS’ representation services in the area, and what are the main obstacles encountered so far?

The main obstacle was initially the uncertainty with regard to the Balkans market. Understanding subscription behaviors of the institutions in the different countries, their budget conditions, wants and needs, etc. kept me actively seeking answers. My extensive research on the Balkans region has helped shed light on the situation, and while some of the outstanding questions have been solved, others await further research.

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