Call it Services or Solutions, You need Insight into MPS and the IT Perspective31 May, 2012
It isn't breaking news these days that your customers are demanding more of a service centered approach rather than a product focused one. As solution providers strive to provide the "total package" of services, this will invariably include "IT" on various levels. Notably "MNS" - managed network services - is for many providers, yet another significant focus and yes, real investment in an offering besides Managed Print Services (MPS).
One might argue that “Services” has taken over “Solutions’ as our new buzz word of the industry, or maybe we have a new definition of Solutions? For this article lets define Solutions as the combination of the People, Service, and product we offer to potential customers. With that in mind, I wanted to share some helpful insights in MPS Solutions that often get over looked or undervalued.
INSIGHT # 1 – Don’t undervalue the impact
When dealing with output devices in any organization (especially printers) there are two major impacts we will address:
1. FINACIAL IMPACT
2. TECHNICAL IMPACT
A lot of time we make the error of trying to address new technology first (replace equipment) instead of simply focusing on the financial savings. Sure we can consolidate, provide higher speed, better TCO printers however, without credibility with IT we are simply fighting an uphill battle. Thus, as a rule try to remember the goal of MPS is to make money, not move more units. With that in mind, address the financial impact first by taking over existing fleets of printers and worry about replacements as you slowly gain credibility with IT.
INSIGHT # 2 – Engage IT early and Often
Dealing with IT personnel can be difficult at times, but it can also be a driving force in your sale if approached correctly.
In my experience with dealing with IT personnel, one can categorize them in two key personality traits: 1) God Complex 2) Laid back. With both traits, you want to engage IT in your MPS deal early in the process. A great time to do this is during your Strategic site visit.
When dealing with IT your company's goals should be:
1. Through personnel: IT/MIS personnel want to be working with companies and individuals who know their network. By having qualified individuals in the MPS process to engage and answer IT’s questions you will slowly gain credibility .
2. Through Honesty: Sales personnel when you are talking to IT don’t wing it or answer questions you have no idea about, instead be honest and say I don’t know but I will get someone in front of you who does. By saying “I don’t know” you not only value IT’s knowledge , you gain credibility through the process.
INSIGHT # 3 – Help IT overcome their Fears
I have a Masters Degree in Computer Science and numerous certifications, which equal more than 15 years of schooling, but never once have I had a printer class. IT only knows what HP has taught them about printing. So when IT says, “Sorry but we are an HP house only,” what they really mean is, “The only thing I am used to and can configure is HP.”
Manufactures make a common mistake when trying to overcome this by throwing other unknowns in the picture such as software and drivers. What they don’t understand is that this is just more fuel for IT to not allow your product on the network.
For Example, If a manufacturer offers a universal print driver, which could be a huge advantage. However, if I use it as a lead-in tool it can ruin the whole deal.
IT views this as an item they are unable to fix that will make them look foolish to their supervisors. With IT, things need to be kept at their level initially until credibility is established. Here are some key points to remember when establishing credibility:
• When talking to IT stress the ability to configure your devices, not monitor your devices. If IT knows how to configure your device, they know how to fix your device. If they know how to fix your device, they know how to do their job and are comfortable with the product. Once their comfortable and credibility has been set, then you can offer your MPS services to
• As a rule of thumb, use the word utility instead of software when describing some of your company’s offerings. Software needs to be loaded, trained on, and may cause network issues in an IT’s mind. Software means work to IT people, while the word utility means help. Watch out for the word “Broadcast” that means flooding my network thus use the word sparingly or not at all. Both are simple, but effective play on words.
• Stress ease of integration! Keep things simple, the same, or similar in order to appease IT. Ultimately, ALL are pleased!