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Selling MPS: It Starts with a Conversation, But in What Language?

23 Feb, 2012 By: Joe Barganier, MPSA

Selling an MPS engagement is anything but a standardized process. Depending on your company and the particular client, you may or may not do an assessment. You might do a walk around or capture data automatically and extrapolate some conclusions. You may sell the deal on crunching numbers or on conserving resources.

Depending on the role of the person you’re selling to, your conversation will change. The job of the MPS sales person is to translate the benefits into the language of the particular customer.

Selling to the CIO
When appealing to CIOs and IT managers, the verbiage often centers on freeing up resources. That’s a strong point of MPS, and you can create a compelling story, since about 20 percent of help desk calls are printer related.

Selling into IT can take longer than selling to the C-level, and some service providers avoid IT at all costs. But IT might be more than receptive to the right approach. Ongoing fleet management is hard work, and IT doesn’t want to be in the printer business. They may consider your MPS proposal worthwhile, so they won’t own all this “printer stuff” anymore.

You can talk about reducing IT distractions and help desk calls, but what if reducing headcount is what the customer wants to achieve? That’s a more delicate subject, so get a good read on your customer’s sensitivity to taking away jobs.

Selling to the CFO
To sell to the CFO, you have to make MPS a financial decision, and it pays to build a cost analysis for everything you can. For example, show the costs on devices they have already purchased. Most printers are not depreciated, but the CFO understands that if they were, there is an associated monthly cost. You can show a five-year cost, and point out the consequences if that printer doesn’t last five years. Talk about how this goes away with an MPS model.

Another approach for the CFO might be to ask how much time are your IT guys spending weekly on printer calls. What is your burden rate for that employee? Now you’re speaking the CFO’s language.

What’s That Document Cost?
When providers focus on cost structure, sales can get harder, because you’re up against opinions and misconceptions. Unless they are hardcore output sticklers, most companies don’t know what it costs to produce a document in their organization.

You’ll know however, that the biggest expenses are document management and workflow, and changes to these areas –or any area of the print infrastructure – affect end users as well as number crunchers. The conversation takes on another vocabulary if your proposal requires a change in document management and workflow ie company behavior, such as location of output devices and guidelines for output formats. 

To have the right kind of conversation, you have to understand where you are coming from. Talking to the wrong people and having the wrong focus drags you down. Are you an IT-kind of communicator? Does your company go straight to the CFO’s office? Get fluent in the language of your best target audience.

About the author
In addition to his MPSA duties, Joe Barganier is Regional Director of MPS for ARC Central. You can reach him at buckeyefenn@att.net. Learn more about the MPSA at yourmpsa.org and after March 1, 2012, at http://mpsa.cloverpad.org

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