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But Wait... MPS Begins with an Assessment

11 Aug, 2009 By: Rob Gilbert imageSource

But Wait... MPS Begins with an Assessment

Although there are many components that make up what will become a good MPS
program or division, no matter what pieces you put together to drive the
process, MPS must still be centered around a good Document Workflow Assessment
process. A properly conducted analysis will arm you with all of the information
you need to:

  • Set yourself apart from your competition
  • Understand the unique objectives and challenges the prospect faces
  • Build a relationship with the prospect based on comprehensive needs
  • Create a complete and thorough solution

While many dealers are now being thrust into the Print Management arena
because competition dictates it, or accounts that they have held for years are
in jeopardy of being poached by a hybrid or printer company, the ability to
reconnect with existing accounts by re-assessing (or truly for the first time
assessing) their office landscape will certainly provide the information that
they may currently be lacking as it relates to their ability to fully serve the
customer and solve business issues and/or problems that a competitor could
capitalize on. 

In addition to the value that an analysis has for the dealer, a Workflow
Analysis does have a greater purpose and some far reaching value, actually
benefiting the customer. Once we begin to look at the analysis part of the sales
cycle in this way, we can truly create a positive experience for our customers
and ourselves.  Just because a dealer has “owned” an account for a number of
years, there are usually pieces of the account that MPS can help shore up,
particularly on the printer and outsourcing sides of the house.  A good analysis
process will position you as a true consultant and advocate for your customer,
and open up multiple avenues for revenue generation that will help sustain your
business.  Creating a Win-Win with the customer through this process is key.

Elements for creating a Win-Win are:

A complete inventory of all document imaging devices | Many customers do not
have a complete inventory of all of their own equipment. It’s pretty common in
the corporate environment for different people to handle different aspects of
document workflow.  One person handles copiers and faxes, another handles
printers and IT, still another purchases supplies.  The days of the CFO giving
the IT Director a blank check has resulted in a fracturing of internal
purchasing practices.  The win--win?  The customer knows exactly what they have
and so does the sales rep.  This builds trust and the rep begins to understand
how to effect the proper solution.

A point of view from industry experts | As sales consultants we are the
experts on the products and services that we sell.  We have the ability to be
emotionally removed from our customers’ businesses and give a thorough, unbiased
analysis of the document environment, acting as a third party resource.

Most of our competition will only focus on an equipment sale or lease upgrade
so differentiating yourself as a problem solver is a huge competitive
advantage.  It can also be perceived as a non-threatening conversation that
really is a value-add to the customer.  They now have an advocate for change and
a partner in creating the solution. The win-win?  The customer has an ally that
helps them fix problems; you have set yourself apart from the competition and
may have access to much better information within the account.

Reveal areas where the customer can be more cost effective | There is no
greater value that you can take to your existing customer than the added value
of helping them constantly review and plan for the proper movement and right
sizing of their fleet of equipment. In competitive situations, being a
consultant and identifying areas of improvement are what will differentiate you.

Very rarely will you enter an account and find it operating optimally in
terms of document production and office technology.  Most companies just focus
on their own core strength, i.e. healthcare, legal, government, accounting,
manufacturing, or whatever service they provide to their own base.  They use
copiers, printers and faxes because they know they need to, but don’t really
focus on how to do it properly.  This is really the incubus for our ability to
make the situation better.

As you become more proficient with performing an analysis in these
environments, you will begin to find common sets of issues that take place in
different industries.  In essence, customers become our best teachers because we
learn from them firsthand, i.e., the issues that they need to improve on and the
negative impact that they are already feeling.  The win- win?  The customer has
the revelation that they have need for improvement in specific areas of their
business, and finding them solidifies your position as a problem solver.

Introduce the customer to new ideas and solutions for their business | By
consulting and positioning yourself in a non-threatening way to your prospects,
they will let down their defenses and listen to you on how they can operate
efficiently.  This approach helps the customer to see the “big picture” and
think outside the box in a way they had not done before.  By doing so, they are
free to open their minds to new and creative ways to be productive, including
print migration, scanning technologies, in-house color production, file
archiving and storage, etc.  These things can be difficult to propose and sell
on their own without a deep knowledge of how the account operates.

I find that engaging the customer in the debate and helping them come to the
conclusion on what they need is much more productive and profitable.  The win-
win?  The customer is more open to new technologies and ways of getting business
done, and it is you that helped to get them there.  Now you are on the short
list when it comes to them trusting you for help and ideas.  This level of
salesmanship is where you want to be.  It is rarely where your competition is. 
By taking the extra time to ask questions, listen, and provide the feeling of
trust, you have set yourself apart.  Shouldn’t this result in greater dividends
for all parties?

The Workflow Assessment, if performed properly, will become the roadmap by
which you guide and win a potential MPS contract with a customer.  It can also
be extremely valuable in helping you “really own” the existing customer that has
assets not under your control.  Audit assessment, TCO, proposal tools, etc. are
all valuable, but without a process for gathering and interpreting the data,
your Print Management program will still be left wanting. 

Rob Gilbert Sr. President, Rainmaker Strategies International,  has 23
years experience in the office equipment industry, implementation of CPP
programs from consultation to implementation, and performs sales and management
training and consulting including MPS program setup. Contact him at:
rgilbertsr@gmail.com.  www.rainmakerworld.com.

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