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Invest for MPS Success

7 Jul, 2010 By: Marc Theaman, Strategy development imageSource

Invest for MPS Success

As a baseball fan I often hear people say that the Yankees have a great team because they invested so much in talented players. Look at their results. They won the World Series last year after some significant player acquisitions. Every year they invest in the best talent available. Why doesn’t every team invest like that?

Google has spared no expense in investing in state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and the best personnel they can find. They are aggressively entering emerging markets. Look at their results. They keep creating new revenue streams. Why doesn’t every company invest or think like that?

The same holds true for success in MPS.  Strategic investment can not only accelerate, but greatly increase your chances of launching, maintaining and growing your MPS business. Investment here does not only mean financial investment. Success in MPS requires an investment in time and focus.

Areas For Investment

* Infrastructure
* Software
* MPS Specialist
* Training
* Consulting

Is your back office prepared for the complexities of bundled equipment, service and supplies billing? Are you ready to provide next day delivery of printer cartridges? Have you installed a remote monitoring system? Even with a remote monitoring system you will need to gather up to 30% of the meters manually. Can you provide help desk support? Are you properly service trained? Do you have documented back office processes for administrative employees? MPS is a services-led approach that is a culture change from the traditional equipment-led sales approach. Can this approach co-exist in your dealership? The consultants at Strategy Development recommend you measure the health of your business by the growth in aftermarket billing. If you control the devices, you will sell the equipment, but if you focus on the equipment you will miss a significant aftermarket opportunity.

You absolutely need remote monitoring software to run a successful MPS program. It will help you get meter reads, provide you with service and toner alerts and let you know when another device is added to the network. Popular systems include PrintFleet,  PrintAudit, and PrintTracker.

MPS Specialist
The services-led approach is a longer selling cycle and usually requires more work than the equipment sale. It is not a hardware-centric sale. You want to keep the copier reps focused on their bread and butter. But make no mistake, this is an interim approach. Once managed print services takes hold, the entire sales force will sell it!  Most consultanting firms, including ours, have never seen a successful MPS program launched without a specialist.

At the end of the first year, an MPS sales specialist should be managing approximately $25,000 in monthly aftermarket billing.  Given a reasonable ramp up period, your payback on this investment would be in the nine month range.

Training / Coaching
All good teams need training and coaching. Every big league team has a coach or manager who creates the playbook and then provides training to their players. The same applies here to MPS. However, usually the training /coaching expertise is not resident within the dealership. Investing in outside assistance will greatly improve the odds of success in MPS. You might eventually get there on your own, but you wouldn’t have a successful business if you weren’t smart, nimble and adaptable also. The advantage that an investment in outside help brings is that it speeds up the time to MPS success. Learn from the experts and avoid common mistakes and reap the benefits of MPS success quicker.

Once you get going it is common to run into a few bumps along the way. Sometimes it is a loss of focus but many times it involves some type of complexity or unexpected twist to the MPS sales process. Ensuring your success typically requires ongoing assistance from the experts. Usually, this is temporary. You don’t want your specialists practicing in front of your customers. Yet regular, ongoing support provides reps with a venue to discuss the transactions they are working on and receive expert assistance in bringing them to closure. And don’t forget the back office here. It is just as important to ensure success. 

Many OEM’s, toner cartridge companies, software providers and leasing companies are advertising that they can coach you through setting up and launching a successful MPS initiative. Is this their core competency? Consider the benefit of an independent consulting firm that can analyze your organization’s current competencies and develop a business plan tailored to your dealership. Collaborate on product, service and software decisions. Who you partner with is an important decision, and the most important investment for you to take advantage of in this most exciting profit opportunity that the industry has seen in a decade.

Leverage Your Suppliers
Many of your suppliers will provide funding to subsidize your MPS investments. Some use MDF or co-op. All are interested in making you successful. Your success will translate into their success as suppliers. Check with your local representative for details.

So “invest for success” is not just a cliché. Will anyone be surprised if the Yankees win the World Series again this year or if Google’s stock price reaches a new high? Don’t wait for one of your customers to tell you that they are going with someone else because of their MPS offering. Get in the game. Invest for success! 

Marc Theaman is the Vice President of Business Development for Strategy Development, having a 20-year tenure at Ricoh, with responsibilities in training & development of channels, national accounts & staff. As Region VP of Ricoh’s IKON Division, Theaman led a dealer sell-thru strategy stimulating demand for Ricoh products from end users. As Director of Sales & Marketing for the National Account Division, he developed and implemented Ricoh’s RMAP and DMAP program.

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