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Stimulus Package for Document Imaging Dealers

16 Sep, 2009 By: Terri Dunn imageSource

Stimulus Package for Document Imaging Dealers

Business to business sales organizations do two things; sell and then service
and support what they promised.  Consequently, the Salesperson and their Process
and the Service/Support Organization and its Performance must be the targets of
focus for a Stimulus Package that is meaningful to your organization; your

The Sales Person & Their Process  

The H.R. Chally Group first identified in 1998 and later in 2007, after in
depth vendor evaluation interviews with more than 80,000 business customers,
that it is the salesperson and their level of competence that rises to the
highest level of influence in a sale.  The best proof and demonstration of a
salesperson’s competence is the consistent utilization of a process that works
because it matches with the buyer’s stage in acquisition/purchasing. Therefore,
it is not the relationship with the customer but the salesperson’s knowledge or
competence, resources and support that most highly influence the buying
process.  Embracing a process that aligns with the buying cycle rather than the
more typical competition to gain the buyer’s attention to present, persuade and
close a sale, is the preferred foundation for a strategy when buyers are
reluctant to spend.  And reluctance to spend is the biggest competition a
salesperson faces in these difficult economic times.

Access the C-Level

Today, any financial decision that has potential impact on the organization
becomes scrutinized by key executives.  Salespeople need to access those at a
higher level and understand what’s keeping key executives awake at night.  This
critical step of starting with the C-Level executive (CEO, CFO, CIO) is a
critical factor in the buying process.  Returning to access the C-Level later
creates a terminal stall.  We also estimate that 85-95% of salespeople/reps
spend their time chasing opportunities that are “soon to be” on the market. 
However, our competitors are doing exactly the same thing. And “new” is not
always better.  We have become heat seeking missiles for the products that are
soon to be replaced and are ignoring the 80% of the marketplace that is not “up
for grabs.”  In a non-growth market and in difficult economic times, we need to
work higher, deeper, and broader in accounts.  By utilizing the right resources
we have the potential to own so much more of the account—by delivering more of
our products & services “before the account is on the market.” 

We can identify opportunities for:

COLOR…the fastest growing product segment in today’s industry.  Year over
year placement statistics indicate, in some cases, double digit growth in color
equipment placements and double digit decline in monochrome equipment

PRINTS…the fastest growing clicks in the industry.  Printer clicks in
Corporate America more than double the declining MFP clicks available for
dealers to service today.

WORK FLOW AND DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE…the highest interest level in our
multiplying information society.  It is estimated that a “page” costs over 30
cents to store, retrieve and manage.

copier/MFP base represented about 11 million units; today it represents half
that population.

We operate so single purposely because it is the way we have always operated,
and because our people do not understand nor initiate an effective process to
begin accessing at the right level.  Today’s salespeople need a new methodology.

Key 3-Fold Methodology

1. Focus on your customer - not the single product ready to be replaced.  It
is perfectly natural for our salespeople to engage in an opportunity, sell a
product and move onto their next opportunity.  We have trained them to do this
for years and it is precisely what we compensate them to do.  What most fail to
recognize before moving on is that there are many other opportunities in that
same account:  color, Managed Print Services, even other MFPs that have been
deployed improperly and are off the radar screen let alone the many solutions
type products that manufacturers now bring to the table.  This is the case even
in our own loyal customer base.  There too, we need to operate higher, deeper,

2. Adopt the current prints made on already existing printers on cost per
page service/supply contracts, otherwise known as “Managed Print Services.”  An
equipment sale is a one time event.  Until the last few years, the equipment
sale was required to trigger the sweetest component of our industry, the service
and supply contract. Service and supplies are sweet because those reoccurring
revenue streams stabilize our business in good times and bad. MPS multiplies
this reoccurring revenue opportunity in your existing base. By focusing on
“customer share” rather than a single product we multiply our opportunity
tremendously and in turn offer our customer more value, increased profitability
and a better understanding of hidden expenses, making it easier for them to buy

3. Advance the “buying process” rather than the “selling process.”  Embrace a
process that aligns with the buying cycle rather than gaining the buyer’s
attention to persuade and close a sale. Cycles are ongoing while a sale is often
viewed as a one time “event.”

Branding is Safe

Studies show that during challenging times, buyers gravitate toward
“branding.”  A “branded” concept is safe; familiar. Whatever feet you have on
the street should be singing the same message. This is where your sales and
marketing efforts should be unified. When was the last time you refreshed your
go to market strategy and required buy-in from the troops?  Now is the time to
consider this.  It will empower your staff, identify those on alien missions,
and give you a chance to “brand.”

The Strong Get Stronger, the Weak Get Thinner

Do not settle for mediocrity during an economic downturn.  Mediocrity leads
to weakness.  During times when opportunities seem slim, the abilities of weak
competition become thinner. Visibility is key now. This is the time for the bar
to be raised, not lowered.  Buying office equipment, solutions, and services may
slow down but it does not stop.  This is a time to expect more contacts and
closer alignment with your sales initiatives.

Accountability, Cuts and Adds

A good stimulus package requires accountability.  If your staff hopes to
benefit from the perks that evolve with being associated with a rock solid
organization, accountability is the price to pay. Therefore, cut “pretenders”
from the ranks.  Pretenders are those people “unwilling” to engage in your
corporate strategy for success.  They are “unwilling” to raise the bar and
increase their activity.  Pretenders believe selling is an “art” and they are
the “gifted.”  Pretenders believe they will keep their jobs because of their
relationships.  Many are the old-school, single point of contact person who
refuse to adapt to today’s more complex selling environment, let alone in
today’s economic times. Let pretenders go in favor of the best and the brightest
sales minds who see the “big picture” and are prepared to execute a real plan. 
Add industry salespeople who can create customer demand.  Add a process they can
execute to create customer demand. This will grow your dealership; your

The Service/Support Organization and Its Performance

Your customers’ expectations for service and support are higher than ever. 
Judgment is swiftly made as to whether a customer is getting what they paid to
get. A winning formula for re-inventing more profitable service and support of
your customers without sacrificing quality and “premium” service lies in:

  • Understanding industry best practice benchmarks for service revenue and
    individual expenses, as well as service and operational performance and
    productivity benchmarks.
  • Examining your service organization’s performance statistics results by
    capturing your results on management reports produced by your operations
    software, at all levels:  company, territory, technician, machine model,
    field call and cost per page.
  • Comparing your results to “Best of Breed,” meaning not just the industry
    benchmarks but to actual performance achieved by top performing operations.
  • Implementing initiatives to refine activities and purchases.
  • Capturing more opportunity and profitability with offerings that capture
    more residual, reoccurring revenue and profit.


Investigate for an opportunity to apply a stimulus package. Investigating
the efficiencies and effectiveness of your service process, operation, personnel
and infrastructure could not be more valuable right now to you or your
customers. Offering “premium service” at a competitive price with exceptional
gross profit will solidly position you to show value while experiencing a stable
foundation in difficult times.  What, might you say, is “premium service?” How
about service so superior that your customer understands it would cost them
great risk and profits to choose to be serviced by someone else!  This will
require educating your customers on what “premium service” looks like and a
willingness to be held accountable to your claims.

Investing in the analysis of your service organization’s expectations and
methodologies to uncover areas of opportunity will position you to offer
“premium” service and reward you with increased profit and resources for future

Check the Best Authorities

Time is of the essence.  We have seen service revenues dramatically impacted
by manufacturer claims of lower price per page for years.  Your customers’
volume on equipment has been dropping.  At the same time we have seen
profitability hammered by fuel costs, cost of living, and the gap between per
click revenue from yesteryear to today.  Every day salespeople are replacing
profitable in field revenue streams with new equipment that is not only billed
at a lower cost per page but today is producing fewer pages than the contract
that was replaced. It’s a double whammy to revenue performance.  There is no
case for trying to figure this out on your own when there are trusted
authorities who have already done the dirty work. Benchmarks are not
hypothetical, theoretical examples. Over twenty years, thousands of dealerships
and tens of thousands of machines provide the proof. Again, you need to compare
what your service organization looks like with “Best of Breed.”   To do this you
need to engage with an organization who has collected data from hundreds if not
thousands of  high performing operations and who understands how to help you
focus on the components and activities that make a substantial difference in
profitability, performance and productivity.

Foreclose and React

Foreclose on the theory that you cannot squeeze better performance from your
service team.  Focus on revenue, performance expectations, personal
accountability, cost control and service territory structure.  The impact? 
Expectations will be raised at all levels within your entire organization,
allowing all employees to be conscious of their actions.  The reward?  Reduced
call activity, increased product reliability, accountability procedures
increasing overall productivity, and reduced expenses, warranty capturing, and
parts expense management boosting profitability.  Small changes in these focus
areas will enable quicker response times and happier customers who perceive they
are getting “premium service.”


Expand your service product offering to a hybrid of your current product set
to enable a greater customer share. Most of your accounts have two or three
other vendors just like you providing them with service and support.  Imagine
the efficiencies for your customer if this service was, at least over time,
reduced to one vendor. And imagine if that vendor was you.  Productivity, time,
travel, revenue and profitability would sky rocket without even capturing
another account.  It is no secret that a Managed Print Services offering is the
most effective and efficient process to expand quickly in an economic downturn.

Beware of a Deficit

Companies who have been servicing your customers’ printers on a time and
materials basis understand what they are NOT servicing in your customers
offices.  Your MFPs.  Printers and printer volume at least double MFP volume
today.  With the recent consolidation of megadealers, manufacturers are looking
for new outlets to sell their products.  Those small companies selling and
servicing your customers’ printers today may well be your MFP competitors
tomorrow.  Things can get worse.  Protect your base.  Lock down every output
device in your customers’ organization.  Provide “premium service” for those
devices and get on the same page with your customers’ goals and objectives for
their organization. Become valuable to your customers.  Eliminate any reason for
them to send their pages elsewhere.

Bottom Line

Once upon a time, the original wise men of the office products industry
issued a preamble to the industries constitution which boldly stated that the
beauty of this business was that it was “recession proof.”  During previous
economic downturns, this axiom proved to be fairly sound.  The difference
between this downturn and others is that electronic documents, the Internet, and
print on demand have sliced into the base of copies made on the typical copier. 
During this economic downturn, customers looking to slice their expenses have
discovered that they contracted for thousand more copies / prints than they use.
We have heard from hundreds of dealers who receive calls daily from their
customers, telling them they want to reduce the base copies and monthly charges
for those copies, thus slicing into the sacred aftermarket revenue streams for
the first time.  These same customers, however, have increased the number of
prints made on their desktop printers.  Therein lies the stimulus package we
have been waiting for.

Unlike our nation’s stimulus package, no one is going to just give you those
prints to put on contract.  You must be prepared to find them with a MPS
strategy.  We continue to hear from dealers who have grown radically this year,
using MPS as a stimulus package to fuel their growth.  If you long for the days
of a “recession proof” industry, your stimulus money has come in.  It is in a
package labeled “MPS.”

How do you deploy MPS in your dealership?

Unlike taking on a new equipment product line, your investment in inventory
and personnel to implement an MPS strategy is minimal.  However, there are 12
key decisions a business owner must make, 6 key preparation areas that require
implementation, and 3 key actions that ensure a strategic MPS product offering
is on the right track.  These decisions, preparation and action plans are
strengthened by similar supporting tracks for your sales and service
organizations.  You need a simple, executable engagement process.  And both
sales and service need at least a couple dozen tools and a professional
training/education program to get the job done. You also need to understand how
to differentiate yourself from all those wannabes who are “pretending” to offer

Did we mention that your equipment sales will also increase as a result of
effectively and efficiently implementing an MPS go to market strategy? 

You cannot discover success in MPS on your own without investing years of
trial and error, and by then the window of opportunity without fierce
competition will be closed.  You can jumpstart your success by investing in
programs conducted by authorities who themselves have already invested those
many years of experience and have created professional deployment practices,
training programs and consulting.

Various companies provide programs, including Print Management Solutions
Group (PMSG) who offers a total MPS solutions package facilitated by proven
industry veterans which does not focus on “why” a dealership should offer
managed print services, but rather a complete “how to” value proposition from
onsite consulting, professional sales development, service and operational
benchmarking and training, and ongoing coaching and support to ensure dealer
success, and to maximize ROI on their MPS business model.  In addition, PMSG has
developed the industry’s first operational and financial MPS model for service.
Their sales education, and service and operations excellence training workshops
are facilitated simultaneously at the same location, thus allowing dealer
personnel involved in all aspects of their MPS offering to walk away in
“lockstep and ready to execute on their strategy.”  The objective is to prepare
your dealership for the economic recovery that lies ahead.

Teri Dunn is a Senior MPS Consultant for Print Management Solutions Group
& Master Facilitator of the nationally recognized sales training program,
Selling Managed Print Services.  At
. Print Management Solutions Group is a joint venture
with BEI Pros to support MPS initiatives through comprehensive consulting &

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