The Changing Print Market: What It Takes to Transform Your Business & Why You Need to Do It Now23 Aug, 2012 By: Chris Iburg, Managed Print Services, Xerox North American Resellers imageSource
Businesses of all sizes are looking at every part of their IT infrastructure in an effort to find additional cost savings. Believe it or not, the print infrastructure is still one place most haven’t looked – and it’s a huge opportunity for resellers. Showing customers how their unmanaged print environment has a negative impact on their bottom line is a successful sales strategy and helps them to reduce costs and increase productivity. For the reseller, it represents a new source of recurring revenue and an investment in sustainable, profitable growth.
According to research from Photizo, the leading Managed Service Providers (MSP) grew 46 percent last year; and one-third of these top MSPs delivered managed print services (MPS) – meaning the number of print devices under a managed print contract grew by a whopping 146 percent last year. The reality is, there’s money there to be made. And it’s not a new technology to get the CFO to buy into – the business is already spending money on print. The opportunity for you is to get them to reduce their costs by buying it in a different way.
Making the Case for Managed Print
Many businesses spend far more money than is needed on office printing and have deployed more copiers, faxes and printers than they actually need.
MPS is a proven approach for reducing costs and improving productivity. But as the MPS market matures, customers will be choosing from a wider and more diverse range of MPS suppliers. It will be increasingly important to stand out in the crowd by concentrating on understanding your customers’ needs, providing more managed services to them, and delivering a managed print solution that is well developed and easy to implement.
Successful MPS providers are the ones who build long term relationships with their customers and continuously add value through constant collaboration. The most effective MPS providers position themselves as catalysts for business growth, often taking the following advice into account:
- First manage what you have. The first step is to help customers manage their existing fleet of printing devices. Take time to get control and reduce costs with what’s already in place. This needs to include printing devices from all manufacturers.
- Optimize the fleet. Show the customer how consolidating and simplifying their print infrastructure can help the business work more efficiently and continue to save money in the long run.
- Leverage the trends. Multi-function printer (MFP) hard drive security and green printing initiatives are just examples of how to get the conversation started. Show customers how MPS can help meet their goals through product consolidation, sustainable supplies, and hard drive set up and maintenance.
- Think beyond page volumes and clicks. Pre-sale conversations can make or break the transaction, so ask the right questions: what are your goals; what applications are you using; what are your expectations; and what efficiencies would you like to accomplish?
- Show what’s possible. Consider all cost factors when completing the on-site analysis including hardware costs, paper usage, power consumption, IT management needs and footprint of ideal print solution.
- Waste is about more than cost. The ROI of MPS isn’t just dollars and cents. Make sure to highlight the other efficiencies that will be realized including employee productivity, environmental benefits, space savings, etc.
Adding MPS to your portfolio can be a simple, lucrative process if you follow the right steps, and engage the right partner to help with operational knowledge to ensure effective implementation by using a fully integrated MPS program with the tools and support infrastructure needed to be successful.
A few start tips:
- Assess your major accounts. Focus on those that represent about 80 percent of your revenue, as well as those accounts with the greatest potential for cost savings with MPS. Many customers are actively seeking a MPS solution. Don’t get left out of this opportunity.
- Assess your internal operations. Determine if you have the resources needed for success. This includes operations, billing, and selling. Keep in mind that a well-designed MPS program can eliminate the need to make heavy investments in new resources and may be able to leverage what you already have in place.
- Understand the competitive environment. Ensure that you will be able to clearly differentiate your solution from competitors’ offerings. The more managed services you are providing to your customer, the deeper your relationship and stronger your strategic relevance will be.
- Invest in education and communication. Early on in managed-print efforts, focus on internal education to make sure the entire company knows the direction you are taking with print services.
- Find the right program. When looking for a vendor partner for MPS, consider the company’s reputation, experience, support and tools, as well as which vendor will help generate the most revenue for the business. The right program will get you up and running quickly and provide a range of offerings to add value to customers.
Weighing the Options
While analysts predict double digit growth for the MPS market over the next few years, it’s not enough to simply offer MPS in your portfolio. MPS is an evolution, not a revolution: it’s about simplifying a customer’s managed print fleet and improving it over time, bearing in mind the customer’s needs and budget realities. To that end, it’s important to seek a MPS program that offers opportunities to profit from whatever type of print network/print technology a customer may be running, all while reducing waste, saving money, and vastly simplifying device management.
Xerox is focused on making it easy to get into print services without a huge investment upfront – so resellers can invest in deals, not infrastructure. We pioneered the MPS industry and continue to set the bar for strategy and execution. MPS is more than just managing output. It is a business strategy that helps resellers provide the optimal level of document management services to their customers. Xerox MPS Programs help resellers with a solution that was once reserved for large global businesses, deliver MPS solutions to businesses of any size, addressing specific challenges in the market to allow you to simplify service offerings with valuable training, advice and support from a worldwide market leader in MPS.
In fact, analyst firm Quocirca credits Xerox with “being ahead of the game” when it comes to SMBs adopting MPS at a faster rate – highlighting the continuum of MPS services delivered by both direct and indirect distribution channels, and continued expansion of the capabilities offered. For example, Xerox PagePack is an inclusive service and supplies contract for networked printers and multifunction systems that can be the key to maintaining a profitable managed print offering, including:
- Enhancing customers’ understanding and control of their document costs
- Offering resellers a competitive advantage and providing opportunity to boost business equity
- Improving reseller profitability and increasing revenue
- Removing some of the costly variables that can cut into reseller profits, with a fully integrated solution and coverage independent fixed pricing
And Xerox eConcierge is positioned as a complement to PagePack and is offered as an entry point service for those that aren’t ready for a long-term MPS contract. Other highlights include:
- Monitoring the printers and multifunction devices on a company’s network
- Supporting devices provided by Xerox, as well as other vendors
- Enabling customers to order supplies through a solution provider’s e-commerce portal
MPS is also not a one size, one vendor solution – roughly half of the technology Xerox manages in MPS accounts is non-Xerox technology.
Paving the Way for Success
The key to success with any MPS solution is a properly trained staff – ensuring the customer won’t have to face the very challenges they are trying to avoid by having managed print in the first place. Building staff expertise is one of the biggest challenges service providers currently face. According to CompTIA’s IT Research Roundup published in late 2011, 56 percent of MSPs surveyed say the availability of trained consultative sales and tech staff is a “very important” requirement.
To get started, train your sales staff to explain the benefits of MPS and understand how it’s implemented. Work with your MPS vendor to deliver high impact trainings covering topics such as assessment, design, implementation and management. Focus marketing efforts on your customers’ specific industry, size and needs.
Once you’ve added MPS to your portfolio, it’s important to remember that training people to deliver a service like managed print is not the same as training them for product-related customer service, which is why Xerox has a proven on-boarding process that enables businesses and their tech staff to be successful under mentorship from industry experts. The mentoring program is led by an independent company that already has a successful MPS practice, hired by Xerox.
Once MPS is successfully in a your portfolio, not only will it improve your overall strategic market position, it will help make existing accounts more secure and open doors to win new business. In order to remain successful, you’ll need to continue customer and vendor relationships and make a point to re-evaluate processes to meet ever-changing business requirements. An effective and well-thought-out MPS program and sales strategy will build customer loyalty, confidence and revenue.