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The Compensation Situation

26 Jan, 2009 By: Rob Gilbert imageSource

The Compensation Situation

years and years we have been told to “get connected” and to “capture the clicks”
and to “migrate print volume” in our base of accounts.  Yet day after day, month
after month, year after year, reps continue to sell largely the Plain Jane 20 –
40 PPM standalone MFP. And to the same accounts or account types as we continue
to watch margins erode, net new competitive adds decrease, service margins
flatten out or shrink, and then wonder what to do. 

We all know there is an elephant in the room, we all know MPS
is the direction we will need to migrate to, and we may have even tried to
launch it one or more times in the past.  Yet dealerships continue to struggle
with how best to launch and make successful their attempts to create opportunity
from an unknown area of the industry.  Managed Print Services will become the
standard by which we conduct our businesses, and whatever ability we possess to
transition our businesses towards it will ultimately determine how much of the
net new market we take, and how much of our own market we keep.

While there isn’t a turnkey solution that exists to help a dealership launch
a MPS strategy, there are many good partners who can assist you in getting
started.  Items that must be taken into consideration include:

  • Whether or not you will perform service on HP devices
  • If yes to the above, where will training, parts & supplies come from?
  • What will that level of service look like (will I just perform service on
    particular models or monitor devices on an ongoing basis to create further
    service value & opportunity to the customer?)
  • Who will I partner with to capture network printer information? (audit key
  • How much of that information do I use in an analysis?
  • Once I gather the information, what tools are available to help me make
    this make sense to a prospect?
  • If I don’t sell or service HP, what will I replace them with (another
    printer line, or MFP device)?
  • How do I take this to market ?
  • What leasing partner can help me with proper CPP agreements and service
    billing issues?

Of course, the list goes on and on. 

you make decisions on these items, you are then faced with the task of
determining a timeline for implementation, what happens on the service side, who
will sell this type of solution (a specialist or general sales reps), who will
train them, etc.

As you can see, there are many things to take into
consideration when entertaining a foray into Managed Print Services.  Sadly,
once many dealerships get to this point, they think that they are ready to just
go out and make a fortune with MPS.  The critical step that has been left out
too often, though, is how to compensate the sales team for using the
print-centric sales approach and creating a win for the dealership.

Salespeople generally travel the path of least resistance when it comes to
compensation.  As a former down- the- street-er myself, I’ve sat in countless
strategy meetings with other sales reps immediately after the company meeting
outlining a new comp plan looking for all the loopholes and ways to exploit
opportunity that exists in the plan.  That’s what reps do.  Now, I’m not saying
that every single sales rep is only driven by money and nothing more, but by and
large the tenured sales force is going to spend the greatest amount of time
doing things that yield the greatest return to themselves.  That, I think, is
where MPS strategies in general are falling short as of late.

have an opportunity to create a scenario for both the tenured salespeople and
brand new reps where they can become part of a new process that will ensure
their success over a longer term.  Because MPS contracts can be so lucrative,
you can be very creative in your compensation models and engage reps to get on
board early.  As you begin to buy supplies in greater volume, you will also be
able to leverage your purchase power for even more creativity internally. 

The main items that need consideration in your compensation model are:

  • Specialist vs Generalist
  • Flat Rate vs Residual
  • Revenue or GP Based plan

In upcoming articles, we will discuss each of these in detail.  There are
other benefits you will be able to realize as you create a comp plan for MPS. 
You will be able to create an environment of better customer communication, you
will start to see employees thinking in terms of a career path with you instead
of a sales position, you will be building a much deeper base of revenue in your
dealership, which creates an overall greater feeling of wellness to employees,
and so on.  The encouraging thing to know is that once you put these pieces in
place, you will have a rock solid foundation for achieving success in your MPS
strategy,  and will be positioned to be a great partner to your base of

Rob Gilbert, Sr., DSM Fleet Management Services, Compass Sales Solutions.
Rob has 20 years experience, including CPP programs from consultation to


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