Opinion

The changing print market

Dan Smith, head of integrated marketing for the Middle East and Africa region of Xerox’s Developing Markets Operations (DMO)

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. 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 manner.

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.
  • Optimise 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 realised including employee productivity, environmental benefits, space savings, etc.

Getting Started

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.

Here are few tips to getting started:

1)      Assess your major accounts. Focus on those that represent about 80% 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.

2)      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.

3)      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.

4)      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.

5)      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 or 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, delivering MPS solutions to businesses of any size. Our offerings address specific challenges in the market to allow you to simplify service offerings with valuable training, advice and support from the 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.

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.

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 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.

 

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