By Craig Green, OPB Channel manager at Bytes Document Solutions, authorised distributor of Xerox
Managed print services (MPS) is a terrific opportunity for resellers to drive revenue and enhance share of customer. To succeed, it needs the support of a visionary and supportive vendor. It requires, for example, an inclusive service and supplies contract for networked printers and multifunction systems that can be the key to maintaining a profitable managed print offering, by:
- 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; and
- Removing some of the costly variables that can cut into reseller profits, with a fully integrated solution and coverage independent fixed pricing
Not all companies are ready for a long-term MPS contract, so a reseller will need a programme that offers an entry point. They will also need the following functionality:
- Monitoring the printers and multifunction devices on an organisation’s network;
- Supporting devices provided by a wide variety of vendors; and
- 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 you will manage in MPS accounts will be from a wide variety of vendors, rather than that of your principal vendor.
The key to success with any MPS solution is 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% 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 is implemented. Work with your MPS vendor to deliver high-impact training, covering topics such as assessment, design, implementation and management. Focus marketing efforts on a customer’s specific industry, size and needs.
Once you’ve added MPS to your portfolio, it is 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 they will need a proven on-boarding process that enables businesses and their technical staff to be successful under mentorship from industry experts. The mentoring programme should be led by an independent company that already has a successful MPS practice.
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 will 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 programme and sales strategy will build customer loyalty, confidence and revenue.