4 Secrets for Expanding MPS Sales

If you’re looking for ways to boost sales at a time when business might be slow, here are some answers.

For some companies, like ATS Inc. in Raleigh, N.C., the Xerox eConcierge® platform has provided another source of revenue. The solution tracks the needs of an organization’s network printers and automatically orders supplies through a solution provider’s e-commerce portal. The program, which supports networked office printers and multifunction devices made by Xerox, HP, Lexmark, Brother and Samsung, is a complement to the Xerox PagePack® managed print program.

A growing number of managed print providers say they are offering Xerox eConcierge to customers, or evaluating the platform. Some of them see it as a great way for companies—especially small and midsize businesses that aren’t ready for a move to a long-term, fully managed print environment—to become familiar with the concept of managed print.

ATS, a provider of printers and related services, and a member of the Xerox Advisory Council, was one of the earliest participants in the Xerox eConcierge program and has become one of its biggest success stories.

“We were excited about the opportunity because we knew that the program would allow us to increase revenue without increasing overhead,” Terry Williams, president of ATS, told us in an interview earlier this year.

ATS ranks first in Xerox eConcierge sales among all Xerox partners nationwide, Williams says. ATS revenue from the program had totaled a little less than $300,000.

One of the biggest selling points of the platform is that it provides companies with a way to receive free extended service for their Xerox printer equipment. They have to buy printer supplies anyway, Williams says, so rather than purchasing an extended service agreement, they’re encouraged by ATS to enroll in the program, and ATS then captures added revenue from providing the service.

Competitor Differentiator

Xerox eConcierge offers other potential benefits, including a way to stand out from other print service providers. Xerox eConcierge is unique, and offering the platform as an option to customers helps broaden your services portfolio.

“I could tell that this was not a casual effort to try and do something that other vendors were doing,” says Tom McDonald, president of NSI, a Naugatuck, Conn., provider of virtualization, business continuity, disaster recovery, project development, network consulting and managed print services. “This was unique and could differentiate Xerox and us.”

The company wanted to increase its service business and sell something with margin that would push its competition out of its accounts, and Xerox eConcierge provided a way, McDonald says.

Generate New Business

The platform also offers a way to go after new accounts or new business from existing clients. The Xerox eConcierge program can apply to companies in any vertical industry, and can serve as an entry point into new customers.

Through Xerox eConcierge, ATS has captured net new business from a local university by selling new Xerox hardware, enabling the university to more efficiently monitor supplies not just for Xerox printers but for other equipment as well, Williams says.

About 40 percent of Xerox eConcierge revenue for ATS is tied to new clients, so the program has proven to be a huge source of new business. “We use it as a way to start conversations with new clients or clients that we have not talked to in a long time,” Williams says. “We mention it in every sales discussion because the program is very attractive.”

NSI found that Xerox eConcierge gave it “a hunting license” to go after new accounts, McDonald says. At NSI, everyone sells, not just the salespeople, he says. Once he explained the capabilities of Xerox eConcierge and the value it could offer to new clients, multiple people in the company could articulate the value of the program when discussing it with virtually anyone they came in contact with who might be interested.

The company now uses Xerox eConcierge as a lead in to new business opportunities. When it calls a prospective customer it asks if the company would like free service on their printers for life, McDonald says.

Start Small

Finally, consider how Xerox eConcierge gives clients a way to benefit from more efficient printing without moving to a full contract service. NSI launched Xerox eConcierge to get its clients to more proactively support their own printers and because NSI could not move everyone to full managed print, McDonald says.

Another managed print provider, SPI Innovations, in Freeland, Mich., has a philosophy of leading with Xerox PagePack, and if it’s not gaining any traction with a new customer, then propose Xerox eConcierge as a way for the customer to become familiar with the concept of print services.

For the client that’s not ready to make the leap into Xerox PagePack, Xerox eConcierge provides a springboard platform that might lead into Xerox PagePack at some time in the future, says Bill Loiacano, CEO of SPI Innovations.