A Solid Sales And Marketing Strategy

Did you know that 38 percent of U.S. travelers will pay more to travel companies that protect the environment?

In fact, the Travel Industry of America estimates that people who’ll pay more for green goods and services will pay up to 10 percent more — making the green label a profitable addition to any business.

In early 2009, a landscape architect named Nick Overall was given the honor of being named the Norwalk Tree Alliance’s very first Tree Advocate of the Year. Overall, 51, told Business Transformation editors that the news of the accolade almost immediately began bringing in new business from customers attracted to the conservation and environmental sustainability efforts that green products and services support.

“I didn’t really do any of it on purpose, or to be green, so to speak,” Overall said. “I just left more trees in place in my designs, won an award, and more customers have followed. Now, I’m architecting green on purpose.”

Today, missing the opportunity to showcase a green attribute can mean lost business. That is why solution providers selling and servicing solid ink-based print and imaging systems from Xerox find it easy to leverage solid ink as a way to capitalize on green buying trends.

“The solid ink system is definitely a green opportunity for our customers, and [green technology is] starting to hold a lot more weight than it did in years past. In fact, it’s getting to be almost as important as price,” said Bob Melso, vice president of DocuSense, a managed print provider in West Chester, Pa.

Introduced by Xerox in 1991, solid ink comes in small, easy-to-handle blocks blended to the required primary colors for printing and combining into full color. They yield practically no waste since, unlike liquid ink jet or laser toner, solid ink requires no casing to contain it, meaning no casing to throw away. Besides being about as green a product as you can find, solid ink produces consistent color quality on everything from office paper to transparencies. Solid ink keeps printing systems running longer, too, because the process requires 60 percent fewer mechanical parts than a typical color laser.

“Customers are very impressed with the solid ink systems. The simplicity of replacing the consumables, and the overall output of the product and the price point, especially when bundled with [Xerox PagePack] give a very competitive overall total cost of operation,” explained Philip Woerner, president of Premier Technology Group, Charlotte, N.C.

Where Customers Want To Spend

It’s proven that customers respond positively to green products and services, and when possible, opt to purchase them over nongreen alternatives. In addition, the brand equity of strong vendors can be leveraged to help influence customers and win business. Beyond green products, well-recognized vendors with significant internal green initiatives can also be leveraged by solution providers to help persuade customers to do business with them.

To this point, Xerox’s newly released 2009 Report on Global Citizenship breaks out highlights from the vendor’s environmental sustainability programs, and their progress. In the report are numerous proof points that Xerox partners can use in discussion with existing and potential customers about the value of doing business with a Xerox partner. And they go well beyond the green simplicity of solid ink.

  • Xerox cut companywide greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent between 2002 to 2008, according to the report, and Xerox aims to take that figure to 45 percent by 2012.
  • More than 90 percent of Xerox paper meets requirements for a sustainable paper cycle.
  • Xerox achieved an internal recycle rate of 92 percent in 2008.

And also in 2008, 80 percent of Xerox’s qualified new products met or exceeded the ENERGY STAR standard, and the company’s goal is to take that figure to 90 percent by 2010.

The ENERGY STAR opportunity is significant for solution providers, and one easily overlooked. Besides being a program that identifies products that can slash the cost of energy usage, the ENERGY STAR organization itself rewards businesses who leverage ENERGY STAR products to deliver outstanding efforts in conservation. Solution providers can earn ENERGY STAR recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at a number of different levels, including ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year. Ask Overall, and he’ll tell you that this type of accolade from an agency like ENERGY STAR can attract new business. Learn more about the ENERGY STAR opportunity here:

Including green elements like solid ink, ENERGY STAR ratings, and the environmental citizenship of your vendor partners in sales and marketing materials, is a strategic technique that can build profits. Proof of the success of this strategy is already in the field, and a vendor with the required elements is already in place in the form of Xerox. Just ask Mike Parment, executive vice president of Parmetech, a managed print services provider in Havertown, Pa: “The Xerox color solid ink program has been an excellent vehicle for us to grow our business. It’s great from a green standpoint, and it’s great from a cost standpoint for customers.”

Interested in taking advantage of the green opportunity that solid ink represents? Enroll as a Xerox partner right now: