Advancing Your Managed Print Business

Cycle One: Managed Print Sales Strategies & Competitive Displacement

Creating an effective sales strategy is a key part of building a successful managed print services business. So let’s discuss how to develop a strong sales program that gains a clear competitive advantage in the market.

There are several elements to successfully selling managed print, says Garrett Peaslee, president of Secant Technologies, a managed print services provider and computer network services company that supports more than 300 clients in southwest Michigan.

"The first element is memorizing a talk-track, a sales script focused on the business value that managed print can provide," says Peaslee. You want a concise, repeatable message that shows customers how managed print can improve productivity and budgeting, lower costs, and streamline business processes, he says.

Begin this script by talking about how much the customer is currently spending on print, and how the spending is tracked. Since cost savings is one of the biggest selling points of managed print, get the company thinking about how much it’s actually spending on print and whether it’s even accurately tracking these costs.

Other points to go over in this critical script include who handles purchasing and inventory of print supplies, who tracks maintenance issues, and how much effort the customer’s IT staff expends on output devices. This will get the customer thinking about how much is involved in managing print resources, and how much easier it can be when using a managed print service.

Then Go for the Kill
At this point it’s time to ask the customer if you can assess their current print costs and the amount of savings that can be exacted from managed print. Once you’ve outlined the potential savings, ask if the customer would like to move forward with a managed print service.

"Secant has performed several print assessments and all of them have demonstrated potential savings of at least 20 percent by moving to a managed print service," Peaslee says.

Peaslee notes that it’s important to call at the business level of the organization (for example, the owner, CFO, business manager) because these people will truly appreciate the business impact of managed print.

In addition to your managed print sales script, use a print assessment tool to provide a baseline for existing output devices and costs and projecting potential future savings. A Xerox partner, Peaslee uses Xerox’s PagePack assessment tool, and he goes on to suggest that partners who work with Xerox absolutely leverage its incredibly strong brand recognition.. Doing so really helps to "to enhance our own brand recognition and gain credibility," Peaslee says.

Some internal sales process elements important to the sales strategy include setting appropriate activity goals for salespeople, and then managing them to meet those goals. Also, having a commission plan that provides adequate incentives to drive their activity is a must.

The investment you make in sales incentives and sales salaries pays itself back quickly in managed print. In fact, a few Secant clients have been so impressed with the concept of managed print that they’ve opted to jump completely into it by replacing all their output devices with Xerox units using the PagePack program, says Peaslee.

"Typically our clients walk their way into managed print by purchasing one or two Xerox units on the PagePack program, test-driving the program and Secant, and then adding more units as printers are refreshed," Peaslee says.

Demonstrating the business benefits to decision-makers is vital to success in the managed print services market.

"This is not a hardware sale, this is a business process sale," Peaslee says. "Managed print needs to be promoted to a financial manager who has responsibility for overall performance of the organization. Failing to focus at this level of decision-making greatly reduces the potential for a managed print engagement."

What’s more is that once you’re in the door as a managed print provider, you have an opportunity to displace any other IT provider who may be doing business with that customer, adds Peaslee.

"By implementing a managed print capability at a client site, the reseller has the opportunity to build trust with the client by performing on the contract," Peaslee says. "When it is time to refresh existing units, you have achieved the status of incumbent and trusted partner, and it is much easier to steer the purchasing to units that you sell and add to the managed print contract."

Ready to get into managed print services? Contact us at the Business Transformation Center. Just use the handy form on the Program Guide.

Next up in our Managed Print Master Class, we’ll look at quoting and marketing managed print services.