Customer Targeting For Managed Print Sales

Tony Benassi’s company has a very long-term view of managed print.

Before becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox, Chicago Office Technology Group (COTG) had a history of selling managed print services going back to the last decade. Today
the company has more than 35,000 devices under management in the Chicago area. The company is headquartered in Bolingbrook, Ill., but has other offices in Chicago, Tinley Park and Itasca.

“When we started with a service approach, it was less about speeds and feeds and more consulting. Sure, it helped drive printer sales. But we also found that the
sales became a lot more enjoyable,” says Benassi, vice president of managed print for COTG.

The enjoyable part, says Benassi, came from getting out of the ever-tightening spiral of beating a competitor’s sale price on a piece of hardware.

From those early beginnings the company evolved its own COTG360™ assessment approach for print management customers. The company says the
in-depth process involves the disciplines of Lean and Six Sigma to come up with not only a way to squeeze efficiency from printers, but to help clients develop workflow improvement too.

Benassi says that despite the company’s well-documented and detailed assessment process, the assessment phase really hinges on being able to see the customer’s work flow and
printing needs, up-close and personal.

“Print management is hand-to-hand combat. It’s many touches with the customer. You have to walk the premises, you have to have maps and get to know what’s on network
and what’s local [printers off networks],” says Benassi.”

So who does Benassi think is the ideal managed print customer? Benassi says COTG would like to move all of its printer customers to managed print – but, of course, some
candidates are better than others.

Recently, the Institute for Partner Education & Development (IPED) looked at sales strategies in managed print services, and found some key characteristics in common
among best-in-class managed print sellers. As IPED research revealed, the ability to segment the managed print sales approach is key.
There is no “one size fits all” strategy or ideal customer.

Instead, IPED found that segmenting the sales approach by recognizing several different classifications of customers is a recommended practice. The first category is by
size (small, medium or enterprise), the second is to recognize vertical markets by industry, and the third is by influencer or decision-maker.

IPED research found that among midsize customers, chief technology officers and IT managers become increasingly important as decision-makers.

Benassi agrees and says he’s seen the steady rise of influence of the CIO as decision-maker in managed print.

“The CIO is really in charge today, or someone in the IT department,” says Benassi.

That’s because the assessment phase naturally interfaces with the customer’s network, and there’s a lot of cooperation needed to get the correct data from the assessment.

When it comes to vertical market segments, IPED research as presented in the video, “Who is the Ideal Managed Print Customer?” demonstrated that there are distinct differences
among vertical markets based on size of customer. (The entire video can be viewed here).

Benassi says, however, when evaluating a good potential customer, it’s really all about just the volume of printing the customer does as a business. He mentions insurance,
health care and legal offices, but the underlying factor is still high volume.

IPED also has found in recent research that the quarterly business review is one of the most important tool print providers can use to move a client to managed print.

Benassi says, too, that the quarterly business review is just as important after implementing a managed print solution.

“This is a high-profile business. You have to have quarterly reviews. You don’t want to be seen as just a bill at the end of the month,” says Benassi.

In summing up his outlook for the future of his managed print business in 2011, Benassi echoes a point other managed print pros have noted: The support organization needed to
implement managed print is key.

“If you want to succeed in managed print, it’s all in the back-room operations. I’m finding my supply department is becoming just as important as sales,” says Benassi.

Despite all the details, however, Benassi says it’s easy to overcomplicate the process too. “At the end of the day, it’s really about doing the right thing for the customer.”