Managed Print 2010 – A Quick Review

Over the past year we’ve covered many aspects of the managed print business, based on real-world insights from solution providers delivering managed print services to business customers, and seeing the benefits through increased profits and stronger customer relationships.

We invite you to scroll back across the Business Transformation Studies and Field Reports we generated this year, all of which can be found here.

The stories look at how managed print customers are brought onboard, and how you drive new revenue through managed print. We also looked at managed print problem-solving, managed print sales strategies and competitive displacement, quoting and marketing managed print services, and full-fleet management.

So, to wrap things up for the year, here are a few highlights from our discussions with managed print providers. This is just a small sampling of the advice and guidelines these experts have shared. To get more details on any of these areas, and to see actual examples of how solution providers are succeeding in this market, check out the articles in the series.

Crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run.

Rapid success can—and does—happen, but solution providers typically don’t build a large managed print services business overnight. Success requires an understanding of the customer and a truly profitable managed print formula that shows savings for the customer and a profit for the solution provider.

Having a clear understanding of who the customer is and who the customer is not is key. “Most of the time we were chasing customers that weren’t a fit for managed print. So we had to learn to decide when to disengage with certain prospects,” recalls a very successful managed print service provider in the Northeast, who for years was a traditional solution provider making almost 30 percent margins on hardware alone. No longer.

“If we didn’t, we might not be here today,” he says.

He started as a managed print provider in 2009. Just how successful did he become in one year? To give some idea, here were his goals this year:

  • Profitable each month
  • Increase service revenue 15 percent
  • Increase service income 10 percent
  • Grow managed monthly revenue 3X
  • Close five new solution deals per quarter
  • Hit a $100,000 resell margin each month

He did it. And his advice: Develop a culture shift toward a managed print services focus. Start with a few small customers to get a feel for the business and then look to expand and develop greater expertise along the way.

Create an effective sales strategy

By developing a strong managed print sales program, solution providers can gain a clear competitive advantage in the market. There are several elements to successfully selling managed print:

  • Show the customer how managed print can improve productivity and budgeting, lower costs, streamline business processes
  • Ask the customer if you can assess its current print costs and the amount of savings that can be exacted from managed print
  • Use a print assessment tool to provide a baseline for existing output devices and costs and projecting potential future savings
  • Leverage the Xerox name and its PagePack program to enhance brand recognition

“Customers want to understand the cost implications of the various print and multifunction devices installed in their facilities,” says Larry Cohen, vice president of managed print services and solutions at Carr Business Systems, a New York-based reseller of printers, multifunction devices, scanners and other equipment.

“The challenges are determining the correct strategy for a balanced deployment of printers and copiers,” Cohen says. “It requires a cross-functional team at the customer location since the supplies, devices and service are oftentimes managed by different departments.”

Weaving engineering and site assessments into the sales strategy has given Carr Business Systems a way to show prospective customers their current total costs of producing documents, so they can have a clearer picture of what their print-related costs actually are.

It’s a sales strategy that works.

Learn to effectively articulate and quote managed print services

Before the discussion on pricing even begins, you have to explain to the customer what managed print will mean for their business. It’s important to communicate that there are both short-term and long-term benefits of a managed print program. Compared with the traditional break/fix scenario that so many companies are accustomed to, a successfully deployed managed print solution will also maximize the total value of ownership. In terms of marketing, use a combination of channels to get the word out about your managed print services.

“Small to midsize customers are not aware of the costs associated with printers,” says Gerard Perillo, managing partner at Integrated Document Technologies, a Little Falls, N.J., company that sells and services printers, multifunction devices and fax machines, and provides supplies for these office products. Links to>> http://biztransformcenter.com/articles/make-customers-aware-of-costs.jhtml

“It is our responsibility to consult and make these customers aware of the costs associated with supply and service of these printers,” Perillo says. “Many small-business customers today face issues related to servicing these printers and finding the best cost for replacement toner. Consolidation and ‘one-stop shopping’ would resolve these issues.”

Read how Perillo does it, right here.

Master full-fleet management

Managing a client’s entire fleet of printing devices is the pinnacle of managed print, the mountaintop for solution providers looking to succeed in the market. But if you think it’s easy to win over customers to this concept, or to manage large fleets of printers, think again. One of the problems with getting customers on board is the lack of understanding about managed print. It takes a lot of work to convince people that full-fleet management is in their best interest. You need to know what questions to ask up front and must be prepared to provide specific examples of how full-fleet management can provide business benefits.

PagePack 3.0 is the next generation of Xerox’s managed print services offering for channel partners. It’s a suite of channel-managed print services that enables solution providers to capture all the pages in their customers’ fleet of networked printing devices, and turn them into profit. Read the details in our complete coverage of PagePack 3.0 right here.

Full fleet management of third-party printers, single cost-per-page printing in color or B&W, faster and more accurate quotes, and a proven managed print formula that makes you money.

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