Preparation is Key to Selling Managed Print Solutions

In nearly all facets of business, preparation is the key to success. If you haven’t done your homework and primed yourself to aggressively compete in a new market, your chances of winning are slim at best.

Managed print services is no exception. How well you prepare—by honing your business model, training your technical and sales staffs, and communicating with your clients—will mean the difference between a venture that grows and thrives versus one that just limps along.

CTS Services Inc. www.ctsservices.com knows this dynamic well, and more importantly, knows how to exploit it.

Thorough preparation enabled it to become a leader in managed print. Founded in 1983 and based in Bellingham, Mass., the professional services company provides expert computer and network services to a range of clients in many industries in the northeastern United States. Its IT management services, repair depot, on-site computer and network support, and remote support combines for a comprehensive support plan for CTS Services customers.

How did the company create the foundation for managed print success? The first step was fundamental—CTS Services decided on the best managed print solution for its clients and for the company as well, says Michelle Carlow, president.

“We made a commitment to the Xerox PagePack 3.0 program, which then led to a series of steps, still ongoing, that enable us to bring a very robust management solution to our client base,” she explains.

Early on, the company’s management focused on internal education “to make sure our entire company knew the direction we were taking with our printer services,” she adds. “Our sales and marketing team became certified through Xerox, our technical support team completed program training, and we completed operational training that enabled us to build the right business model for our company to be successful with management services.”

Being well prepared has helped CTS meet the ongoing challenges of the managed print business.

“Managed print services offer a new paradigm for managing our clients’ printer fleet, and therefore require a new mindset within our company, as well as our clients’ approach to support of their printers,” Carlow says. “Internally we had the challenge of introducing new thinking for our team. It’s a new sales model that demands a new sales and marketing approach.”

The biggest challenge “lies in the up-front discovery phase with our clients and transitioning people to a new way of thinking,” Carlow explains. “In the end, we know it’s a business support model with real benefits for our clients.”

The PagePack 3.0 program is at the heart of CTS Services’ managed print solutions. The company’s support staff completed intensive Xerox partner training to attain Xerox’s PagePack certification. With its acquired expertise, CTS can seamlessly manage all networked printer devices for its clients, and customers have greater visibility into their entire fleet of printers.

Carlow says CTS chose Xerox and the PagePack 3.0 program because Xerox is a leader in the print management industry, offers exceptional products, and stands behind the reseller and end user customers. Another key factor was the PagePack program’s support for printers from multiple vendors.

To keep its managed print business growing, CTS focuses on spreading the word about the benefits of managed print.

“We are identifying our best prospects within our account base, but we are educating all of our clients about the value of managed print,” Carlow says. “This is our biggest marketing challenge as far as the printer services go.” She notes that while managed print services make sense for many of its clients, some others aren’t viable candidates.

The managed print market has become a key part of CTS Services’ business. “In this business environment, all strategic support programs that yield cost savings results are taken seriously,” Carlow says. “Managed print services falls into that category, and it’s the direction that many companies are taking today.”

The company is ramping up to put dedicated managed print resources in place, “which should indicate where we see the future headed for printer fleet maintenance and support,” Carlow says. “We see tremendous opportunity for us to serve both existing and new clients with a truly valuable IT support service.”

CTS is looking into setting up a Xerox eConcierge store soon. “Cloud computing is certainly an area of client focus; any service that makes things more convenient for our customers and reduces our overhead at the same time deserves serious attention,” Carlow concludes. “We are assessing what’s required to implement this properly and provide ongoing support. We see this as one way into the managed print services discussion with many of our clients.”