The Managed Print Opportunity in Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

If you’re in the managed print business, you can’t ignore the small and medium business (SMB) market. To do so is to give up on a
huge opportunity for business growth.

Dale Fulkerson, owner of LaserComp, a Livonia, Mich., solution provider, is a case in point. LaserComp now derives at least 70
percent of its business from SMB customers. “That is my business; that’s where we focus,” Fulkerson says.

What does Fulkerson consider to be the smallest Xerox managed print customer he will go after in terms of employee headcount? Ten
employees, five? “I don’t consider company size; it doesn’t play as much into the equation as print volume,” he says. “What are they
printing? That’s the key to establishing whether we will move in with a managed print solution. We’ve got guys who are designers who do
a ton of printing and they’re one-man offices.”

Does Fulkerson have a cutoff in terms of print volume? “if they’re printing a thousand pages a month I’ll do it, but anything below that
I tend to get squirrely. I think they’re not ready for managed print,” he says. But even the businesses printing fewer than 1,000 pages
per month have the potential to move to managed print once their volume starts to grow, Fulkerson says.

“We go into places where people are starting to have sporadic growth these days,” he says. “So we try to get a feel for whether a
potential customer will experience any growth. Who knows? You’ve got to take a chance.”

“We’ve got guys who are designers who do a ton of printing and they’re one-man offices.”
— Dale Fulkerson, LaserComp

When selling managed print services within medium-sized companies or smaller companies that have multiple departments, LaserComp
generally tries to spread the word about how one department within the organization is benefiting from managed print—for
example through cost savings—so that others might see the gains and become interested.

One key to selling managed print within the SMB market is to provide satisfied customers as references, ideally companies
within the same industry as the customer you’re targeting. “We say here’s what we did over here. Give them a call,” Fulkerson says.

He says LaserComp has seven different insurance agencies as customers, and all more
or less originated from a single satisfied customer within the industry. The process of selling to those
companies took about 15 months in total, he says, but it was worth the effort. “We try to get every edge we can
with SMBs,” Fulkerson says.

Fulkerson says the SMB market is “wide open” in terms of the types of organizations that will buy
managed print. Recently LaserComp has sold managed print services to a steel plant, an accounting firm, a
school and a church.

“It’s everywhere you want to go if you can get people to think about managed,” he says. “Print is all
we think about. We will not lease a piece of equipment unless it has our managed print on it with PagePack. I’m not
going to use up my resources, my funding for something that I make one hit on. I want residual income.”

One of the biggest challenges is getting SMBs to understand what managed print is. “These guys don’t have a clue what you’re talking
about in most cases,” Fulkerson says. “They say, ‘Managed print, what is that?’” Many have been buying used equipment for years and
they’re not familiar with the concept of managed print.

This is where education comes in. Managed print providers must become adept at explaining what managed print is to SMBs and showing
potential customers how they can save money, increase printing efficiencies, and enhance quality by using these services.

Put the information about cost savings right in front of them, Fulkerson says. Show customers how much they’re currently
spending on print and how much they can potentially save. Armed with hard savings figures, you’re much more likely to get
their attention.

Even when a sales prospect initially looks bleak because a prospective customer has no idea about managed print and shows no
interest in the service, don’t assume it’s a hopeless case.

“You’ve got to get them thinking about it,” Fulkerson says. “You’d be surprised how many guys come back five
or six weeks later [to sign up for managed print]. We say, ‘Wow, those guys came back.’ It happens a lot; you’ve just got to
get them thinking about it.”

In today’s still difficult business market, Fulkerson says, the lesson in going after the SMB market for managed
print is don’t give up.


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