A Battle Plan for Assessments

One VAR we know likens print assessments to hand-to-hand combat, explaining that “you have to walk the premises and get to know what’s on the network and what’s [not].”

The trick is figuring out the rules of engagement. It may not be entirely accurate to characterize new prospects as the “enemy,” but they can still put up a fight rather than let managed service providers gather information that could ultimately reduce printing costs and management headaches. A thorough assessment can also find ways to actually reduce the number of printers, copiers, fax machines and scanners the prospect owns. That results in lower capital costs for hardware and lower operating expenses resulting from smaller utility bills.

But many customers still don’t see it that way. They may not have a clear idea of how much money they’re spending on the whole print environment, but even so they get squeamish about letting an outsider into their inner sanctum to perform a reliable analysis. The most common fear I hear is that the assessor will use the inside information as a tool for selling more gear not for solving the client’s business problems.

There’s a lot of VARs and MSPs can do to overcome assessment reticence—the simplest option being to just completely avoid the topic, at first. Rather, offer to set up a managed print pilot on one printer—no strings attached—and after a reasonable period use the resulting pricing and efficiency data to justify a larger rollout.

That alone may build the requisite trust for a full assessment. And if it doesn’t? You’ll likely get something just as valuable from the experience—the knowledge that other prospects may be more deserving of your time and attention.

What are your tricks of the trade for getting an inside look at a prospect’s environment?