Go With What You Know

What’s the low-hanging fruit when it comes to cultivating new managed-print customers? Not surprisingly, it’s often existing VAR customers who are already buying other types of IT technologies and services.

Ongoing relationships are key because there’s already a foundation of trust and familiarity established. And because VARs can use a variation of the messaging that’s worked in the past to promote managed-print services.

One VAR that takes these ideas to heart is SPI Innovations, a Freeland, Mich., provider of desktop hardware and applications, server hardware and applications and patch management and risk mitigation services. When selling the idea of managed print to existing clients, SPI takes basically the same approach it uses for “any SLA-type agreement where we’ve got engineers on site,” says Bill Loiacano, president and CEO. “We say, ‘let us handle your print service [because we] understand your print business model,’” he says. Get more details about Loiacano’s strategy.

But in today’s cautious business climate, even low-hanging fruit can take time to ripen into signed deals. Sales cycles may still stretch into months no matter how close the existing relationship. But with the right contract in place, the legwork pays off. VARs are telling us that managed print can be even more lucrative than other technology contracts thanks to front-end infrastructure upgrades that augment recurring services revenues.

The trick is to not overlook the obvious. New and perhaps bigger companies may appear more attractive at first. But when you factor in the time it takes to get a meeting with the right people and gain their confidence, going with what you know often ends up being a lot more profitable.