Taking The First Step in Managed Print

Cycle Two: The First 100 Days – A Managed Print Playbook

A very successful managed print service provider in the Northeast, who for years was a traditional solution provider, remembers making almost 30 percent margins on hardware alone. No longer.

He added a managed print service in 2009. "If we didn’t, we might not be here today," he says.

Just how successful did this particular managed print service provider become in a year? To give some idea, here are his 2010 goals:

* 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

How did this managed print service provider grow his business so quickly? What can we learn from his first 100 days as a managed print service provider?

One major takeaway: 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," this managed print service provider recalls.

This is not as easy as it sounds. It's difficult to pull back from a customer lead after committing sales and marketing resources, and often engineering time, to trying to close a managed print deal, he says. How that decision is finally made has everything to do with communication between sales and management, and this particular managed print service provider credits his organizational philosophy with helping to foster that communication.

"As an organization we must get aligned and communicate," he explains. "And our philosophy is 1 percent vision, 99 percent alignment."

One tactic that worked to stimulate managed print conversations with customers, and close managed print deals, was to make it a point to share a list of core organizational values with managed print prospects. This particular managed print provider sat down with his team and created a list of core organizational values and called it "What we believe in, and how we behave." (see list below)

 1. Think and learn

 2. Have a passion for our business

 3. Fun - Have it

 4. Work as a team, be a family

 5. Deliver

 6. Be determined

 7. Be humble

 8. Operate with integrity

 9. Respect each other

10. Do more with less

The result of taking this list along on sales calls and leaving it behind was unexpected, the managed print provider said.

"We decided to just put it into every sales presentation, and we'd print it and leave it behind," he recalls. "And what we found was that customers would start quizzing us on it, and it opened up a whole wide conversation that we used to sell managed print, without really selling the service all by itself."

Don't be afraid to ask your vendor for as much help as you can get, he advises, adding that as a Xerox managed print service provider and member of Xerox's Peak Partner program, he's been able to get marketing and sales support that has been consistent with his organization’s own established values, and "no different than our business," he says.

Xerox Peak Partners get immediate access to sales, marketing and training support that can get your new managed services business profitable sooner, instead of later. And if you already deliver some form of managed print or leasing service, the Xerox PagePack 3.0 managed print platform can help increase your revenue and give you more reach into customers’ print networks to help lower costs and increase efficiency.

"We invite any solution provider or managed services provider to give us a call, and we will answer any question they may have about the Xerox managed print formula," says Tom Gall, director of value channel marketing for Xerox. "There's a huge managed print opportunity out there right now that's practically untapped, and we want partners to lead the way."

Right now, about a year into his managed print service business, the managed print provider we've been highlighting has added a full-time marketer to his staff, at a salary of about $30,000 a year. Within four days of having the marketer on board "$12,000 a quarter in MDF appeared, up from $5,000 a quarter," he said, adding that a marketing investment is good business for any fledgling managed print service provider.

These efforts-and knowing who the customer is and who the customer is not-quickly took this managed print provider to a level where his customer base now consists of state and local education clients, Native American gaming operations, and a large number of small and medium-size businesses.

His advice to those considering managed print services: "Absolutely a great business to be in."

Be sure to check the Business Transformation program Guide for past Business Transformation Studies and upcoming topics.

Next, close inspection of successful managed print businesses. Watch for the next Business Transformation Studies in our series: Managed Print: Real-World Insight, and Feedback

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