Managed Print Isn't Dead. The Way You're Selling It Might Be.
As a sales professional or dealer principal in the office equipment industry you might have noticed that the times are changing. The unabated rush of technological innovations and their effects on changing customer needs can at times seem a little daunting. More than a few people have even said that Managed Print Services is dead thanks to the ability for customers to procure more things online, a whole new class of practically serviceless multi-function devices and the fact that people just seem to put less value on paper output. If you’ve spent a good portion of your dealer or sales career selling copiers and related services you’ve noticed that customer requirements aren’t what they used to be. That’s the bad news.
Now for the good news: The need for Managed Print and related services is stronger than ever! The requirements for what customers think of as a managed service are more demanding and the toolsets available to help them improve workflow are a much larger part of the equation but managed print is far from dead. The way we used to sell it is what is dead. Here are some considerations that could help you advance your managed print offering and selling techniques:
It’s not about the pages, it’s about customer experience: In the age of the service or package economy, things like pages matter less and less. What matters the most is the customer experience. How did Uber turn the taxi industry upside down? Not by proving their cabs were more superior or by having cupholders in the back seat. Uber simply responded to customers desires for a better experience. Starbucks did the same thing with coffee, and AirBnB did the same for a roof over your head when travelling. What lessons can we learn here? Simple and complicated all at once: Providing for the customer experience in 2018 needs to feel easier and different than it has for the last 20 years. If the customer experience you are delivering isn’t any different than what they are used to, if it doesn’t solve some deeper workflow issues then selling managed print will be tough going. However, if you spend some time working with your customers to learn more about their changing needs then you can work to provide them new and novel ways to fulfill them. The good news is that there are new delivery models for managed print that more closely mirror what customers want in 2018. Have you heard of Seat Based Billing or Device Based Billing? Look them up on Google or by talking with partners to see if they can help you to deliver a more modern customer experience.
Software & solution requirements are evolving: It’s no longer enough to have a Data Collection Agent gathering meters and toner levels. Customers expect “ongoing assessments” and insights on demand. In the world of big data customers are looking for something beyond boring reports and initial assessments. What kind of BI Dashboards can you provide? What kind of printing rules and secure release options do you include in all of your deals? Do you provide quarterly or periodic business reviews that talk about more than just page counts and service level commitments? Perhaps you only provide these things when requested. How about this: You provide them when they are NOT expected? That’s what Uber and Starbucks did. They didn’t follow the pack, they blazed a new path. Deliver the unexpected. At DocAssess we try to do this every single time we do an update to our toolsets. It works.
Monetize documents even if they are never printed: Part of modern print management is to help customers to print fewer pages and to increase the digitization of their workflow. Why let somebody else make money doing this? Why not capture revenues for print adjacencies yourself? Document security, file security, document management, and follow-me printing can all be monetized (ARE being monetized by a lot of people). Providing these services will make you far more revenue than you will ever lose in page declines. Contact us at DocAssess to find out what we can do and the partners we can recommend.
Hopefully you weren’t looking for a silver bullet. There will be some work involved in tweaking your current practice to meet the evolving needs of the modern office. The good news is that you likely have some experience with all of the things talked about. By offering assessments, Business Intelligence, more refined user and document security offerings as standard parts of your managed print offering you will distance yourselves from nearly all of your competitors. Your customers will thank you for it too.
Do you like what you’ve read here or did it inspire some novel thinking? Please be sure to visit The Insider for other useful and inspired content to help bring your managed print practice to new heights.