Saturday, June 27, 2009

Managed Print Services Appointment - Another Ticked Off Konica/Minolta Client:Leasing and "Integrity"



It's sounding like a broken record, she wasn't upset with the service, the response time or even the performance of her eight Konica Minolta copiers.

I mean, the organization generates 179,000 images a month, why wouldn't they have FOUR, FULL BLOWN 1050'S? Right?

And of course, 36 months into this 60 month, why WOULDN'T the K/M rep come in to upgrade to "bigger, better, faster..." for less?

What?

You think this is wrong?

It's a little gift from Mother Nature.


I had a first appointment with a prospective MPS Engagement the other day.

Our primary contact was kind enough to send her current spend and three active proposals - all on one spreadsheet. The more perceptive of you will no doubt see the red flags associated with a prospect dumping this data prior to a first appointment.

It ended up better than I had expected. Although, I do not believe we will sell them anything more than a few small machines over the next 18 months.

Try explaining an 18 month cycle to your sales manager.

The Basic Problems - "This is like Deja Vu all over again."

There are nearly 100 employees in this organization and I expected her to say that they owned 90 plus desktop printers - instead, they have 9. So, that's eight copiers and nine "laser" based desktop units for around 100 users. Very good.

Also, as is my style, I challenged her on some of her internal findings which she quickly and assertively defended - not out of insecurity but because she knew them to be truth. It was obvious that the copier dealers hadn't questioned her findings - they ignored them all together.

Ok, that's TWO in the "plus" column, her stock was rising.

And then the clincher - the lease has two years remaining, these "copier guys are...ripping me off...and I don't know what to do about it". She wants to get out of her lease(impossible), she wants to combine the service volume on all the machines into one invoice(pool volume) and she believes that she does not need so many 1050's(Duh).

And to add insult to injury, she shopped out their existing equipment configurations as if she was engaging today, discovering she is paying double what they "should be paying"(times where different 3 years ago when the lease was initiated)

By now, everyone could she the huge chip on her shoulder, even her.

To make things more interesting, I asked her how it went when she presented all this to Konica/Minolta. Yeah, I know, it's like taking a stick and poking her with it - it's fun and sent her off.

An almost audible 'Click' goes off in my mind. Three check marks in the good column. I decided I could work with her.

So we sold nothing.

For the next 45 minutes we discussed the Konica Minolta lease. Because she didn't have her copy handy, I pulled out my copy.(Yes, I have copies of almost everyone's lease) and we reviewed together.

We outline the termination process - "...you mean to tell me when the lease termination date is reached, the lease doesn't really end?", she said, "My rep never told me this. As a matter of fact when I was asking her and her boss questions about being oversold and their unwillingness to work with me, he said I had just questioned his integrity! Which is improbable, I doubt he has any to question." 


Ouch.

I was considering poking her again with that same stick but decided against it. A mans got to know his limitations.

When we landed on the subject of pooled volume, her attention piqued. You see, she has a minimum on the 1050s that is never reached and minimums on each of the smaller(750's)that they are always over. So if K/M were to put the entire fleet under one min and a single agreement, there would only be one invoice, no overages and a slightly happier client.

My prospect could only hope, but hope is not a plan, is it?

We instructed her on what to negotiate for, who to negotiate with over what.(Service Manager for service, Sales director for lease) and to always line out whatever you do not like. Again, this point was illustrated with copies of some service agreements, showing bright, red lines through blocks of text.

This is not the first time I have had to do this - in this month alone, I have tutored 3 separate clients with three different copier manufactures in the Dark Art of lease and S.A. negotiation.

The Take Aways -

This is a classic example of the kind of sales activity that will drive copier dealers banana's, make sales managers question your talent and ultimately gain you LIFE LONG clients.

We didn't engage around lease payments, volume levels, CPC, CPI or SLA's. Our discussion, and make no mistake, this was a discussion, revolved around solving problems - the benefits of one simple invoice, the reason to move from capital expenditures to operational, customer service beyond the one hour response time and especially how a lease should be a lease, not a customer retention device.

And especially. When a copier Vendor's(or anyone's) only move is to argue his "integrity" - put down the pen, point at him, and laugh in his face.
---------

Side Note:

It seems lately that I have slammed copier sales people. I know plenty of really good copier guys/ladies; people who sell openly and upfront, who don't present anything more than what they are. They are professional and committed to helping their customers.

I do not dislike copier people, I like them. 


Which is why it is important to point out the bad apples and terrible practices - they make my job so much more difficult.

The bad ones erode the already small amount of trust in the world today- we must confront them, when they are on the other side of an RFP or on the other side of a cubicle wall - fight them.

Check out these:


Again With The "Leasing"! Enough!



Leasing Your MFP Fleet -



"Beware of DLL, a business nightmare..."



Bad Experiences with Leasing - Toshiba, IKON, Canon, Saxon



Leasing Copiers/Output Devices - UnMasked, Revealed, Cracked Open - EXPOSED

Click to email me.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Immelt Opposed to Separation from GE Capital


Jun 23, 2009

General Electric opposes any regulation that would force it to split off from GE Capital, its finance business, CEO Jeffery Immelt said in a memo to employees according to Reuters.


Some investors and analysts said the Obama administration’s proposed restructuring of the nation’s financial regulatory system could force GE to sell or exit its GE Capital unit, which has businesses ranging from leasing commercial aircraft to investing in real estate.

“One proposal in particular, pertaining to the separation of banking and commerce, has led to some media speculation that, if enacted, could require the separation of GE and GE Capital,” Immelt said in the memo.

“It is very early in the process, and Congress will now spend months reviewing and drafting legislation. We are certainly opposed to it, since this issue had nothing to do with the financial crisis,” he wrote, according to Reuters. “GE is and will remain committed to GE Capital and we like our strategy.”

The company is already trying to scale back its GE Capital unit, which accounted for half of the conglomerate’s profit in 2007. Immelt has said he plans to downsize the unit so GE would rely on it for just 30 percent of earnings.
------

DOTC - Why is this important?

GE Capital finances a huge percentage of office equipment leases - you probably have many customers working with them already.

This could be big for those of us who offer leasing.

Farah and MJ



She adorned hundreds of thousands of bedroom walls...made the case for straight, white teeth.

Goodbye.


And also, Michael Jackson too...





Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Get Your Head Out the Managed Print Services Clouds: Let's Sing Together, "Why Can't You Fix My Printer?"

"...made a call to the printer repair shop, said we had a guy out on the road...pulled up in an old rusty van..."

Well, I guess this means Managed Print Services has really hit mainstream - somebody wrote a song about it.

Nathan Dube wrote and performed this little ditty - and it ain't too shabby - it's rather good.


I like the snappy beat, and appreciate the fact that the song is not "branded".

Check out the post here.

To listen to the song, go here


Enjoy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Let's Talk About TWITTER - Managed Print Services and Copiers

June, 2009

I have no idea how it all started.

I suspect it was Jim Lyons and his insidious first "Tweet" list on his blog that did it.

I immediately downloaded the software and started listening/reading to thousands tell me what they had for breakfast - all over the world.

Now I ain't the smartest bulb in the shed, but I soon recognized how I could generate some traffic to some older posts of mine by Tweeting.

That was the just the beginning. Oh what a difference a few months make.

I admit, I really had no idea what in the world of Twitter was all about, and I still try to get my head around it - in a nutshell, it's like everything else today - a new way to self-promote and send communiques into the 'verse, like messages in a bottle.

But - and there is always a but - this time, it's different. One can filter out the noise and most importantly, one's self promotion must be carried on 140 characters or less.

This is the challenge.

Putting your deepest and most profound thoughts and ideas in 140 characters or less demands RELEVANCE, actual thought - hence the fact that so many tell the world what was for lunch or how hungover they are.

"Copiers" -

With one of the many Twitter "add-ons", this one called TweetDeck, I can see all Tweets that contain the word "copier". I didn't expect much.

The Tweets that filter through can be hilarious commentary on the world of business from the trenches, I mean, can there be anymore of a "trench" than standing next to or in front of a copier?

There are Tweets from end users, copier sales people, owners trying to sell their copiers or get out of their copier lease. But mostly, and this is the funny thing, most end users are complaining about the copier, the copier salesperson, copier training, and the copier service technician - you quickly realize that 140 characters is often more than enough room to get their point across.


"...How do I break the copier EVERY TIME I use it? I can write HTML code but can't work an all-in-one copy/fax machine. Wonderful..."


"...Muzzles should be a legit work expense. Manic women beseeching Jesus in front of the copier do not a healthy work environment make..."

"...RT @joshuaokc: I walked into the restroom at our restaurant, and there's a waiter making copies on a copier. That's a first! #fb..."


"...small commission...no appointments and its raining....hmmm what's a copier rep t do?????"


And there are Tweets in French, complaining about the copier too.(I think)

Ok- so why should you and I even care what people are saying about their copiers and the people associated with them?

Because we impact what they do and they tell people how they feel about that impact.

I know this is high-level, holistic mumble jumble - and it's true.

Every time you or I walk in and present an approach, and talk with end users, guess what...as soon as you leave their area, they just may be making you "famous" in Twit-ville.

Silver Lining -

Not only can you see a general and non-scientific, real time, study of copier related feelings - one can keep in touch with a close collection of MPS "team members". Your leasing rep, your distributor, and manufacturer - MPS Thought Leaders (ahem) - all Tweeting from their BBerry's.

Instant touch-

I am sure there is and will be more to it than this - for instance, tomorrow HP IPG is announcing something "big" - live Tweets will accompany the live feed - so I we will get the announcement and reaction to it, almost instantaneously, even when I will be on another MPS Odyssey...

Tweet on ...

Friday, June 19, 2009

This Just in: HP IPG to make "platform" announcement Monday

I have no idea what this means, if anything and I wonder if I will be reviewing ColorQube-like specifications after the announcement on Monday, the 22 at 9am PST

Sign-up here to follow the "years biggest" on Twitter.



VJ is going to be doing the announcing - A Tweet from @HP_IPG -

"Join VJ, head of HP IPG, & execs from HUGE NAME partners on 6/22 for one of HP’s BIGGEST anncnts this year! #HPreveal"

HUGE NAME partners

Xerox?

Canon? Ricoh/IKON/Konica - no Google.

This may have nothing to do with new printing devices - it is probably some sort of printing "from the cloud" thing. Google is going to be there for the announcement, and the only hardware they make are phones - right?



Wednesday, June 17, 2009

HP Edgeline vs. Xerox ColorQube

Here are a couple of videos about each platform.

Interesting stuff - with X pushing this "new technology" via large marketing dollars, Edgeline may benefit from "me too" positioning.

Not the best way to get exposure, but in lieu of any new HP announcements, the only avenue left.

Both have weaknesses; there are some pretty good comparisons out there, like this one from Art.

The marketing edge and "buzz" factor must go to Xerox, today. As a matter of fact, keep an eye on the Big X, with the new product, the PagePack program(s)and their sheer size, they could be...to big to fail...(gag).






Monday, June 15, 2009

Lyra's Senior Analyst Cortney Kasuba Presents 'The Evolution of MPS: A Look Ahead' at Recharger Magazine's 2009 Managed Print Summit

I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Cortney at this year's Lyra Conference in Palm Springs.

She is engaging and will provide some very good information. Information derived from a large pool of data - 100,000 devices.

I recommend checking out this MPS Summit.


Press Release:

Newton, MA (PRWEB) June 15, 2009

Lyra Research announces that Lyra Senior Analyst Cortney Kasuba will present The Evolution of MPS: A Look Ahead, at the 2009 Managed Print Summit, a frontrunner event to Recharger Magazine's World Expo.

The inaugural Managed Print Summit will take place on August 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The summit shines the spotlight on managed print services (MPS) for aftermarket companies.

During her discussion, Kasuba will compare the MPS program offerings of select OEMs, supplies vendors, and channel players, and provide analysis on program strengths and weaknesses. She will also examine MPS implementations in a few select vertical markets. Utilizing real-world installed-base and print-volume data from Lyra's Office Print Monitor (OPM) information service, Kasuba will deliver examples of which verticals are best suited for MPS programs and insight into how MPS vendors can enhance their customer programs to create bottom-line results.

"We value the opportunity to be part of the Recharger's first Managed Print Summit and to share Lyra's analysis of both the more traditional MPS providers and some of the new players," said Kasuba. "We also appreciate the chance to provide the Summit's aftermarket audience with an understanding of the nuances of vertical markets and 'real-world' printing trends to help them create high-impact MPS programs."

Scheduling an Analyst Meeting during the Event -

To schedule an analyst meeting with Ms. Kasuba during the conference, please contact Kasuba at 617-454-2662 or ckasuba(at)lyra.com.

About Office Print Monitor

Lyra's Office Print Monitor information service helps printer and copier vendors track changes regarding where and how hard copy is output. The OPM service also enhances Lyra's coverage of office printing by combining real-world corporate printing data, powered by PrintFleet, with Lyra's strategic analysis, forecast and installed-base data, and detailed hard copy specifications.

Through its relationship with PrintFleet, Lyra has established an ever-expanding panel of hard copy devices that are monitored in real time. The current panel consists of more than 100,000 hard copy devices in nearly 5,000 corporations throughout North America.

OPM includes five components--expert consultation, snapshots of specific corporate printing attributes, in-depth analysis reports of key trends, indexes, and optional client-defined customized data reports.

For more information on this service, please contact Tom Sandock at 617-454-2621 or tsandock(at)lyra.com.

Lyra Research: The Digital Imaging Authority

Lyra Research collaborates with imaging industry decision makers worldwide, enabling clients to strengthen their market position and achieve profitable growth. Lyra's expert analysts and editors help clients devise and implement creative solutions to business challenges, arming them with competitive intelligence, strategic and tactical advice, news and analysis, and market forecasts.

Since 1991, Lyra's custom research and consulting, advisory services, award-winning journals, and innovative events have set the standard for analysis of imaging hardware, consumables, and digital photography markets.

Visit www.lyra.com to learn more about how Lyra can be your strategic business partner.

###

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Managed Print Service Party Has Started: Endless Summer or Summer of Discontent?

Yes, I know - the original quote is "Winter of Discontent" - my apologies to the "Bard"

A post on the "Adventures in Office Imaging" blog by Expert Laser Services piqued my interest because it was about a post on the Photizo blog and related to "MPS Newbies".

While adding the "Adventures..." blog to my roll it struck me, there was a time when I had just 3 blogs on my roll - because they were the only ones talking Managed Print Services - that was just over a year ago.

Today, hundreds if not thousands of us are betting on an Endless Summer.

For better or worse, the MPS party is getting crowded and everyone is trying to dance to the music.

In the past 30 days there have been so many Managed Print Services related announcements my Google New Alerts nearly burnt up.

I'm not going to list out all the announcements, that isn't important.

What is important is how the market is responding - is it?

Are prospects calling you asking you for Managed Print Service advice?

Are they begging for an "Assessment"? No?

Are they still worried about first copy out time?

The buzz has been building since ITex - and now it seems that we(all of us on this side of the desk) have locked and loaded- ready to rock the MPS world.

The way I see it, the current iteration of Managed Print Services began around 2006.

And as much as some say they "...have been doing MPS for 20 years..." the application of asset and life cycle management, work flow analysis, right-sizing and work flow optimization to office output, are recent additions to the original definition of MPS.

The dust is settling. The Second Wave of MPS execution is beginning in earnest.

And still, we struggle.

The BTA is desperately seeking Alpha.

MPS Sales Classes are no doubt filling up.

Have we gotten to the point where the only ones making money in MPS are the "consultants", the "MPS Marketing" firms and the "MPS Sales Training" companies?

When the music stops, who will still have a chair and will the hangover be more then we can bear?




Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Death of the Mouse



We are usually talking about output or presented information - but for every output there is some input.

The Mouse is Dead - Long live the mouse.

Check this out.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Nikkei Sees 40% decrease in combined Profits:Canon, Ricoh, Fuji, Konica Minolta


Profits Fade At Top Copier Makers As Toner Sales Thin

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Japan's four leading precision machinery makers -- Canon Inc. (7751), Ricoh Co. (7752), Fujifilm Holdings Corp. (4901) and Konica Minolta Holdings Inc. (4902) -- are expected to see their combined operating profits sink 40% in fiscal 2009 as sales of toner and other high-margin office supplies languish.

Couple this report with information back in May from Erupoe:

"...British companies selling and leasing Japanese manufactured goods have been forced to up their prices after negative GBP to Euro and Euro to Yen exchange rate trends worsen, forcing­ an ­inc­rea­se in cost prices..."


And...

"Genuine parts?­­­-

The cost price increase inclu­des all genuine parts and toner supplied by the photocopier manufacturers. This means businesses offering leasing of copiers are suddenly seeing substantially increased costs to replace toner and service these devices. Some companies might be tempted to use sub-standard parts and toner to try to keep costs down.

Many of the parts and toners that are not genuine brands are manufactured outside Japan and so do not have the same problems of negative exchange rate trends. These products therefore remain cheap to purchase. However,­ most reputable and reliable photocopier companies would only ever use genuine parts and toner.

Non-genuine parts and toner can not only make the manufacturer's warranty invalid but are often of sub-standard quality meaning that the prints they create are of a poor standard and they may ruin the device or decrease its lifespan.­.."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Managed Print Services Assessments - They Do Not Work, Stop Doing Them

2/2009

My first assessment was for 1,100 units. The next one was for 823. And my third assessment was for 523 devices.

One assessment of just 25 machines took 30 days.

That was over a year ago.

Insanity.

You would think I would have learned.

An early Photizo study revealed that doing an assessment gave you a 50% chance of closing the engagement.

While at the Managed Print Services Conference in San Antonio I agreed with this statistic and mentioned that I closed 50% of the studies/assessments that I performed.

I neglected to say that after no longer doing Assessments, my closing rate went up to 94%.

Intereesting, eh?

With just about everybody pitching MPS and free assessments - one needs to ask how much value can something that is free honestly carry?

And let me tell you this, if I do get into a position to be the "second" one in a deal, I get all the data that the person before me obtained - all of it, the spreadsheet, costs and everything.

So what to do, what to do...

Ask questions, don't do an "assessment".

Take a tour of the complex, don't perform a "survey".

Install your "Supplies Monitoring" software, not your "Data Collection Agent".

Write your findings down and discuss them with your client, in two pages or less; don't let your software generate a stodgy, canned, boilerplate with spreadsheets. Run from PowerPoint.

Use your brain. Use your mind, not a spreadsheet. Present ideas not proposals.

Just my 0.020 worth, but after all, it is my blog.

Sell-On!

The Single Most Important Tool In Managed Print Services




Click to email me.



Saturday, June 6, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tank Man : Remember this?

What are you complaining about today?

What's your beef?

Cold calls got you down?

Your Sales Manager is an idiot?

No RFP's come in today?

Your demo room is a mess and half the machines don't work?

Your technician is trying to sell your clients Gucci knock-offs from the Philippines?

Still looking/waiting for all that "Hope and Change"?

Is there a tank in your way? Two tanks? A column of tanks?

20 years ago, this one event changed China forever. In theory, Communism combined with Capitalism should be like the old "matter vs anti-matter" argument, the two should implode.

Well, it's officially the Land of Bizzaro, because yesterday, a Chinese manufacturer, not even an automobile manufacturer, bought Hummer from the dying "Generous Motors".

My oh my, "...How are the mighty fallen...!"



Check this pic out of Tank Man from street level - YIKES!





I may lose my Chinese readers with this one.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fuji Xerox: to take 2-3 yrs for demand to recover

Reuters -

TOKYO, June 3 (Reuters) - Japan's Fuji Xerox Co said it will take several years for global office equipment demand to return to levels seen before the financial crisis, with the sales outlook for industrial nations particularly murky.

Fuji Xerox, a copier and printer joint venture between Fujifilm Holdings (4901.T) and Xerox Corp (XRX.N), said it plans to focus on growth areas such as digital commercial printing operations to drive sales. Digital commercial printers are used to produce such documents as product manuals and direct mail quickly and in large volume, and are a fast-growing segment of the printer market.


Asked how soon the global office machine market is likely to see a full-fledged recovery in demand, Fuji Xerox President Tadahito Yamamoto said: "My answer is 'still uncertain'.

"In Japan and the United States and Europe it's still difficult to tell. I think it will take another two to three years," Yamamoto said at a meeting with reporters on Wednesday.

Parent Fujifilm expects sales by its document solutions section, which shows Fuji Xerox's performance, to fall 7.2 percent in the year to March 2010 to 1 trillion yen ($10.5 billion).

Yamamoto said Fuji Xerox aims to double its revenues from digital commercial printing operations and document-related outsourcing to 400 billion yen by the year to March 2014.

In document-related outsourcing, Fuji Xerox carries out such tasks as brochure and direct mail design, business letter and invoice printing, and hardware maintenance for companies, schools and governments.

Shares in Fujifilm closed up 2 percent at 2,845 yen, outperforming the Nikkei average .N225, which gained 0.4 percent.

Fuji Xerox is owned 75 percent by Fujifilm and 25 percent by Xerox of the United States. (Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Michael Watson)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Copier Sales People Destroy Managed Print Services Opportunities: Daily

June, 2009 -

It will not matter how many "MPS Training Programs" start scrambling out of the darkness.

Hire all the "MPS Experts" in the world, it won't make a difference.

Get the hottest, newest, collection agent that can generate a highly professional appearing yet canned proposal.

Toshiba, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Samsung, Xerox or Canon MPS training programs are doomed to fail and will result in nothing more than frustration and lost potential.

Why? Because Old dogs abhor change and Dogma flourishes.

I keep going back to this saying, "...at the beginning of the month, we all sell solutions, but in the last week of the month, we move a box..." - the copier dealer/manufacturer sales manager's mantra.

This past week, the last week of the month, I came face to face to face(3 times) with this old, worn out, schlocky, scheme - standing shoulder to shoulder with my clients.

All I could do was shake my head, apologize and supply my clients with "20 Deadly Questions" no copier sales person ever wants to answer - they walked into a sales buzz saw - one rep called for reinforcements from his manager, that was a mistake.

On occasion, I find it best to apologize to clients for wrongs done by others.  I was once told,

"..it may not be your fault, but it sure as heck is your responsibility..."

Think of how a captain is responsible, when his ship runs into an iceberg while he is asleep.

So it is not difficult for me to look my client, my partner, straight in the eye and say, "I am sorry this happened and I will make sure it never occurs again."

This week I needed to apologize twice - with two separate clients - over three unique instances.

Here's the twist, neither me or anyone on my team committed a fault - I was apologizing for the actions of my competitors.

"Have you ever met a copier salesman you liked?"

"What's the difference between a Software salesperson and a Copier salesperson? The copier guy knows he is lying to you."

"Swarmie", "slick", "arrogant", "schiester", "salesy", "pushy", "unprofessional" -

You have heard them all and more.

"Stereotypes". And what's the first rule of stereotypes? Stereotypes are based on fact.

First Client: One of my larger MPS engagements, a three year project. Our(by "our" I mean my client and me) goal in year one is to manage and control the fleet refresh, implement supply management, and save millions.

Our implementation includes continuous, about 3/week, and detailed site surveys and interviews in order to match requirements to a preset list of hardware selections. Simple enough.

Because my list of supported devices is purposely narrow, over the next three years, an occasion will arise where the departmental requirements do not fit my current product line- my client may need a machine that I do not sell.

Interesting conundrum, wouldn't you say? What to do...what to do...? If you go to the true definition of MPS, you already know.

Well, as luck would have it, the opportunity came up, and I needed to make "copier" recommendations. I felt comfortable suggesting brand "C", again, a line I do not carry.

So I specified three optional units, talked with friends in the industry and obtained pricing, my client also made contact with a local sales rep that had been "bird-dogging" this account for years.

They figured it was a good idea to "throw a bone" at the local - I agreed.

What resulted was a classic, end of the month, sales onslaught - worthy of all the "bad rep"we confront every day.

I could only shake my head, laugh and deal with the Delayed Stress that was triggered by brushing up against my past.

The Sales Manager

For whatever reason, the local sales rep felt it necessary to bring in his manager. Ah yes, the infamous "closer".

A summary of this cluster:

Verbal pricing that didn't match the written quote.
The written proposal was a price and data sheet, only.
Non-existent SLA's. Literally, the service agreement is empty; no min, no overage, no response time - nothing. Just a per click charge.

Perceived short-comings are blamed on competitors - non-compliance with HP WJA was blamed on HP, not brand "C's" unwillingness to write plug-ins.

The Close - "Always Be An Idiot"

"...all I need is your initials, here on my proposal, and I can have your new machine delivered by Friday.(end of month) No need to issue us a P.O. - your word and a handshake are good enough for us..."

LOL! This is an actual, real, quote.

Bravo Sierra.

Sure, the sales manager doesn't need a P.O. - he doesn't WANT a P.O. because a P.O. would have T's and C's on it. Generating a P.O. requires some sort of oversight and review - he doesn't want that, he's got a number to hit by month's end.

Listening vs hearing? His concerns over those of the prospects? "Box" over "solution"? And this was the MANAGER.

What "genius" didn't know, because he never asked, is that this particular client had been run over for a decade by brand "X" having Department level users "... initial a quote..." to initiate an order.

Machines had been showing up, at any time, without review for years. No oversight, no review, no compliance or network standards.

The List of 22.

I put together a list of 22 questions for my client to pose to this "crack team of sales people" - a "buzz saw".

No "trick" questions, and not meant to "slam" the competitor, simply points of clarification. Clarification for my client's sake, not brand "C".

The really unfortunate issue, these folks will get the deal.
--------

And because of month-end, I was able to witness ANOTHER assault.

Client Number Two: MPS small engagement, total of 21 devices, three in need of refresh/upgrade.

This little fiasco was a result of both an inattentive vendor, brand "I/R" and a pushy cold call, brand "K/M".

The Cold Call

Weeks after I made contact and installed our remote monitoring software, Brand 'K' walked through my prospects front door.

He was all wound up about his new product OPS and how he could save my prospect "thousands" of dollars by getting rid of the "more costly, laser based MFP's, (HP M4345's) and installing a new, business color "Hub". Yes, his dongle was hanging out as soon as he entered the building. (Put that away!)

My prospect allowed him to look around, ask some questions and prepare an alternative.

The Presentation

Instead of calling or emailing this sales rep felt it appropriate to simply "stop by" to make his presentation. This, I am sure, was is Sales Manager's idea, as he was in tow, and the end of the month was approaching.

The presentation was a disaster.

Simple sheets of paper covered with pricing and options, impossible to decipher. His price, nearly twice as much as mine. His "recommendation", a huge, centrally located, color/b&W MFP, the removal of ONE color and 3 black and white laser printers, and complete indifference to the existing Canon 5075(with 28 months remaining) - he ignored it.

The topper was my client realizing that although the price was twice as much, it included the hardware payment only.

As she pointed out to me on their price sheet,

"...look at this, the service rate is mentioned up here, but they quote the volume based monthly payment at the bottom of the page, in a smaller font..."

I will be darned if that wasn't the truth, I saw it with my own eyes. She did not appreciate the unannounced appointment, she did not like the "heavy handed attempt" to get an order and she was absolutely livid over the "small print" pricing.

The Incumbent

One more sorry aspect of this was the fact that the incumbent, brand "I/R" never contacted their customer(my prospect) to possibly upgrade the three units I did.

When my prospect asked for some attention, the "I/R" rep simply sent over a contract for signature - no phone call, no appointment, no needs analysis - nothing but an 8 page contract waiting for ink.

So, yes - I apologized. Again.

I apologized, no less, for all the bad sales people in the world. All the used car guys, the evening telemarketers, the boiler room bandits, and the smiling real estate sales people. For all the lousy Chase customer service reps, for all the terribly unhappy retail sales people - I apologize, my bad.

Post Script -

I know not all copier sales people are like the ones illustrated here.

But think about it. In this one week, THREE separate, industry leading firms, have been represented by third class, old school, hacks. Some believe that MPS will grow with this type of talent? Really? Honestly?

I do not believe that ANY amount of "MPS Training" can help.

If you are putting together a MPS Practice or looking for a Managed Print Serivices Partner, beware, be very much aware.


Managed Print Services: Six "Need to Know's" from Photizo Group

This is a cut and paste, of an article from the Photizo blog - great stuff.

All points are relevant, especially for all of the "newbs" in the niche.

One point - not only are these arguments based on studies, I have seen evidence of all six, in the field.

Good read.

Six Things You Should Know About Managed Print Services

1. On average, companies save $1M (30% of total hardcopy cost), reduce hardcopy (printer, copier, and MFP) carbon emissions by 60%, and free up 10% of their IT staff who were previously devoted to supporting printers by implementing a Managed Print Services strategy.

Firms of all sizes are seeing significant benefits from implementing an MPS strategy. By outsourcing the entire ‘document production’ process including the hardcopy devices, document workflow strategy, and support services, customers are able to achieve a significant reduction in cost while achieving significant environmental benefits.

Source: The Photizo Group’s analysis of 105 Managed Print Service engagements using pre-and post-MPS engagement data. Justifying MPS Webinar – February 2009


2. Managed Print Services is more than just Cost Per Copy or providing an assessment to right size the fleet. Managed Print Services (MPS) entails the outsourcing of the fleet and document strategy to ensure the customer’s business process optimization goals are met.


In order to do this, an MPS provider must act as a professional services firm which offers multiple services in order to meet the customers requirements. In fact, over 70% of all MPS engagements include all of the following components:

• Vendor returns service call in 2 hours
• Next day service response time
• Understanding color print/copy requirements
• Same day service (4-hr response)
• Device installation
• Help desk services
• Assessment provided for the initial MPS agreement
• End user training
• Parts depot close to user sites
• 24x7 customer service line
• Recommendations on device deployment
• Remote or on-site monitoring of devices

Source: The Photizo Group’s on-going study of Managed Print Service engagements in North America and Western Europe. The firm collects data from over 700 MPS decision makers each year.

3. Managed Print Services is the fastest growing segment of the imaging industry. In fact, the MPS market is growing at a compound annual growth rate of over 25% a year. In fact, the market will reach over $45B annually by 2013. By 2013 Managed Print Services will represent over 35% of the total imaging market and over 35% of all business print devices will be under a Managed Print Services contract.

Source: The Photizo Group’s 2009 MPS Market Size, Share, and Forecast Report.

4. There are three stages which customers go through in the adoption of Managed Print Services.

The first stage is to gain control of the fleet. 29% of all MPS engagements are at this stage. 47% of all MPS engagements are at the second stage, the stage of optimizing the fleet to ensure devices are deployed in the most efficient and effective manner. 23% of all MPS engagements are at the third stage of MPS, enhancing the business process. The third stage is about enhancing business processes by engaging document workflow and document management solutions.

Source: The Photizo Group’s on-going study of Managed Print Service engagements in North America and Western Europe. The firm collects data from over 700 MPS decision makers each year.

5. IT is typically the department responsible for managing the Managed Print Services engagement. In fact, 60% of the time, the IT department manages the MPS engagement.

Source: The Photizo Group’s on-going study of Managed Print Service engagements in North America and Western Europe. The firm collects data from over 700 MPS decision makers each year.

6. Hybrid dealers will dominate the Managed Print Services market. Hybrid dealers are those resellers (both dealers and IT VARs) who have transitioned from a hardware centric business model to a professional services business model based on delivering Managed Print Services. Hybrid dealers and ‘committed’ dealers (dealers who are committed to making this business model transition) make up less than 25% of all resellers and dealers. Fence sitting and ‘testing’ resellers (traditional hardware centric resellers) make up over 75% of all resellers.

The Photizo Group predicts that half of these traditional resellers will be out of business within the next five years as they fail to make the transition to the new business model.

Source: The Photizo Group’s Hybrid Dealer Report (Published January 2009)

The Photizo Group believes that Managed Print Services represents a disruptive business model which will affect all aspects of the value chain, including manufacturers, distribution channels, and other service providers.

Firms that make the transition to a professional services led business model will achieve a significant competitive advantage over firm’s which retain the traditional hardware centric business model. Understanding the evolution of this new business model is critical to all participants in the industry, including end users.

Excerpts from this article may be used as long as the Photizo Group is credited as the source.

The Photizo Group is the leading research and consulting firm in Managed Print Services, and the only research and consulting firm, which derives a majority of its revenue from the Managed Print Services market. The firm provides research, consulting, and market insights to customers, resellers, and manufacturers.

Phone: (859) 873-4518

Web




Monday, June 1, 2009

Goodbye 2008 SIX Months Later - My List of the Best Lists

"Top 10's", "Best of 2008", "Most Memorable" -

There must be 10's of thousands of year end lists.

Here are a few that I like:

The 10 Biggest HP Stories of 2008 ChannelWeb

10 Burning Questions In Print And Imaging ChannelWeb

What I Learned About Selling in 2008 Bryan Neale. Caskey sales training - I haven't attended any of their classes but I have been getting the PodCast since the very beginning - great stuff!

Adieu 2008 Andrew Keen - you don't know him? Check him out.