Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Let's Widen The Scope Of Managed Print Services, Again.

I started my MpS journey back in 2007 - not as early as some, but before most.

Back then, I saw MpS as a bridge into managed services.  In 2008, I proposed my first end-user based billing program.(similar to the current SBB)  We estimated usage based on job description - front office folks printed more than shop floor, HR printed more that general office and Marketing utilized more color.  Pricing was based per job description.

Soon after, I suggested MpS was BPO because including document management software within an MpS agreement seemed a natural.

DOTC espoused end user data, behavior modification and workflow in the early days coining the word "BeMod".  The phrase did not take hold.

I introduced the idea of fully integrated management systems: we should combine device data like usage and supplies history(DCA) with the number of service calls (ServiceNow) for each device and all costs associated with operating each device(E*Automate) displaying these data points on floor plan and adhering to the ITAM model.

I pitched the benefits of 'server-less' printing before it became a thing in the MpS world, recommending partnerships with PrinterLogic.

I pondered the ability to sell everything as a service.  How about coffee and water, commercial HVAC equipment, energy systems or even tele-health? Who best to lead this transformation than those designing and selling managed print services? 

We made the jump from equipment sales to services long ago...right?  Of course, few jumped on the above suggestions (until years later).

Most held on to old fashioned models - scratching out an existence, hoping for that magical merger.  Big dealers got bigger, tripling down on copier sales with outside investment;  they started silo'd, managed services practices.

Some OEMs surrendered.  Lexmark went to China, Xerox went to pieces, HP self-bifurcated.  Ricoh treads, Canon sells cameras, Konica Minolta is gaining, and MpS rolls the stone, resurrected.

Today, how can we widen our scope, yet stay within a safe, low risk zone? What action can we take, that recognizes the move away from paper, without inciting panic and denial?  Medical equipment and energy management were too much.

How about scanning?(Okay, not just scanning)

Studies show copies and prints per device have been falling for a decade or two, I wonder if scans have increased?  I mean in order to transform from paper to digital, there are plenty of paper documents in need of digitization.

Here's my latest recommendation: Embed digital capture into every managed print services engagement you write.(I know, not all THAT revolutionary.)

Today, every business can move into the digital realm at a fraction of the cost.  There are plenty of strong capture and document management programs in the ecosystem - Kofax, DocuWare & Nuance to name a few.  Not everyone needs these high-end systems, but most need something.  

The Benefits

Separate your MpS program from others. The 'down the street' deals address nothing more than cost per page and automatic toner replacement.

Discussing scanning/digitizing is a natural topic within the managed print services engagement, and can help you close more MpS deals.

But how do you get started?

What to look for in a simple solution for your clients:
  • Low cost of entry
  • No SME requirement
  • Basic workflow
  • Proven(globally)

I have the answer; an easy to propose, configure, support, and sell software system.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Advice For New to Copier Sales Reps: Ask More From Your Prospects

In your new world of copiers, training is a big component of the ecosystem — so big it’s like drinking from a fire hydrant. By now you’ve probably come to understand that most of life’s challenges will not be solved with algebra or understanding inheritance and polymorphism — learning how to learn is the best lesson.

So it is now with your new copier position. You may be deft at taking notes, creating flashcards and memorizing basic facts, but I’ve got to tell you, not one prospect is going to establish a relationship if all you know are the paper weights and first-copy-out times for 100 different models.

Unfortunately, your dealer principal and sales manager will demand you know the specifications of every model on the show floor. It’s a tug of war between learning what the “industry” thinks is important and what your prospects see as relevant.

More important than specifications is learning everything possible from every business you visit — no matter the outcome. The first appointment is the time for introductions and getting to know one another; all it takes is 20 minutes to understand how your prospect runs the business and the challenges they face every day. Don’t waste time on your company introduction/value proposition slide deck — YOU are the company

Successful selling professionals utilize the “two ears, one mouth” strategy when getting to know the inner workings of a prospect’s organization. It may sound simple...Read the rest here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Sales Revolution Built On Hope? Careful what you wish for...

The game is changing; but it always has been.  
The way businesses align purchasing is shifting; but it always has been.
New marketing platforms are emerging; but always have been.
Sales is evolving; but always has been.
There is talk of a selling rebellion; but there always has been.

There's chatter about the new selling, the new way businesses are buying and how the sales professionals of today had better change our ways. We've got to multiply our efforts ten fold, continue to cold call and embrace social media.

Today, "Kings", "Cowboys" and "Warriors" populate our little niche and we've got professionals "saving the industry one copier at a time". Worthy, noble and authentic efforts - I'm all for self-branding and rebellion.  I question the focus of our current emotional revolt.

Words mean things -

Revolt: refuse to acknowledge someone or something as having authority
Revolution: a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favor of a new system

So yes, we as a profession, are in the mood for revolt and revolution. It's understood the selling representatives are the Rebels but who are we 'rebelling' against? Who are the bad guys?

Are we taking on the old-school mentality? Assaulting old techniques is one thing, but these are outdated tools, not the root of evil.

Maybe we're rebelling against our prospects and customers - not the brightest idea.

Conducting a revolution against other sales people is self-destructive and most likely a strategy our nemesis relies upon. From the outside, it must look like we're a bunch of self-loathing, never good enough yahoo's running around spewing "transformation, this" and "the new way of that...".

To summarize:
  • Revolting against prospects and clients is not the way.
  • We are not our greatest enemy, we will not self-destruct.
  • The "Evil Empire" is not the past.
Again, who is the enemy?

I know who. If you're a sales trainer, you're not going to like it.  If you're a sales manager, you're not going to like it.  If you're selling anything through a tiered channel, you are not going to like it.  Heck, I don't even like it.

The target of our revolution are those who inflict quotas, false ideals and untrustworthy sales techniques: OEMs, Mega dealers, and vendors of the day are the enemy.
I have moved from certainty to doubt, from devotion to rebellion. 
- Phil Donahue
I am the last one to call for unionization - unions kill - but an organized resistance is the only alternative.  I'm talking about a guild of selling professionals - similar to the Screen Actor's Guild.

So who is in a position to organize contemporary selling professionals?  I have no idea but a great start would be for sales people to think differently:

start selling for yourself
form your own brand
invest in yourself

CAUTION: Rebellions require blood.  The cost of freedom is never free and all revolutions, have casualties.  Who, in this cause, will give all?  Who will create change through sacrifice?

  • Will any of the new sales trainers step up to form The Guild or continue taking money from the establishment?
  • Will mega-dealers change the way reps are paid or continue to support an archaic standard?
  • Will OEMs get rid of their tiered approach?
  • And who in their right mind would join such a movement, let alone LEAD against these most formidable foes?
I don't have the answer to that question.  I can say finding a leader within the Empire(OEM,Trainers, MegaDealers) is at best dubious.  Perhaps an older, wiser Rebel will make their way center stage.

Caution: As a metaphor, in the movie Rogue One, can you recall how many of the small rebel team survived?


Sales Revolution?  What Revolution?

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Why Do We Idolize The Worst Sales Characters, Ever

I've done it, you've seen it.

Heck, you've probably viewed a clip or two during one of your Monday morning sales meetings intended.

I get it.

These Hollywood caricatures display the gumption of legends - cold calling, motivating speeches, wild excesses of the selling life. Success. Power. Influence. Acceptance.

But there's more to the story, isn't there? The movies tell the entire story, but we don't replay those bad bits do we? No manager is going to show Bud's perp-walk in Wall Street. Nobody is getting motivated watching the federal cops pull into the J.T. Marlin parking lot complete with busses and tow trucks(Boiler Room).

And sure as shooting, no one remembers the ending of Glengarry Glen Ross, when Shelly Levene steals those leads.

Consider the following examples:

"Greed is Good"

Major Wall Street player earns millions through purchasing and breaking up family owned companies supported with insider information. Protagonist seduces young upstart anding ends up in prison.
- Wall Street

"Put that coffee down! Coffee is for closers."

Real Estate agents complain about the leads, smart-dressed, hit-man comes in from HQ to deliver a high pressure, all or nothing, speech intended to get sales back on track. Salesman descends into chaos and steals leads.
- Glen Gerry Glenn Ross

"...act as if..."

Sharp dressed, smooth talking broker initiates new employees into the world of shady deals and illegal trading. Cold calling taken to a new low, one scene depicts a broker lying to a prospect, along with a cheering team of cohorts, and bamboozling a victim out of thousands. The movie ends with federal agents storming HQ complete with tow trucks to recover the fleet of ill-gotten automobiles.
- Boiler Room

These stories end in flames, yet sales 'mentors' still run around telling newbies to, "Sell me this pen."
Why do all sales people know "Coffee is for Closers"? Why do we cheer when Vin Diesel lies his way into a sale? Yeah, sure, we'd love to deliver that Alec Baldwin speech, or kill it on the phone like Leonardo DiCaprio. We project ourselves into those situations - understanding the dramatic and sexy scenarios - who wouldn't?


I'll tell you why. Motivating you to sell more, no matter how, is good for the OEMs and ownership. Sure, it feels good to you, right? That feeling is false and manipulative. I get it, we need to sell to feed our families and survive - that's the way the game is set up - and watching a fictitious "selling animals" provides a fleeting moment of entertainment and hours of motivation. But it is propaganda. It isn't real. If it is for you, chances are, it will end badly.

Showing rundown videos of yesterday's demons is just another symptom of the slow to change selling ecosystem. I'm not sure what we should utilize in place of these video's but there must be something; there must be thousands of quick, 30 second video's of new sales consultants spewing nuggets of re-treads.

Change, real change through turbulence, must occur at ALL LEVELS of the ecosystem, not just in the trenches. Selling will become more relevant, consultative and fulfilling after the pillars of the status quo resign to the future and ceasing to show criminals and thieves as selling examples is just the beginning.

Monday, November 12, 2018

New to Copier Sales: Of Likes, Shares and Comments

Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook — so many platforms, so little time. You’ve probably got an account on each of these social networks and more, and they can be great for connecting with family and sharing everyday life. But if you listen to the latest batch of “social selling experts,” the online world is the end of cold calls, face-to-face meetings and selling expertise.

To this, I say “horsepucky.” Google is just like the Yellow Pages, Twitter is the latest party line and LinkedIn is a fancy networking program. It isn’t that these environments aren’t germane — they’re just not the end of everything else. You may not like the online realm and I am not saying you’ve got to get out there — but you do. Online presence is mandatory.

Today, I’m going to focus on LinkedIn from the perspective of the new copier salesperson.

Building your brand

I’ve spent more than 10,000 hours online, read the rest here.