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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Is Your Managed Print Services Practice Customer Centric or Process Centric? - Maybe We Should Ask Your Clients.

I know a few of you chuckled when you read the above headline; especially those of us in the trenches, who sell against "no" all the time. 

Not from customers, but from our own internal team.

And by an internal team, I mean those sales managers who no longer sell, the owners/principals who confuse "taking orders" with selling, the inflexible cube rats who didn't read their own mortgage paperwork, the "inside people" who believe registering a client not only guarantees the lowest possible pricing(and 3 point margin)but secures a customer for life - I could go on, but why bother. 

So deep in the forest, we can't see the trees.  Stop. Look around you. Look at what you are doing. Are you furthering a prospect through the funnel, or tracking down toner cartridges to deliver to that church you just landed - fooling yourself into believing that shuttling toner is "customer service" - gag. (Does anyone remember delivering and installing ribbons?) 

Has it become easier to Sell than it is to Process the order?...sound familiar Ikoners, X'boys, HP-er, BTA folks, IT VARs? 

Are you asking simple business questions or analyzing a 120-column spreadsheet? Chaos is commonplace. We endeavor to reign in the chaos by throwing Process at the fray. This is good. We all need processes and procedures to work as well-lubed machines. 

And as much as we apply the process to the Selling environment - quantifying qualifications, next step criteria, determining relevant influences, and navigating the prospect through The Funnel - And as much as there are required steps involved with delivering your service/product, credit application, shipping, space and power, sales forecasts, order entry, pricing, prospecting, etc.

- where is the Tipping Point when Customer-Centric falls victim to Process-Centric?

When is it more important to have the correct paperwork on file versus helping your client process their Pay Roll? And more importantly, why? Look at your most recent MPS opportunity. They can most likely save a grip of money because of their existing, flawed "process" - the process became more important than the result. 

It's the classic Purchasing model. Grinding the price or "cost" down was all that mattered when getting a copier or a fleet of copiers. The process of acquiring the absolute best price overrode real end-user requirements and did not support the organization's, overall business goals. 

Tunnel Vision - In a sport, in which I participate, there is a phenomenon that occurs to all the newbies - "Tunnel Vision". 

Out of fear, stress, and the inability to process more than 12 things at once, the mind and the eyes focus on one, specific, detail. Everything else is in a fog except the one guy you can barely see, you know if you concentrate and FOCUS, taking your time, slowing down, aiming, waiting, willing him to move into your sights, you can eliminate him. 

Wait for it...wait for it...when


Some other player walks out of the fog and puts 5 into your back. 

Welcome to Paintball, and welcome to Tunnel Vision.


  1. You nailed that one!

    Check my blog from time to time:

  2. Did you get this question from the twitter post of the same name yesterday? And honestly anyone who asks this question in a serious fashion needs some schooling (indeed I gota chuckle alright). If you are an MPS provider and your not doing both, your screwed. I really hope there is no one in the industry out out there who is contemplating tipping the scale one way or the other.

    and speaking of paintball, how about introducing "Toner Grenades" eh?

  3. Nathah -

    I think that Tweet was someone Tweeting this article ...

    Toner gernades, eh?

    Interesting...very interesting...

    What prompted this tome was me seeing all this "infrastructure" and "how to" create, build, and profit from a MPS Practice.

    Very little regarding the customer.

    Struck me as interesting...

    thanks for reading, keep coming back...


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