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Monday, March 8, 2010

An Interview From Adventures in Office Imaging

Yup! More self-promotion.

Nathan and I have been exchanging insight and views for a year or so now - good peeps over there or...over here.

Last month he interviewed me as a MPS Provider and as a MPS contributor.

So with his permission, I am reposting here.

MPS Providers interview #4: DOTC1:1
6pm - Feb 19, 2010

AIOI: What company do you work for?

DOTC: Death Of The Copier - one of the premier niche publications in the world.

AIOI: How many employees does your company have?

DOTC: We currently employ millions.

AIOI: How do you personally define Managed Print Services?

DOTC: Anything and everything the person on the other side of the desk says that it is.

AIOI: How long have you been involved with Managed Print Services?

DOTC: Its not the age, its the mileage. Let's just say, I have been in MPS longer than Staples has.

AIOI: What benefits does your MPS program offer your customers?

DOTC: We at DOTC try to tell it like it is, we may not always be correct, but we don't care.

Also, most people in our industry/niche are some of the most dynamic and fun folks to work with or be around - so why can't we show this off to those outside the industry?

Do we really need to be so...bland?

Copier nerds? Yes! Toner-dudes? Of course! MPS Geeks? Sure, why not? Belly up and share some stories.

In addition to the blog, we assist dealers, new MPS practices and individual Selling Professionals in "translating the corporate dogma" being spewed from consultants and the "big boys". We boil down or negate the propaganda, for the Selling Professional.

The Death Of The Copier, currently, has no "sponsor" - I don't advertise or engage Infotrends, so it is unlikely that you will ever see, "DOTC" in the upper right Quadrant. So, I can afford to be a rogue, a provocateur as you will. Suits me just fine.

AIOI: What are some of your major successes?

DOTC: Ok, now we get serious.

I have had the honor to advise an MPS selling team at a dealership, somewhere in the south - this client, who shall remain nameless, engaged me (yes, a check was made out to "The Death of the Copier) to simply "talk" about my successes and my failures in MPS - he wanted to get a real, from the trenches, no bullsh*t view of MPS. He had been a paying customer for some of the more well known copier consultants.

After talking for a couple of weeks, we moved to 1:1's with the selling staff.

Here's where the success comes in, during one discussion, I was able to pontificate and advise this selling professional on one specific account. I told them what I would do in that situation.

Well, I'll be damned if they didn't take my advice, say what I said to say in the way I said to say it, resulting in a close, a sale. I was stunned, flabbergasted, proud.

To me, this is the greatest success in the world. I know now how the consultants must feel or at least had felt back in the beginning.

It is weirdly fulfilling to have somebody take your advice and see results in the form of dollars, because they did what you recommended.

AIOI: What separates your MPS program from your competitors?

DOTC: In many ways, I have few, if any, competitors.

My uniqueness is my history: I started selling B2B solutions, accounting systems, back when the AT was still a viable device, when Epson 24-pins where all the rage and connected via parallel ports. I was in that niche for nearly 7-8 years.

I have sold uniforms, excuse me, I mean, Corporate Identity Programs and AFLAC insurance, excuse me again, I mean, pre-tax, self-funded employee benefit programs; again, all B2B.

Add to this my stints in the Office Equipment Industry, sprinkle in a little, Detroit smart-ass and viola!

In the end, my true "competitor" is Time.

MPS Providers interview #3: Greg Walters
1:10pm - Feb 19, 2010

AIOI: What company do you work for?

Greg: SIGMAnet - one of the larger, west coast IT services provider.

AIOI: How many employees does your company have?

Greg: We currently employ 100+

AIOI: How do you personally define Managed Print Services?

Greg: MPS is any process designed and implemented to reduce costs associated with moving, creating, storing and presenting information.

AIOI: How long have you been involved with Managed Print Services?

Greg: Technically since 2007. But I have been in the copier industry since 1999. Starting with Oce, through Panasonic and finally served three years at IKON. Going way back, I started working with clients in 1989, Selling B2B accounting software(AccPac, Timberline, Great Plains, Solomon, etc.)

AIOI: What benefits does your MPS program offer your customers?

Greg: My MPS Engagements bring all the benefits associated with Stage 1 and 2 of the MPS process.

We are fairly deep into a partnership with our distributor when sourcing and fulfilling supplies. I have a team of technicians and we specifically work with "HP houses", which are not that difficult to find.

We are certified up to Edgeline and we run all of our MPS on CPI agreements; B/W we typically sell at 0.0120. Not the cheapest, but we aren't the cheapest and all our supplies are OEM.

Additionally, I can work directly with IT for all their needs - from servers to storage to staffing. This is a major competitive advantage when working with IT-types- I have people who speak their language. What is more intriguing, even if I never engage a MPS client for their traditional, IT needs, the simple reason that I CAN gives me instant credibility.

Also, we are not afraid to work with any manufacturer, vendor or dealer. For example, when one of my client's true, output requirements(as determined by me) dictated a machine that I would not supply, my Partnership with the client allowed me to manage spec'ing the unit, and managing the RFP process.

I worked the copier guy.

An interesting spin, wouldn't you say?

AIOI: What are some of your major successes?

Greg: Successes are all over the board - I have saved a company $1,000.00 per month, not that much, but 12k to this small business was greatly appreciated.

I am currently 12 months into a 36 month project, we have currently reduced their hard cost by $500,000.00; my replacement ratio right now is 1:5, for every machine I place, I remove 5 other devices.

I have advised prospect and client alike on the ways of copier leases - sometimes resulting in a new equipment placement, sometimes not.

As a result of our assessment, I have helped many clients evaluate and re-align their oversight and internal accounts payable process.

AIOI: What separates your MPS program from your competitors?

Greg: This goes back to the IT Services - when I walk through the door, I am not a copier dealer, I am not a toner supplier, I am not simply a laser printer service company, to the prospect I can be much, much more.
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