Monday, July 11, 2011

Managed print Services - The Future and Current Challenge: From the Board Room to The Street, It ain't happening...


The MpS train is well down the tracks, the ship has left the dock, Jupiter 1 is Jupiter 2.

Clicks are being captured, fleets of single function devices automatically fed and cared for - maybe even ripped and replaced - I wonder.

The MpS ecosystem is in balance, the OEM's are playing nice, they know their place in the world, the channel(s) all have well established, bench marked agnostic and profitable MpS programs.

Well, that's the rumor.

My network of friends and colleagues expand from RiKON to Xerox, HP to LexMark and the wave is reporting a disconnect.

A 'white space' between the yearly shows, 12 week/12 step MpS mentoring (my DOTC mentoring program will be simply 10.5 weeks and include sessions in front of a refrigerator, but I digress), corporate sponsored MpS training programs and You. We go to class, and forget everything three steps out the door.

More troubling, we buy into the vision, understand ourselves, recognize a great future only to arrive back in the office face to face with the Sales Manager's funnel report, or marketing's latest telemarketing talk track.

"How many contracts you going to write this month?"
"What accounts are up for renewal? "
"Do you have your elevator speech memorized?"  Poof!

It is the old wound.

Do you still demo copiers or devices?

How many of us sat in on training sessions that were nothing but rolling product commercials?

Or the solution selling training around a piece of hardware?  You remember, "add an ROI by reducing the monthly payment..." etc. etc.  Circa 1999, 1984, 1975...just like back then, retention is difficult and post training support non-existent.

Its worse - there isn't any real motivation to maintain.  Your management, your ownership, is in survival not visionary mode.

Do not let them fool you - they are.

I have seen just about every, single Managed print Services program out there; been given the up-skirt view, as it were...from Encompass to PagePack, MDS(Ricoh) to...well, MDS(Canon).

They're all good.  Well thought out.  White boarded to detail and not reaching potential.

Here's the opportunity:

I hear from OPS, Canon, Oce, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Ikon, Indy dealers from all over North American.  New York, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Iowa, Oregon, and Canada.

Even though MpS is established and  'mainstream for smart people', all the great slide shows and nifty programs aren't getting to the field. The message is garbled,  complicated and ignored.

It comes back to the same old mantra, "MpS is different" - so how can we expect the same training, and support models of yesteryear to provide an ROI in today's increasingly sophisticated and accelerating business environment?

We can't.

I was NOT a big fan of all those long term MpS 'mentoring' programs just a year ago. It wasn't that I was resistant to the framework or mechanics of those program types, I was repulsed by the content.

The Content sucked then, but change has come to MpS.  Real TRANSFORMATION is out here.

I point to the recently announced chaMPS program, the ever oscillating program that is PagePack and the mythical, over-the-horizon, OPS/Printillegent HP MPS Channel.

PagePack has a 12 week mentor program.

chaMPS has a long term program to assist in dealer transformation.

HP WILL have a Printillegent-Like hybrid program.

Neither is perfect, each progressing, but the bulk of responsibility for success rests squarely in the hands of the participants in each program.

It doesn't matter if co-op or MDF pays for the program, the commitment kicks in after the class and once your organization fully commits.  Sound familiar?

"Change or Die." - again.  For the dealer channels as well as the individual, MpS Selling professional - Power is coming down to you, to us the individuals. The world and market is moving from a "Push" marketing to a "Pull" leverage.  More on that later

I suggest now is the time to really commit to one of these programs - which ever one fits your world, now is the time.

Points to consider-

For the Dealer:

  1. Rethink everything
  2. Consider cutting overhead.  Get lean(er)
  3. Commit, commit, commit
  4. Pay all your reps the same way

For you, real live, customer facing folks:

  1. Rethink everything
  2. Consider cutting overhead.  Get Smarter.
  3. Commit, commit, commit
  4. Acknowledge that EVERYBODY in your organization works FOR YOU. 
Your boss, the owner, your OEM and their rep., your distributors all have an agenda and plan.  As a matter of fact EVERYBODY has a plan.   Even the Robinson's Lost In Space had a plan - you should too - Its Your Ship.

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