Monday, June 13, 2016

Managed print Services Assessment Software: The 'Tinder' of Imaging

Do relationships ever start face to face?

Not such an odd question, considering the low barriers to entry provided by today's social networks.  

Indeed, relative to a decade past, the platforms available for connecting - Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Match, the scandalous Ashley Madison, even LinkedIn - is ever-expanding. 

Barcode scanners made check out faster, today's 'dating' apps get more people hooked up, quicker.

These tools suck the 'art' out of the introduction, pairings are built on the assessment of a witty sentence and attractive photo. We've commoditized the foundational stages of relationship building.  I can't help but wonder if this results in hollow, unfulfilling, short-term espousals.

Similar to personal relationships, print services engagements begin with an introduction and assessment. The success of every managed print service agreement depends on correctly assessing the current state.

Before Tinder, there was...

In the beginning, around 2007, the MpS tool-set ignored assessment functionality so MpS practitioners created individual tools and processes to accomplish three primary data points: cost acquisition, usage history, and physical location. Clipboards, graph paper, color sticky-dots, and calculators were the kit of the time.

As MpS expanded, so too, did our tools.  

The data collection agents, like PrintAudit, PrintFleet, and Webjet Admin, added more capabilities. Toner management companies like Supplies Network, LMI, and Clover, created managed print services programs and attached algorithmic analysis, simulating precognitive skills for supply orders.

Years marched on. 

In an effort to accelerate MpS opportunities through the selling cycle, the toolset mushroomed from data acquisition to automated analysis, pricing, and proposal generation.  MpS specialists simply load software on a prospect's network and in minutes, a full proposal, with maps, is produced.  

Often, the tools are pitched as a 'no brainer.

But you have a brain, don't you?  

So what to do?  Stop dating altogether, just because the landscape rests under a digital haze?


I recommend three steps:
  1. Get back to basics
  2. Do not engage technology for technology's sake.
  3. Don't let them scare you.
The relationship is everything and in MpS, it is easy to forget about the human touch and let your software tools take over. So imagine you do not have a piece of software installed(DCA). What would you do? How would you determine existing costs, number of units, number of users, and geographic location? 

You would ASK and record the answers on a piece of paper.  Just like the olden days, when a man saw a woman he was attracted to, he would simply engage in conversation and ask her for her phone number(digits).  It was that simple.

Just because we can, doesn't mean we should...
We all love technology, right? But just because we can watch movies on our phone, doesn't mean we do.  Just because end-uses think it would be nice to print from a tablet, doesn't mean they do.  And even though we can generate huge proposals with reams of data, dozens of graphs, and thousands of words, doesn't mean we should.

Three slides. Two-page proposal. One-page agreement.

No fear...
In the old days, it took guts to approach a stranger, establish quick rapport and ask for a dance.

Today, in MpS, it takes moxie to buck your internal systems when performing assessments and engage your prospects as colleagues, not masters.  Utilize the tools, just don't use them as a crutch.

Have no fear, you know everything you need to know without print Big Data, or complicated TCO algorithms.

You're inquisitive, experiential, like talking to people, and a passionate problem solver, aren't you? At your core, one reason - the only reason - you're in sales is the joy of being accepted for creating something special for your clients.  

Think about it.  

Beyond the "Put That Coffee Down" bullshit, I'd venture you feel the thrill every time a prospect turns into a customer.  For you, it isn't conquering, it's sharing.

So why be tethered to an overbearing hunk of software?  Why use tools that demand hours of training and spit out reams of numerical gobbledygook?

Make it simple, get back to basics, hone, and use the tool between your ears.

Read, from 2008.  The single most important tool in Managed print Services.

Find Your Way.

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