New to Copier Sales: What’s This Thing Called Managed Print Services?

Once, long ago, “managed print services” (MPS) was considered an outlier, something in which only the fringe of our industry would participate. Today, you’ll see an MPS offering on every website and run into clients who know all about the various programs. What’s more, the realm is chock full of managed print content and training sessions, so for now I’ll just give an elementary description of today’s managed print services sales.

Let’s start with a quick definition of managed print services from the Managed Print Services Association: “The active management and optimization of business processes related to documents and information, including input and output devices.”

That’s a big phrase for a new copier sales person. At the basic level, MPS comes down to helping your clients manage the hardware, service and supplies of all their copiers and printers. There can be much more to MPS than simply delivering toner. More advanced MPS programs can include advance capture, document management and business process optimization — subjects to be considered down the road.

For example, much like a standard copier service agreement, with MPS your client would engage with your company to provide all the toner, supplies and service calls for a set of output devices. In exchange, your company receives payment. Typically, these payments are billed monthly and at a “per click” rate; your client receives the supplies needed and can call your company anytime a device requires service. The benefits range from cost savings and convenience to workflow optimization.

Like anything else, there’s a process to selling MPS. I can’t speak for every program, but I’ll outline foundational steps involved with proposing and selling MPS. Each MPS engagement includes three basic stages: an assessment, a recommendation and implementation.

Assessment

Learn as much as you can about the existing print environment:

Make physical observations — floorplan and catalog all relevant device information.

Utilize a data collection agent — install your data collection software as soon as possible, preferably before your first appointment.

Financials — collect invoices, leases and all relevant financial information for a minimum of 12 months.

Recommendation

Utilize your observations and expertise.

Current cost — consider hard costs, purchase cost, service calls, monthly toner spend, monthly usage, lease, and buyout and removal costs.

Recommend a configuration — what devices do you recommend to have removed or kept, and recommend any new installs with location and volume flows.

Cost impact — the difference between your recommended investment and your client’s current cost.

Implementation

Lead an organized transformation.

Create a statement of work ­— outline the delivery and implementation schedule and set expectations.

Figure out schedules, moves, ads, deletes — plan the deliveries and coordinate things like removals, first invoice date, beginning meter reads, support contact information, etc.

Offer on-going or proactive management — utilize monitoring software for proactive supplies delivery, collecting meter reads and support of periodic business reviews.

Managed print services was, at one point, a unique offering. Today, it often takes a back seat to managed IT services, which I discuss in this blog.  Regardless, there is plenty of opportunity with MPS. You should have knowledge of the practice and look to enhance your down-the-street copier business by exploring managed print services with each prospect and customer.

Good luck, and good selling.

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Greg Walters

Greg Walters

is an entrepreneur and founder of the notorious destination site TheDeathOfTheCopier, where he comments on all things imaging, the rise of managed services and the advance of business technology. A prolific writer and frequent speaker, Greg shares his passionate, unique – and often provocative – view of technology and people, addressing the impact of digital on 21st century business. His 2014 book, Death Of The Copier, offers a controversial summary of the early days of Managed Print Services and the not-so-distant future of the hard copy industry. Reach out to Greg at greg@grwalters.com.