This guest blog was contributed by Jennie Fisher.
There’s a services model sea change going on, and most are either wanting to get there in the future or trying to master it now. While there’s no “easy button” for changing from a hardware-focused business to a service-centric model, there are good reasons to evolve in that direction and better resources today than ever before to make it less painful.According to our GreatAmerica Annual Dealer Study, 59 percent of respondents have implemented an MPS strategy within their business, up about 7 percent from last year. MPS was also hands down the most highly mentioned “most significant opportunity” for the coming year among our dealer respondents. Of those that have not yet implemented MPS, more than 50 percent of them plan to enter the MPS market within the next year or so. But where will they start? And who will help them get there?Many in our industry have embraced Photizo’s Expanded Customer Adoption Model. When looking at Photizo’s four stages – 1) control the print environment, 2) optimize it, 3) enhance it and 4) converge other managed services into the equation – you can see that a different mentality is required of dealers to be successful today. Rather than going in and getting that MFP replaced, dealers have to think more holistically about their customer’s business and engage at a more strategic level. It is also important to consider that in these changing times, businesses must do what they can to protect their market share. Under ideal circumstances when selling MPS, you’d simply go in and refresh a customer’s fleet from the get-go, but with so many other companies calling on your customers (paper companies/toner companies/VARs, etc.), it’s not that simple. It may now make more sense to go in and apply the “land grab” approach before someone else does. But a “land grab” (going in and protecting your relationship with your customer by getting all service and supplies under contract) requires a consultative sell.Teri Dunn, a sales consultant with Print Management Solutions Group, is a big believer in the Photizo four-stage model and helps dealers sell MPS following a process that matches it. “In my opinion, having had experience in MPS since 1999, the model that should be followed is the Photizo four-stage model. Dealers can no longer subscribe to the vision of going in and refreshing equipment right away. All of the economic factors make starting with that first phase so important. Dealers need to understand the customer’s environment – deeply – so that they can actually manage the print – and then do the right thing for the customer in the refresh and optimization stage.”But once dealers get a few customers under service and supplies contracts, they face some challenges. The administration piece can be tough to manage. Once they secure multiple accounts with multiple machines, the mounting number details associated with capturing, collecting and billing the clicks can be overwhelming. When I was talking with Dunn recently, she concurred with this observation.
“Dealers don’t always understand the headaches that can be associated with billing and collecting their service and supplies contracts. As they execute through all four stages of the Photizo model, it’s important for them to have a finance partner that can grow with them from the start. … (Dealers need) a program that can grow with a dealer throughout all of the Photizo stages, ” Dunn said.Outsourcing the things that are not considered their core strength can help dealers get into MPS with fewer frustrations and lower costs. Getting into MPS may not be simple, but it is easier than ever before with the resources now available. From experts in service, customer support, supplies and, of course, leasing, billing and collecting, your MPS success may not be as far away as once thought.
Jennie is responsible for sales, marketing, operations and financial performance for the Office Equipment business unit. She has been involved in lease financing since 1989. Prior to joining GreatAmerica in 1993, Jennie worked for GE Capital. She earned her M.B.A. from the University of Iowa in May 2004.
Posted on 02/06/2012
The opinions expressed throughout this blog are the opinions of the individual author and/or contributor and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other author or contributor, or of The Imaging Channel.
True that! Would love to see a copy of the GAL Dealer study.