Managed Print Guru

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Tip of the Day: MPS Baselines

         Once you are finished with the baseline assessment and before you can present your MPS solution, you must have a meeting with the customer to review all the baselines.  Your assessment should include a price baseline, volume baseline, and scope baseline.  During this meeting, you must get signatures from both parties for all 3 key baselines.

1.  Price Baseline – must be approved with signatures by all people involved in the MPS strategy

2.  Volume Baseline – must be approved with signatures by all people involved in the MPS strategy.

3.  Scope Baseline – must be realistic and demonstrates what the assessment and MPS solution is suppose to accomplish and the budget (of time and money) that has been created to achieve these objectives.  It is absolutely imperative that any change to the scope must be signed off by all people involved in the MPS strategy.

If these 3 baselines aren’t signed off on by the MPS provider and the client, you cannot move forward in the MPS process.

Cheers,

MPG

March 31, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MPS Customer Service

After Implementation

            After implementation of your print strategy, as the MPS consultant your job is not done.  You should be ready to continue to offer more benefits and demonstrate that you really are a consultant.  Most reps think it is like a copier sale, get paid and follow-up once a year, NO!   You should be following up quarterly, at least.  During your quarterly or I like to do monthly visits, you should look at short term goals, medium term goals, and long term goals.  MPS is about keeping customers for life and understanding them and having goals is one way to do it. 

Knowledge Base

            Having a customer knowledge base is a must for GREAT customer service. Some things to include in the knowledge base:

  1. Knowledge of all customer applications
  2. Knowledge of all equipment
  3. SLA agreement
  4. Knowledge of customer behavior when issues and changes arise.
  5. Knowledge of long-term goals of the customer (5 year plan)
  6. Knowledge of any equipment that is not under your MPS strategy
  7. Knowledge of peaks and valleys of volume (end of month, tax season)
  8. Birthday list of key contacts within the account   

 

There is a lot of more that should be in your knowledge base, but these were just a few examples.

 

Short Term Goals:  Items that fall under short term goals are making sure customers are satisfied.

  • Make sure SLA agreement is being met.
  • Record customer’s behaviors when issues and changes arise. 

Medium Term Goals:  Items that fall under medium term goals are as followed.

  • Make sure the SLA agreement is being met.
  • Make the objectives in the proposal are being met.  If you showed NPV or IRR or ROI to the customer during the proposal, you illustrate it again.
  • Look at other parts of their business to streamline.  (Faxing, scanning, workflow, etc.)

Long Term Goals:  Items that fall under long term goals are as followed.

  • By now you should have a great relationship with the customer, you can ask for referrals, testimonial, or do a white paper on the account.
  • Make your solution is staying current with the customer’s business plan, mission, and vision.
  • Make sure “Best Practices” are being met.
  • Continue to work on other part of the customer’s business to streamline.

 

The keys to good customer service and a great MPS customer is meeting the customer’s expectations, building a great knowledge base of the customer, meeting with the customer regularly, and having different goal levels.  If you do these keys, your customers should be happy.

 

Cheers,

MPG

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MPS Proposal

MPS Proposal

 

            The first thing MPS consultants must remember is that they are selling a solution not hardware.  You must have a credible proposal to sell your strategy effectively to C-Level Executives.  The main reason a MPS solution dies is the lack of support and sponsorship. You need to paint a compelling portrait and make sure your arguments meet the business needs, mission, and vision of your customer.  Below is a rudimentary outline of how I design MPS proposals.

Executive Summary:  Summarize the current state of the customer and why you are proposing a new solution.

Recommendation:  Get to the point and don’t wait to the end of the proposal for to delivery your  recommedation.  You are not selling hardware.  

 Dialogue:  This is the part of the proposal that must back up your recommendation.  In the dialogue part of the proposal, you must define what the recommendation does cover and doesn’t cover aka scope.  After the scope, you must demonstrate the costs and benefits.  Also, in the discussion part of the proposal, you must illustrate the goals in measurable terms.  Tie your discussion into one or more initiatives the customer is currently striving for.  One example of an initiative every company is trying to meet today is a “green initiative.”  If you can so how your solution will help meet the goals of that initiative, it builds more credibility for your solution. 

 Action Plan:  Conclude your proposal with an action plan to implement your solution.  You suggested action plan should demonstrate to your customer that solution can be implemented and be successful.  

      Your proposal should not be long and elaborate.  It should be crisp and a way to do this is to stay away from technical terms.  Technical terms are good, but using too many can make your audience lose interest.  You must be able to speak terms that the C-Level Executives understand, as well as use examples and quotes from actually employees of the customer to sell your solution.  Using direct quotes from employees that you got during your assessment, you help demonstrate you understand your customer and you are a partner and not just a salesman.  

Cheers,

MPG

March 29, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

IT Directors: MPS consultant’s best friend or worst enemy

             IT directors are smart people.  They know what a subnet is when they see one and if don’t you need to study this post.  IT hates MPS consultants who act like they understand software and networks, but don’t.  IT can smell you coming from a mile away, so make sure you understand how to communicate with IT.  If you don’t know an answer to a question when dealing with IT, please respond with “let me ask an expert and find out and I will get back to you.”  Believe me it can save deals.                                           

Installing a Data Collection Agent is a key to MPS, but you need to understand technical terminology  as well as understand the terminology associated with what ever DCA you like to use.  Here is some terminology you should know no matter what Data Collection Agent (DCA) you use:

Bandwidth: the speed of data transfer.  IT will want to know how much bandwidth the DCA occupies, in terms of a  file transmission and the network scan. 

Network: a group of computers and associated peripherals linked by a communications channel capable of sharing resources, information, and files between many users.

Print Server: a network server that hosts one or more printers for customers to use.

IP (Internet Protocol): The underlying communications protocol on which the Internet is based.  IP provides addressing on a TCP/IP network and allows data to travel across many networks before it reaches its final destination.

IP Range:  a single section of IP addresses.  Example: 160.1.0.1-160.1.0.254

WAN (Wide Area Network): a network which covers a wide geographic area (ie. multiple offices)

LAN (Local Area Network): a network limited to a small geographic area (ie. a single office)

VPN (Virtual Private Network): a method of connecting multiple networks using the Internet.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): uses port 80.  A protocol in the TCP/IP protocol suite that is the backbone for Internet traffic. 

HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure): uses port 443 by default.  Secure protocol for most Internet traffic.

TCP/IP: protocols used by the Internet.

Firewall: software or hardware designed to permit, deny, or limit traffic based on a set of rules of trust.

 SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol):  an application layer protocol that facilitates the exchange of MIB between network devices.

Remember these are just some terms you should know.  In your pitch book, you should have security documentation, tech specification white paper, and the phone number of a software specialist at all time when pitching a DCA.

A Data Collection Agent is a very powerful tool in helping you land MPS clients, but make sure you know what you are talking about when working with IT.  So STUDY STUDY technical terminology.

Cheers,

MPG

March 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sales Tip Of The Day: STAKEHOLDERS

Make sure you identify all stakeholders during MPS.  Below is the definition of a stakeholder; read it and let it sink it in. 

Stakeholders: are persons or organizations (customers, sponsors, public) who are actively involved in the MPS process or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by the final MPS solution.

MAKE sure you identify all stakeholders and keep stakeholders informed during the  whole MPS process because if you don’t, one uninformed stakeholder can be the difference of you winning a MPS deal or losing an MPS deal.

Cheers,

MPG

March 25, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MPS Implementation: Action Plan

Implementation

 

 

            A lot of talk has been about prospecting, selling, assessments, and analysis, but one key that has been left out is Implementation.  MPS Implementation is where all of the consultant’s analysis, assessment, and planning must come together and deliver his or her solution.  A key part of a great implementation is developing a precise action plan.  You cannot be a GREAT MPS company without delivering your solution.  IMPLEMENATION is HUGE.  It shows the customer for the first time how you are going to service them.  You want to start off on the right foot, so make sure you use an action plan to implement your solution.

            The MPS Action Plan must illustrate Actions Items, Person Responsible, Due Dates, Dates Completed, Resolutions, Comments, and Notes.  Every person involved in the implementation must clearly understand his or her role and tracking their responsibilities will allow you to keep everyone on track.

Here are some questions you might want to ask the customer and yourself when constructing the action plan.

  1. What major action items must be done to make sure this implementation is a success.
  2. When will at action items be completed?
  3. Who is responsible to accomplish each item and in what time frame?
  4. How much time can be spent to finish each action item to make sure the implementation meets the customer’s expectations?
  5. What, specifically, will be required from each action item?
  6. Will these action items help us deliver our solution and meet the customer’s expectation?

  

Remember your MPS Action Plan will not be perfect because there is always risk that you cannot anticipate.  You can minimize this uncertainty by having a good Action Plan and using all your analysis and assessment data to get rid of assumptions and create a realistic action plan.  Make sure your customer and all the stakeholders are part of all your action plan meetings.  (A stakeholder not informed of the action plan can be a huge risk and I will talk about stakeholders and sponsors in a coming blog.)  A good way to remove risk is to compare your action plan to previous implementations with customers in the same industry you have done before.    Trust me it helps. 

If have questions about action plans, I can send you excel templates of actions plans I use.  Please feel free to email me at managedprintguru@gmail.com

Cheers,

MPG

March 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Quote of the Day

InfoTrends study discovered companies that implement a managed print services strategy saved an average of 20% on their office printing.”

March 23, 2010 Posted by | Info for CEOs & CFOs, Info for IT Directors | Leave a comment

Managed Print Services: DOs and DON’Ts

 Yesterday I sat in on some meetings were some MPS consultants were selling their solutions to C-Level Executives and they did so DOs and DON’Ts.  Here are some keys to look at.

A.   Here are phrases that should be in your elevator speech and proposal:

1.  Lean Practices:  reduce waste, control costs, be more efficient with bills, uptime, supplies, management.

2.  Green Practices:  customers want to be “green” and reduce their carbon footprint.

3.  Flexibility: customers want flexibility to change equipment and pricing during their contract.

4.  Best Practices:  one example is supply chain management.

Things to remember to say:

B.  One thing a MPS consultant I read yesterday that made me want to hide under the desk was that she began to speak about speed and feeds.  STOP!!!!!!  NEVER TALK ABOUT SPEEDS AND FEEDS.  You are not selling hardware, you are selling a solution.  Always speak generally in terms of device CAPABILITIES, because once you start talking about specific “speeds and feeds,” you become a copier sales rep.

C:  A couple examples of DOs and DON’Ts

Use program not deal

Use environment not fleet

Use agreement not contract

Use consultant not sales rep

Be brand neutral not brand specific

*** I will be the first to admit that I use the wrong words when writing my posts, but please when I am speaking to prospects and writing proposals, I always make sure I use program, agreement, and environment.***

Cheers,

MPG

March 23, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sales Tip of the Day

When selling a solution like MPS, consultants must  persuade customers that the solutions they are selling are not just excellent but ESSENTIAL.  Don’t talk about attributes of the products that is part of the your solution.  Instead, talk about WHAT THE SOLUTION DOES FOR THOSE WHO BUY IT.

Cheers,

MPG

March 20, 2010 Posted by | Sales Tips Of The Day | Leave a comment

A Great Rules Based Printing Solution: Print Audit

 

“The key to print management is winning the hearts and minds of your people who are making the decision to print.  Print Rules have proven to be the most effective way to engage your people in the process of reducing the cost and impact of printing.” – Print Audit

         This quote comes from Print Audit; a print management solution company that helps companies save money and reduce waste, thru rules based printing.  Print Audit offers a great product by allowing companies to shift prints to lower cost devices, set print quotas, automate double-sided printing, validate and restrict printer usage, and generate revenue thru charge backs.

 Some of Print Audit’s rules based printing solutions are demonstrated below: 

      

                                     

Print Audit is easy to use and will work on virtually any Windows Operating system including Windows 7 and the minimum requirements for hosting the database and communicator is any Windows 2000 computer or better.  It is also supports MAC tracking with a Client for MAC OS 10.39 and up.  I don’t think get allow the same reporting features on MAC systems, but please check with Print Audit because I am not 100% sure.  There really are very minimal requirements to run Print Audit’s software.  

            Finally, if you are sold on wanting to use Print Audit for your company or be a dealer and represent it, Print Audit guarantees that their software will pay for itself in less than 1 year and if it doesn’t Print Audit will refund your purchase. What do you have to lose?  Check out Print Audit, www.printaudit.com

Cheers,

MPG

March 20, 2010 Posted by | Info for IT Directors, Reviews | 2 Comments