by Ryan Humphrey, Parts Now National Sales Manager
So you’ve taken the plunge into MPS, but your sales team is having a tough time locking in new contracts. You’re not alone. Making the transition from transactional selling to a consultative model can be bumpy road. The good news is, you can be successful if you get a few key things right. Ask yourself these five critical questions to see where your sales force may be falling short – and what you can do about it.
1. Are the right people selling your MPS program?
If you’re utilizing your existing sales force to sell your MPS program, you may want to reconsider. After five+ years of helping struggling dealers and VARS get traction selling MPS, we’ve found that companies with a dedicated MPS sales team achieve greater success than those who use their existing sales force. Why? MPS is a major transition from break-fix business and product sales to a solutions-focused customer engagement. This fundamental shift in mindset and sales process requires people who are dedicated, fully trained and able to work with the existing sales teams to develop relationships with their customers under a Managed Print framework. Example: Before working with us, a large dealer had tried to initiate an MPS program three times with their existing sales team and sales processes with little success. Finally, they changed their business mindset and dedicated resources to implementing a complete program. Long story short, this customer saw revenue grow from zero to 3,000 printers in nine months with an average printer output of 3,600 pages per month!
2. Have you defined the goals and objectives of your MPS program to your sales team?
If you haven’t clearly defined your objectives, how will you know if you are succeeding? One of the most effective approaches for dealers is to start with the “low hanging fruit” in their current customer base to ensure they lock up 100 percent of their customers’ business. When you own 100 percent of the pages printed, the sales will follow – and who do you think they will buy from when you manage all of the pages printed? Key objectives can be best conveyed through continued sales coaching. Now, what about the customers that you don’t currently do business with. Are your objectives different? One hint: It’s more than software and cost per page. When you help prospects understand that you’ll relieve them from the pain of print management, sales will follow.
3 Have you developed go-to market strategies?
Since MPS does represent a different way of approaching business, it’s necessary for your team to know which customers to target and what factors impact profit and ROI. In other words, who is the right customer for managed print? Typically, your best customers for MPS are in your current customer base. They may have 20 to 40 devices or more, stocking too much toner in comparison to the volume of printing, often with the wrong mix of devices, with no strategy to ensure productivity or manage costs. Targeting these customers is critical to a successful MPS program, but keep in mind all of the factors that generate ROI for you, including page volumes, printer serviceability, coverage, age of the fleet, and your customers’ commitment to developing an MPS strategy to control costs and more. How you target customers today will change. Do you know how to target profitable MPS opportunities?
4. Does your compensation structure encourage the results you are trying to achieve?
Is your MPS compensation plan different from your traditional sales compensation structure? Remember (are you seeing a theme?) MPS is a different way to doing business. You’re not selling a product, but providing a solution to gain 100 percent loyalty – which requires a completely different way of thinking about team compensation. It’s important that the compensation plan drives the results you want. If your goal is to manage 100 percent of the pages printed, then you need to pay your sales people for contracted pages and for driving incremental pages to your
contracted devices. Paying for growth is an absolute must, but don’t make the common mistake of forgetting to pay your
sales force to retain those pages.
5. Have you prepared your MPS sales team to sell a value-driven solution?
The keys to transitioning your team from product to solutions sales can be summed up in the following way: training, resources and implementation. Train your MPS team, give them the resources (remote monitoring, time, targets, goals and documentation) and establish your Key Performance Indicators for implementation and success. Follow that up with turnkey marketing support, and you have a winning formula! We have found that training and marketing support give sales reps the tools they need to communicate your company’s MPS value proposition to customers. Parts Now MPS dealers that have completed sales training are monitoring 5.3 times more devices than the dealers who have chosen to “go it alone” in developing their sales process.