In this earlier post I discussed why IT focused channel partners should consider adding print to their managed service portfolio. If you read it, I hope that you can now see the clear value that selling print as a service could bring to your business and you’re ready to test the waters.
So what’s the best way to wade in …work with Xerox, perhaps?
Of course, we’d ultimately like to convince you of that. But we know you need to come to your own conclusions. Since channel partner speed-dating isn’t really a thing, as you evaluate your options we want to make sure you’re aware of a few basic considerations that can have a significant impact on your profits from selling services.
You need an effective approach for establishing CONTROL
The key to winning with services is establishing a way to both lock-out threats from competitors and create opportunities to grow your business with each customer. And when it comes to print, one of the big challenges is that most Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) have a diverse print fleet that includes products from a wide array of brands.
That means in a perfect world, you need the ability to proactively manage supplies replenishment directly from distribution, for any brand of product. In other words, ideally your offering will include a managed supplies service. This is important when you consider that the greater proportion of the A4 market is in a transactional supplies model, and if the future of print is truly centred around a services model, then managed supplies services are key.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to fully support your customers’ needs, and they will question the value of the service when they can’t easily get what they need.
Essential questions about CONTROL:
- Can the services offing you are considering help you control the entire print fleet?
- Does the offering provide a way to control 100% of IT spend and lock out print-centric MPS vendors?
- Could it help you deliver a seamless almost “invisible” service (i.e. it works so well behind the scenes that your customers never have to think about supplies or outages)?
You need to OPTIMIZE choices
Profitable managed print services are about much more than supplies. Proactive, efficient hardware replacement—with plenty of options for meeting your customers’ evolving business needs—are also important to success. That means the ability to provide anything from a basic desktop printer to cloud-based offerings that can help enhance and simplify your customers’ workloads.
Essential questions about OPTIMIZATION:
- How is the vendor you are considering to work with perceived in the marketplace (what are the market penetration rates)?
- How well does their range of offerings and pricing align with your average customers’ needs?
- What are the post-sale return possibilities from the vendor versus other options?
You need proven ways to RETAIN customers
Once you’ve fought hard and invested time and resource to win a customer, you want to keep them. But in the SMB print market, where equipment pricing is falling, fewer customers are choosing warranty contracts. Many choose to simply replace broken devices, despite any disruption to the business that replacing the device causes.
A good service model is all about eliminating business disruptions and providing your customers peace of mind. And keeping your life as simple as possible. Not all service models are created equally, so ask yourself these questions:
Essential Questions about RETENTION:
- How can a potential partner help with service-related needs?
- How do potential partners’ warranty options compare?
- What are the different routes to market for your potential partner, and what does that mean to your business?
- How much is your potential partner investing in partner relationships?
Adding it all up
At Xerox, we’ve found that the combination of helping channel partners control, optimize and retain services relationships can add up to robust growth. How much? We can demonstrate that from a low base of only 100 devices that you can grow a $250k revenue and $50k profit stream over three years. And that’s not small change, when you consider it’s recurring and can be easily replicated across your customer base.
Time to do your sums
Ask yourselves the essential questions above, then challenge the vendors you work with to demonstrate real life examples of how they can help you expand into new sources of profitable revenue so that you can connect technology and services with your unique capabilities and innovate to deliver solutions that help SMBs work better.
If you want to learn more about becoming a Xerox channel partner take a look at the Xerox Global Partner Program today – together we can do amazing things for your customers.
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