What would excite a community of IT professionals, addressing small and mid-sized businesses, to pro-actively invest in the print market?
For channel partners like you who are operating in this space, whether you are a reseller, VAR, MSP or any other definition, it’s likely that you have typically offered print only in response to a customer need, seeing print as a requirement of a much broader complete solution. In recent years, many partners like yourself have found themselves emphasizing print in reaction to the emerging threat of a managed print services (MPS) community expanding into IT services.
Here at Xerox, we believe it is time to prioritize – and invest in – print again. That’s why we have worked to make print sales more attractive with a value proposition that provides channel partners and IT solutions providers with the tools necessary to address their customer requirements, while also making a sufficient bottom line contribution to justify an investment, however small that investment may be.
Reframing the Conversation
The traditional approach in the development of this value proposition has been to focus on the print environment and the opportunity print may bring. Historically this meant an assessment of the customer’s environment, looking for opportunities to improve efficiency, and implementing a solution that can pull through as much post-sale annuity as possible.
This is still a valid – and rich – source of opportunity, but what if the primary focus was not the print opportunity? What if the conversation with your customers centered on the smart printer or multifunction printer (MFP) as an integral part of bringing the document and data together into a single managed service offering? What value would this bring and how would it translate into revenue and profit? For IT providers, especially those of you who have been reluctant to invest in print, this evolution of the print sales conversation presents new opportunities and advantages that are worth considering.
Let’s take a look at a typical scenario, one which presents a key strategic investment for many organizations. The customer starts by licensing an ERP (enterprise resource planning) or CRM (customer relationship management) cloud application. Having made their selection they will look at implementation, hosting, support, back up, cloud (and therefore system) security, controlled access, disaster recovery plans – the list could go on. Within this investment where are documents considered? What happens when a key document such as a contract comes into the business?
Asking the Right Questions
When it comes to considering the printed document and its role in your customer’s organization, here’s what you need to consider – and what they likely have not. Your customer has a contract, CRM and ERP. How will the customer ensure that the document is correctly and securely filed under the right account? How will your customer ensure that it will stay in the right hands?
And once it has been correctly filed, is there a simple pre-determined secure workflow that allows it to integrate automatically with the backup, disaster recovery and mobility policy arranged between the customer and IT provider? Can the information in that document be easily and correctly populated into an ERP, without manual intervention? What are the security and productivity benefits in enabling this?
Delivering the Answers
These questions highlight how print devices, such as the Xerox® ConnectKey® platform of MFPs- combined with ConnectKey apps, can be used as a vehicle to enable a more efficient and secure business process for your customers. While using basic “Scan to” functions or expensive ISV solutions has previously been the go-to strategy, IT providers can now purchase, develop (or have developed) reseller and customer specific apps enabling a direct, secure workflow that routes documents directly into cloud platforms.
Xerox’s app development process includes development kits, training and support to get started and the design and deployment is 100% partner owned. Pre-packaged apps for scanning, routing, storing and sharing files are also available for free from the Xerox App Gallery.
This simple proposition, enabled by an open access portfolio of equipment, opens the door for you to have new sales conversations with your customers around Data and Documents. Their business document security can never be understated, regardless of the size of the organization in question. The Xerox proposition enables both channel partners and IT providers of all profiles to add this extra layer of customer value, which directly translates into revenue and margin opportunity.
So back to the original question – why should you invest in print sales?
You should invest in print sales because it’s no longer about just print, it’s about print technology, and how that technology integrates into the customer workplace – and into a successful channel partner and IT provider’s services portfolio.
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