What will 2018 bring for dealers?
We see three strong opportunities and two ongoing challenges that will significantly influence channel partner success in the New Year.
Three Big 2018 Opportunities
- MPS at SMBs
Managed print services (MPS) continue to grow, yet the lucrative and growing small- and medium-sized business (SMB) segment remains underpenetrated. With 75 percent of office technology sales to SMBs made through indirect channels, MPS can be a great opportunity for channel partners.
With MPS, dealers capitalize on a growth opportunity they know—print—while building a point of differentiation from competitors, more touch points within their clients’ businesses to strengthen relationships, and tangible customer value by better managing print assets. So MPS enables channel partners to protect their customer base while they grow—and they do grow.
To help make the most of the opportunity, Xerox offers a robust MPS portfolio that includes custom training, access to sales and assessment tools, pricing considerations and marketing support. We’ve also begun moving tens of thousands of direct accounts to our channel partners who are better positioned to deliver MPS to the SMB market.
- App-Based Solutions
Software solutions are providing today’s SMBs with valuable business efficiencies, and dealers who develop deeper software competencies are well-positioned to provide these solutions. Many meet this need by building applications for their customers’ multifunction printers, an emerging trend that is expected to grow exponentially in 2018.
To help dealers develop these skills, Xerox provides forums, training and ongoing assistance with building, pricing and marketing custom apps for MFPs. This enables dealers to efficiently create apps for workflows unique to their customers’ businesses, often incorporating such cutting-edge technologies as augmented reality, voice recognition and predictive analytics.
Xerox also offers the Xerox App Gallery where apps created by other software developers are available to Xerox dealers. Apps and device integration capabilities provide not only a new source of recurring revenue, but serve as a competitive differentiator that increases the dealer’s value to its clients.
- Production Color Printing
As digital presses have become easier to use, ever-more advanced systems are available through indirect channels, offering a great opportunity for selling these high-ticket items. And the market is growing as traditional offset pages migrate to digital production color to take advantage of low-cost short runs, faster turnarounds and variable-data printing.
The latest press technology accelerating the migration is inkjet, and a number of our dealers have successfully sold inkjet as well as xerographic presses to corporate in-plant print shops and small and medium-sized commercial printers. Selling specialized media applications also can help dealers differentiate their offerings—and deliver high margins.
Two 2018 Challenges
Cybersecurity is a major concern for every entity with an Internet presence, and every connected device is a potential vulnerability—including MFPs. Security solutions show signs of emerging as a new differentiator for dealers.
Xerox provides comprehensive, leadership security protection for its MFP devices, some through partnerships with industry leaders like McAfee, as explained in this video. That leadership was recently corroborated when 10 Xerox AltaLink devices became the first—and so far, the only—products to be certified by the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) under rigorous new testing standards for providing security protection to hardcopy devices.
- Changing Sales Process
High rates of online and mobile technology adoption have spawned completely new ways to interface with customers. Increasingly, purchasing decisions are nearly completed before customers talk to sales representatives, making a strong presence online and through social media more important than ever.
At Xerox, we help our channel partners meet this challenge with programs that address relevant areas such as demand generation, website syndication and social media advice and implementation—what we call Digital Mastery.
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Enabling Our Channel Partners’ Success
Indeed, we believe we are so well positioned to address 2018 opportunities and challenges that we are continuing to expand our channel partners program by selectively recruiting multi-brand dealers and fostering growth in our mono-brand channel partners. By enabling our mono-brand channel partners to operate more like multi-brand dealers—for example, in setting their own equipment, supplies and service pricing—we’ve freed them to be more agile and competitive, leading many to grow.
Solution providers also play a critical role in our growth strategy by serving SMB customers who are looking to grow their businesses and boost their productivity with complete end-to-end solutions that will enable them to better manage their printing, document management and workflow needs.
Our dealers’ successes offer proof that print continues to present a tremendous growth opportunity, particularly in the SMB space. Channel partners that make the effort to become more relevant to their customers, that leverage MPS and that make their online presence a priority, will be well positioned to prosper and grow in 2018, and for many years to come.
Become a Xerox Channel Partner
Prospective channel partners can learn more about the Xerox channel partner program at Xerox Global Partner Program.
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