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Attendees at the CompTIA Managed Print Services Community meeting at ChannelCon left the session armed with business-building advice and strategies for growth.
From crafting competitive compensation plans to consultative selling tactics and a primer on using data analytics, session speakers shared their experiences in growing a managed print practice.
Compensation plans for sales staff have long been a challenge for IT solution providers selling services. Speakers Jeff Bendix of Bendix Imaging and Kevin Morris from OneDOC Managed Print Services took away some of the mystery and uncertainty about compensation.
Managed print sales staff can be compensated for a range of outcomes – long-term managed print contracts, hardware sales and leases and transactional sales of supplies, for example.
“What behavior are you trying to encourage?” Morris asked. “Think about your end-goal and design a plan around it.”
Managed print providers in attendance were also advised to bite the bullet and make a habit of holding quarterly business reviews (QBRs) with their customers.
“QBRs are a pain,” David Brown of Printfleet said. “They are monotonous to put together. They are time consuming. But you have to be out there talking to your customers because if you aren’t, someone else is.”
The most successful customer conversations are the ones that “create a winning narrative,” Brown said.
“Always talk about the future,” he said. “Talk about what their objectives are and talk to them about how you will help them get there.”
Tawya Stone of GreatAmerica Financial Services and chair of the community directed attendees to the new CompTIA Channel Standard for Managed Print Providers as another industry resource to help build a better business. The standard covers four critical business functions: business generation, delivery and operations, customer relations and business direction.
Business owners and executives were also encouraged to weave data analytics and business intelligence into their operations.
Most companies already collect data on customers, sales and other aspects of their business, according to Benjamin Goewey, founder and president of Datamensional, a business intelligence and analytics firm.
The availability of affordable analytics tools makes it possible for almost any business to take even the simplest data sets and extract valuable information. Goewey cited a Nucleus Research study that found for every dollar spent on analytics, the return is $13.01.