Operational MPS Training

January 3, 2011

In previous articles, we have tackled the issues of MPS Specialist vs. MPS Generalist and MPS Sales Compensation. Talking about organizational issues and compensation issues before talking about the training required to make MPS operational is a good working example of ready fire, aim.

A Managed Print Services contract is a relatively simple transactions to execute. We all know in most cases, it is a simple cost / page agreement. At the same time, getting an MPS transaction to the execution stage requires the most precise selling and service planning process this industry has ever encountered. Any of the Space Shuttle commanders will tell you that putting the space shuttle on the ground after final approach is relatively simple. It’s the process of getting it back into the atmosphere and into final approach that is extremely precise (and quite difficult).

If you are headed into MPS and you have not made an investment in a quality Sales and Service tactical and operational program, you too have executed ready, fire, aim. The training required to bundle MPS into 50% or more of your MFP transactions covers a host of very important skill development components. In Sales, the most obvious element one would expect to require training on is executing the automated Data collection device software survey. While this is almost always a standard component of any training program; we believe that developing the skill sets of managing the buying cycle of a multi layered complex team is an equally or more important component of Sales Training. In Much the Same way, any quality MPS service training program would incorporate a component on pricing and cost assumptions on a blended MPS / MFP transactions however, again, we would argue that training on the new financial and productivity benchmarks and the tactics to achieve them is equally important as being proficient in building a blended model.

A successful MPS sales transaction is normally couched in a financial, operational or process improvement initiative of an organization. Getting to sit on that couch is a function of being successful in approaching a C level contact. The Sales training program must therefore begin with real world tactics to make contact and develop rapport with that C level. The training program must proceed to enhance rapport building with the C level which is almost always a function of uncovering the discontent inherent in an organizations process and then linking a solution that has a tangible benefit to a C level’s vision or goal. A C level sponsorship leads a Sale Professional into the swirling waters of a multi tiered buying team whose dynamics are complex. A solid MPS training Program will teach you how to identify the players in this buying team and the tactics necessary to get them on your side as you begin the data collection process.

The data collection and cost collection process is always a staple of a Sales training program. A great Sales training program will take the attendees from the data and cost collection process into a thorough analysis of the raw data and make the attendees assemble the raw data and cost information into multiple potential solutions for critique of experienced instructors who have a history of MPS success. Once this exercise is completed, the training needs to focus to the construction and presentation of an exhaustive implementation program. A solid implementation program, presented well, almost always deflates the intensity of pricing objections. Finally, a Solid MPS training program provides its attendees with every tool necessary to go back and hit the streets running. All C level approach, pre and post survey, implementation plan, proposal, pricing, and follow up tools and templates must be provided.

The majority of Service executives and managers who require MPS service training have spent their entire careers focused to satisfying copier, fax, or MFP customers while at the same time attempting to achieve “Benchmark” productivity and profitability. The first revelation a solid MPS service training must expose is the vast difference between the MFP and MPS benchmarks for productivity and profitability. The difference between achieving 40% and 65%+ gross margins in MPS is a subtle art that must be the core of MPS Service training. A solid MPS Service training program exposes the attendees to the new financial and productivity benchmarks and then builds its curriculum around the specific tactics necessary to achieve the individual benchmarks. Designing an organization that is capable of providing quality service is paramount to its success. Selecting the right Service technician, and compensating him or her correctly needs to be an integral part of the training program. Achieving optimal productivity and profitability in the printer servicing environment requires far greater training and logistics expertise to than does the typical MFP servicing environment. The Service training required to develop this expertise needs to focus on who the various printer service parts, cartridge and training organization are and how and when to use these organizations.

There are literally thousands of models of printers in the installed base of printers in the field. As if coming up with the right training program were not difficult enough, selecting the right supplier for spare parts and then developing economic and responsive inventories exacerbates the complexity of the MPS service equation. MPS Service training should then provide you with solid recommendations for suppliers of parts and supplies based on solid testing and analysis. One of the best MPS training organizations, The Print Management Solutions Group out of Ormond Beach Florida, bases their recommendations for suppliers on the track record of the 45,000 printers their clients service. The best practices of superior quality MPS service organizations should be explored in the Service training program so that an attendee can develop a very clear vision of what good looks like. Finally the MPS service training program should leave its attendees with an automated territory design tool that works in both MFP and MPS environments.

We believe that the most important component of an operational MPS Sales and Service training program is developing a team approach to MPS that unites the two functions to achieve MPS excellence when they return to the dealership. Service and Sales must be totally united in their strategy to penetrate this lucrative market. The Print Management Solutions group felt so strongly about this concept that they designed their program so that the Service training program and the Sales training program were conducted on the same dates and same locations. They went even further and priced their training to include a service attendee in the Service training when the Sales attendee enrolled from a dealership to insure a Sales and Service, Manager or Representative, would attend the Sales and Service components of the training. Taking it a step further, on day two of the training the Sales and Service groups are brought together to debrief each other on the previous days learning activities and discuss ways to assist each other in making their MPS offering even more fluid and dynamic. Each function is instructed on the need they each have to be a part of the pricing team back at the dealership that considers all of the needs of the customer and the dealership in constructing an MPS Solution.

If a dealer is truly involved in MPS for a year or more, they should start to see that 50% or more of their deals have an MPS component in them. Dataquest states that “by the year 2012, 80% of all MFP transactions will be linked to MPS. If your dealership is not in MPS and wants to get into it, the training elements previously described must be satisfied. If your dealership is in MPS and you are not achieving 50% or more of your deals in MPS perhaps you to should consider pursuing the training needed to get you there.