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Managed Print Services “Best Practices”

When discussing print management with a potential customer or an existing client, certain concerns tend to be raised about the same time during every engagement.  In any sales activity, it is usually best to handle objections before they are raised, and with MPS it is no different.  What are some of the tactical methods you employ to make sure your MPS discussions go smoothly?

Managed Print Services requires understanding before it can be realized as a successful profit center for any dealership.  That understanding includes identification of the dealership’s commitments and goals to be achieved, who will be the primary program advocates, which clients and prospects will be the best print management targets, and how to best overcome common MPS objections to deployment as well.

In this edition of “Managed Print Basics – Becoming an MPS Champion …” we will touch on common things many dealers, IT shops and VARs do and use to successfully discuss, convey and implement their print management offerings.  But first, let’s recap:

  • The Dealership’s MPS plan and methods for deployment should be clearly established
  • The entire management team needs to be committed to MPS success
  • The shop must have a strong advocate and a well trained MPS staff involved with the program
  • The personal touch should be demonstrated in every offering (how the dealership has benefited)
  • MPS targets must be identified, contacted and told what print management can do for them
  • To be cost effective, the VAR’s print management program should be marketed in many channels
  • Communication of “What’s-in-it-for-me” for MPS customers and potential clients should be defined

Establishing a comfort level

As with any new opportunity, there is a comfort level that should be established before the activity can be put into practice.  When the dealership and its deployment team are confident with what the collection tool can and cannot do, objections can often be anticipated.

Successful providers prepare a “Print Management Information Package”. The package may include documents supplied by the dealer’s print management provider * detailing the collection tool, what information it collects, how it complies with certain standards and acts, as well as general information about print management.

* NOTE – Check with your print management provider to know what supporting paperwork they can provide.

Objections are easy to overcome when the customer understands what it is the dealership is trying to accomplish through communication of what the software can and cannot do. The best way to overcome doubts is to bring up possible concerns and address them before objections can be raised.

When rules based print direction is not required, software should have minimal impact on network performance, running as a service that is usually asleep, only “waking” to perform required tasks.

Uneasiness to permit software deployment often includes the following common concerns:

When a customer asks for product information be ready to distribute:

  • The software provider’s White Papers
  • The software provider’s Frequently Asked Questions

When a customer asks, “Is the software secure?” confident MPS sales people can respond with:

“The software is very secure. In fact, the software ** cannot receive any incoming transmission so it won’t open the network to security risks. The software uses the same protocols that banks use. We guarantee your data security privacy.”

  • Have product documentation related to security ready distribute.

** NOTE – Make claims and be prepared to provide documentation that supports your specific offering.

“What information is captured?”  A response may be:

“We understand that confidentiality cannot be compromised. The collection software cannot access any information other than printer (copier, MFP, etc.) meter and status data.”

  • Have appropriate “Information Gathered” documentation ready to support the claim.

“What is your Policy Privacy?”  Tell the consumer of your dealership’s attention to confidentiality.  If the prospect asks about the software being used state:

“[Software provider] has been servicing businesses like ours since [xxxx]. I have a copy of their Privacy Policy signed by their president right here.”

  • Hand them the signed copy of the provider’ Privacy Policy.

“Is the collection software HIPAA ** compliant?”  Address health care records concern with:

“[Software provider] has been providing business services since [xxxx], about the same time that HIPAA discussions were started in Washington. [Provider] is compliant because the software can only access printer configuration information.”

  • Hand them the appropriate heath care and HIPAA Compliancy documentation.

** NOTE – In areas outside the U.S.A., use documentation that supports your country’s health care privacy requirements and your company’s approach to healthcare management security.

Is the collection software PCI ** compliant? Handle PCI Compliancy similar to HIPAA and say:

“[Software provider’s name here] is PCI compliant because the software can only access printer configuration information.”

  • Hand them the provider’s PCI Compliancy documentation.

** NOTE – In areas outside the U.S.A., provide paperwork that supports your country’s credit card privacy requirements and your company’s approach to payment card security.

Is the collection software compliant with federal, financial and other record keeping? Handle government, financial and record keeping compliancy similar to the above and say:

“[Our provider] is compliant because the software can only access printer configuration information.”

  • Be prepared with FERPA **, FISMA **, GLB **, SOX **, or other record keeping documentation.

** NOTE – In areas outside the U.S.A., provide paperwork that supports your country’s legislation and company’s approach records security.

When it is suspected that there may be higher levels of concern addressed by the customer, inform the provider, and conference call with the end user. Often this simple step is the best way to calm fears as the provider can address not only security concerns, but other product misgivings from an IT perspective as well.

Lay ground work for successful interaction

To increase the chances for success and ensure the software provides continuous reporting on the imaging devices it finds, be sure to communicate with the customer or prospect:

Install the collection software on a workstation or server that remains ‘on’ most of the time , such as an administration computer.  The software will only report if the machine where it is installed is operational.

Avoid moving imaging devices.  If a printer is removed from the network and installed via USB line, it will not report.  If a printer is moved from one workstation to another it will not report.  Be sure to let customers know that it is important that dealers know when situations like these occur.

Define the limitations of capturing information from devices that are ‘locally’ *** connected.  Some providers offer different levels of support for locally connected devices.

Call the imaging device service provider to set up data capture of locally *** connected devices. Conference with the print management IT support group to ensure challenge-free installations.

*** NOTE – Check with your print management provider to learn their capability for local device reporting and support.

… In Summary

Providing print management services is not difficult, it just requires knowledge of the offering; what it can and cannot do and how the customer will benefit from its application. 

Most collection software is non-invasive and is only used for gathering meter reads from copiers and printers. In general, installations should require little or no involvement from an onsite IT department. When it does require on-site assistance, get them involved early and offer to have their concerns addressed directly by the software provider.

Managed print services can increase efficiency while saving time, money, and hassles as it automatically gathers and sends device information.  Best of all, with monitoring appropriate for the customer’s needs, imaging machines remain operational as the dealer “knows” when supplies and service are needed.

With proper preparation, most MPS engagements go smoothly and in the end, everyone comes out a winner.