Monday, July 12, 2010

MPS, This ain't boxes or bullsh*t

Adapt or Die!

Ed Crowley's insight is alive and well and all to real. In many ways this decree boils with the poignant perspective that selling MPS is not like selling boxes, bullsh*t or anything else for that matter.

Selling MPS is different from selling anything else. It is from my perspective... cake. A bold statment indeed, but I have been marketing MPS for almost 4 years now, for a company that has been doing MPS for about 20 years. For many others though, it is nothing short of advanced alchemy and most of the newbies will find that making gold is better left to the Issac Newton's of the industry.

On our sales team we have a core three guys who have made the grade and seem to be in it for the long haul. Aside from them we have had other salesmen come and go. Some managed to sell machines even in this climate and were able to capture some contract customers as well. Some however simply did not get the true nature of selling managed print services and while they had a good track record in regards to "selling" in general, MPS proved to be a confusing animal.

So when we had to let go of one sales guy (let's call him Andrew) for the simple fact that he was not selling to the required extent, I offered to pick up some of the slack and work as a salesman in addition to continuing in my marketing roll.

Having cut my teeth in all the different areas of the company I felt I knew what our program was about and figured that I could do this. I have been in sales less than month and I must admit my first prospect is a lesson to those salesmen out there who think they know how to sell MPS.

On the first day of cold calling I hit a local college. From the gatekeeper I was transferred to the IT guy who happened to be a friend from grade school (let's call him Dave). After throwing out my pitch he said yeah that sounds great...

going on he replied:

"Actually I think we started this process with someone else from your company a while ago and nothing came from it"

Hmm... Ok.

With that I told him I would look into it and would be in touch. Upon hanging up the phone I searched for about a minute in our archives and sure enough there was a contract proposal with all the info laid out ready to go.

I found this to be odd...

Calling Dave back I set up an appointment and met with Dave in his office and laid out how our program could save him money.

Dave's response was something like this...

"Wow, that sounds great... Oh you do that? Great! I would love to get that off my plate! This sounds excellent! Let's get the ball rolling!

(Additionally, Dave said a friend of his who does IT for another customer of ours had called him and raved about our product, so Dave had already felt good about us before Andrew or I had even walked in the door!)

So we set dates for a free 30 day analysis which will come to a close next Thursday, at which point I asked, so... do you recall what happened with Andrew? Any idea why we are not already doing business?

Dave replied well, he came and did the analysis with some USB device and then sent me the proposal that was the last I heard of him...


So if you don't already get the picture let me lay it out for you.

Andrew came to the school, stuck a USB key into a computer and got page counts for the 16 networked printers, wrote up and e-mailed an MPS contract proposal to Dave and waited for the sale to go down...

Let me say this again,

"Selling MPS is not like selling boxes, bullsh*t or anything else for that matter."

While doing my "old school" analysis (walking to each and every printer) I found out that the school has upwards of 50 printers (of only 16 which are networked) of varying sizes and output. If Andrew had gotten lucky and Dave had been the one to instigate a phone call to move forward and the deal had closed, we would have only been managing 16 of the 50 printers at the school.


Dave was not only into the program and excited about it as a potential contract customer but was open to giving his time to show me around the campus so that I could do an in-depth analysis of their printer fleet. Further more not only is Dave excited about the program but he could see the value right off the bat and when asked about any hoop jumping in getting the contract through the CFO and onto the finalization process he replied "Eh, I have the same amount of clout here, if I say we should do this you will get a signature asap..."

Let this be a lesson to you would be MPS salesmen.

"Selling MPS is not like selling boxes, bullsh*t or anything else for that matter."

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