The imaging industry has changed so much over the years. I remember the days when selling toner cartridges had nothing to do with servicing a device unless, of course, the cartridge you sold ‘blew up’ in a device and you had to pay for the cleanup. Even then, you were not responsible for arranging the cleaning, only paying for it.
The world has changed a lot since then. Today, more and more people expect everything done for them and one-stop shopping and buying online is a reality for many end users. This is why managed print services (MPS) has become such a booming business. But what is MPS? When you google MPS, you get many different definitions. Essentially, MPS is a program offered by print providers that manages all aspects of your printing devices. Whether it is supplies or service you need managed or insight into your customers’ print environments for billing purposes, MPS is an end-to-end monitoring solution.
Looking further into MPS we find many different program offerings, so let’s look at two types of MPS programs in particular: turnkey and customized solutions.
A turnkey or a turnkey project (also spelled turn-key) is a type of project that is constructed so that it can be sold to any buyer as a completed product.1
Some of the best turnkey programs today include everything from assessment and mapping tools, TCOs, automated service and supply fulfillment and even financing for devices. Turnkey programs are either fully automated using APIs that pull information from one system to another, or require manual intervention. End users typically do not care which method is used as long as the end result is the same - little to no work for them. The obvious pro of a turnkey solution is that everything is taken care of which makes it very simple for customers as they do not have to worry about anything. Conversely, this also means that the customer must be willing to accept that all of the choices regarding the solution have been made for them which has its disadvantages too.
Buyers like choice; if they are not happy with something they want to be able to easily change it to meet their unique business needs. With that said, having too many decisions to make can be overwhelming. This is one of the reasons why most people decide against building their dream home and buy an already built home. They simply do not want the headaches involved in choosing which knobs to use, where the lighting should go, what colour this or that should be, they simply want to walk into a home and live.
A turnkey solution can be fantastic for users looking for the no hassle approach to managed print, but it might not be right for everyone. Customized solutions are a popular alternative for users using multiple tools.
Customized - to modify or build according to individual or personal specifications or preference.2
Customized solutions come with certain advantages, the biggest being that they can be personalized and offer the flexibility to decide and control exactly which providers and software platforms are used. Offering customers the ability to pick and choose the features and functionality they require will increase your chances of securing some, if not all, of your customers' business. Keep in mind that in today’s world, most customers already have some pieces of their program working successfully. Allowing them to keep tools they have already experienced success with makes them feel comfortable and involved. If you are lucky enough to discover that your customer is using components from your own turnkey solution, a turnkey solution may be more appropriate and allow you to mitigate the headache of using multiple tools to manage print devices.
Turnkey or customized solutions – which choice is better? It’s not a black and white decision. Customers looking for instant gratification may prefer a turnkey solution because they are easier and the cost of implementation may be lower than a customized solution. However, turnkey solutions are only easier if your customer has no current program, is already using parts of your offering or is willing to move or start fresh with everything.
With so many options to choose from, deciding which one is right for your business and customers takes time. The answer depends largely on the problem you are trying to solve and you will only come to the right decision if you invest the time to define your goals. Know your target customers and don’t try to be better than your competition, try to be different. You can only define your goals if you listen to what your customers want.
Download our Prospecting Tip Sheet to help you determine what prospects are looking for in a managed print solution and better organize your sales funnel. Active listening can help you solve your prospect’s business challenges for a successful MPS program.
For a more in-depth look at managed print services, check out the following blog posts:
- 5 Scariest MPS Misconceptions
- How to Find the Right MPS Provider
- This or That: Enterprise or SaaS Solutions
- How to Implement MPS and Mitigate Customer Concerns