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CONTENTS Volume 15 No. 11 G



Remote Data Collection Improving efficiencies & boosting customer service

COURTS & CAPITOLS The New COBRA Economic stimulus brings a host of new laws


by Brent Hoskins Office Technology Magazine

by Robert C. Goldberg BTA General Counsel

In recent years, dealers have seen the rise of software-based solutions designed to provide for the automatic, remote retrieval of meter reads. Increasingly, such solutions are also reacting to service alerts and monitoring toner levels. If you have not taken a look at such capabilities in the past, perhaps it is time to do so.

Congress has made Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) benefits more affordable and it has changed the disclosures that must be made when an individual’s employment is terminated.

A Winning Combination BTA presents its 2009 Channel’s Choice Awards

PRINCIPAL ISSUES Making Strategy Stick It is up to senior leaders to ensure that it happens


by Joanne Smikle Smikle Training Services

by Brent Hoskins Office Technology Magazine

At the BTA Reception held March 18 at the Las Vegas Hilton in conjunction with ITEX ’09, the Business Technology Association presented the 2009 BTA Channel’s Choice Awards.


Smarter Printing The value proposition for managed print services

An enterprise cannot flourish without a clear, compelling strategy. So, if strategy is so important, why is it not consistently reflected in operations? Without purposeful, consistent leadership attention, strategy will not stick.

SELLING SOLUTIONS Solution Sales Professionals Are they aligning their behavior to desired results?


by Teresa Hiatt Ricoh Americas Corp.

by George P. Browne KMBS U.S.A. Inc.

How can we realistically assess our sales force composition and make an honest judgment about whether we are approaching our customers with a solution mindset? Here are five signs of a solution sales model that can be used to start the process.

Enough cannot be said about the economic challenges facing all of us. But, as they say, as one door closes, another opens. Managed print services (MPS) represents a significant sea of change in this regard.


DocuWorld 2009 Software vendor hosts partner meeting March 17 by Brent Hoskins Office Technology Magazine

Despite the poor economy, the market is still strong for document management systems. This positive outlook was part of the message at DocuWare Corp.’s recent annual partner meeting, DocuWorld 2009, held March 17 in Las Vegas. 4 | www.of | May 2009

DEPARTMENTS Business Technology Association



Education Calendar BTA Highlights


Executive Director’s Page


BTA President’s Message


Advertiser Index

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Plan to ‘Jazz it Up’ at June 11-13 Event n recent years, in my role as BTA Executive Director, I have had the opportunity to attend several BTA district-hosted education/ networking events. In each case, I have observed a gathering of dealers benefiting greatly from the opportunity to attend several insightful educational sessions while interacting and learning from their fellow dealers. What makes these events particularly welcoming is that they are not traditional convention center events, with crowds, lines and a somewhat impersonal feel. In contrast, they provide a more comfortable environment where attendees can truly get to know one another, regularly interacting throughout the event. If you are looking to attend targeted industry education and to meet non-competing fellow dealers to call upon when you are seeking advice and counsel, BTA district events are for you. The next district event is coming up soon. In fact, two districts — BTA Southeast and BTA Mi d-Am erica — are joinin g together to host “Jazz it Up in New Orleans!” This three-day event is scheduled for June 11-13 at th e New O rleans Marriott. It includes a broad range of in-depth frontrunner workshops plus three outstanding General Registration education sessions. The event concludes with a private dinner at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Actually, the front-runner lineup includes five sessions: BTA Sales Management Workshop; BTA ProFinance; DataVault’s CompTIA CDIA+ Training; Digital Gateway ’s Managed Print Success 2.0; and Lizbeth


6 | www.of | May 2009

Marin’s Changing Workplace Attitudes™. You can select and attend the fee-based, concurrent front runner that is right for you. Plus, front-runner registrants receive free General Registration, which includes a Friday evening cocktail reception, three Saturday morning education sessions and dinner at the aquarium. The consecutive General Registration sessions will be led by three BTA-member industry consultants who are well-known in the dealer channel. They are: Jack Duncan, presenting “Is your Service Department Reactive of Proactive?”; Jim Kahrs, presenting “Creating Incentive Programs for Non-Sales Employees”; and Tom Callinan, presenting “Print Management: How to Successfully Launch & Measure a Program.” I have had the privilege of hearing each of these gentlemen present. I can assure you that you will leave their sessions with real-world, practical action steps that can be immediately implemented in your dealership. The New Orleans event will also feature the products and services of 14 exhibiting sponsors. During the exhibit hours and otherwise, you will have the chance to visit with representatives of each of these companies. They are: American PrintWare Inc., BEI Services, Color Imaging, Dealer Marketing Systems, ECi, GE Capital Office Imaging, FMAudit, Image Star, LEAF Dealer Solutions, Lexmark, Muratec, PrintMIB, Supplies Network and West Point Products. If you would like more information on the “Jazz it Up in New Orleans!” event, call (800) 234-8996 or visit either or You will find registration information on both Web sites. I look forward to seeing you in New Orleans. I — Brent Hoskins

Executive Director/BTA Editor/Office Technology Brent Hoskins (816) 303-4040 Associate Editor Elizabeth Marvel (816) 303-4060 Contributing Writers George P. Browne, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc. Robert C. Goldberg, General Counsel Business Technology Association Teresa Hiatt, Ricoh Americas Corp. Joanne Smikle, Smikle Training Services


Business Technology Association 12411 Wornall Road Kansas City, MO 64145 (816) 941-3100 Member Services: (800) 505-2821 BTA Legal Hotline: (800) 869-6688 Valerie Briseno Membership & Marketing Manager Mary Hopkins Database Administrator Teresa Leerar Bookkeeper Brian Smith Membership Sales Representative ©2009 by the Business Technology Association. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without the written permission of the publisher. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of published material. However, the publisher assumes no liability for errors in articles nor are opinions expressed necessarily those of the publisher.

Docuware ad Aug 08 Member logo:Layout 1


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Thanks, Bob, for a Great ‘Power Hour’ t was wonderful to meet so many fellow BTA members at the recent ITEX Show in Las Vegas. While in the BTA booth, walking the show floor or squeezing into the BTA Reception in a penthouse suite at the Las Vegas Hilton, I must have talked to, hugged or smiled at more than 1,000 people. The ITEX show was an outstanding event for BTA in terms of membership sales. These included dealer members, vendor associate members and service associate members. The offerings of industry-specific education, legal support and a centralized “go-to” organization are of huge value to the many office technology dealers who are members of BTA. I sensed a great degree of interest in new and existing products presented at ITEX. Attendance at the show’s “Power Hour” education sessions seemed to be at an all-time high. An 8 a.m. educational offering was presented by BTA General Counsel Bob Goldberg. I was not surprised to see such a large turnout of ITEX attendees who felt it was worth getting up early to be able to listen to Bob’s wisdom. I’ll share with you a few of the ideas Bob presented that I found to be easy to implement and essential to the wellbeing of your company. Bob repeatedly emphasized the need to have all company policies, rules and guidelines in writing. In a court of law, judges and juries put a great deal more value in a written and signed document than hearsay. S om e of th e sp ecific examples B ob shared included: Conf i denti ality a gre em ent s with lessors, OEMs, vendors and employees —


8 | www.of | May 2009

It is important to have a written Code of Conduct, Rules of Engagement and NonCompete Agreements with employees, vendors, customers and OEMs. The dealer/ OEM, dealer/vendor and dealer/employee relationship must be mutually beneficial — each being treated with respect. Written documentation on commission guidelines — These should include when the commission is paid. The employee must be employed at your dealership at the time of payment. Specific non-sales duties — order writing, implementation, training, after-sales support — must be completed to earn full or partial commission. Receipt of payment from the buyer should be required before the payment of commission is made. Maintenance agreements should be tailored to individual needs — A specific click base must be paid in advance, with overages in arrears quarterly or monthly. Each should have a clause allowing for cost adjustments for the changing price of fuel, parts and supplies. Then, there should be an automatic renewal at the then prevailing rate. The ability to use external servicing agents should be included. The servicing dealer is not responsible for any acts of God or climatically caused situations. Maintenance agreements are non-transferable and non-refundable. Bob’s presentation was a wake-up call to many dealers. The time to prepare for the unexpected is before a problem turns into a crisis. Written documentation and guidelines are your best defense for avoiding preventable legal entanglements. For more information, BTA members are invited to contact Bob Goldberg at (800) 869-6688. I — Ronelle Ingram

2008-2009 Board of Directors President Ronelle Ingram Steven Enterprises Inc. 17952 Sky Park Circle Ste. E Irvine, CA 92614 President-Elect Bill James WJS Enterprises Inc. 3315 Ridgelake Drive Metairie, LA 70002 Vice President Rock Janecek Burtronics Business Systems Inc. 216 S. Arrowhead Ave. P.O. Box 1170 San Bernardino, CA 92408 BTA East Tom Ouellette Budget Document Technology 251 Goddard Road P.O. Box 2322 Lewiston, ME 04240 BTA Mid-America Mike Blake Corporate Business Systems LLC 6300 Monona Drive Madison, WI 53716 BTA Southeast Bob Smith Copiers Plus Inc. 408 Chicago Drive Fayetteville, NC 28306 BTA West Greg Valen Hawaii Business Equipment Inc. Toshiba Business Solutions - Hawaii 590-A Paiea St. Honolulu, HI 96819 Ex-Officio/General Counsel Robert C. Goldberg Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg LLC 222 S. Riverside Plaza Ste. 2100 Chicago, IL 60606

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Remote Data Collection Improving efficiencies & boosting customer service by: Brent Hoskins, Office Technology Magazine

he day when the copier — now the MFP — only connected to an electrical outlet is becoming a fading memory. Today, the MFP also connects to the local area network and, if desired, to the outside world. In fact, increasingly, MFPs and printers are being accessed remotely to ensure an optimum level of performance and to provide data that can improve efficiencies and boost customer service. In recent years, dealers have seen the rise of software-based solutions designed to provide for the automatic, remote retrieval of meter reads. Increasingly, such solutions are also reacting to service alerts and monitoring toner levels. If you have not taken a look at such capabilities in the past, perhaps it is time to do so. Following is a brief look at four from the growing list of companies that are making notable advancements in this arena.


FMAudit FMAudit ( is one of several companies that emerged a few years back introducing quick printvolume assessments via a USB key. The key provides the sales rep the opportunity to collect data from the prospect that can be used to generate a print management proposal. The technology and its capability were met with great interest by dealers and hardware manufacturers alike. Since those early years, FMAudit has made significant strides. While it still offers the USB key, it is now primarily focused on helping dealerships grow their print management business through remote data collection solutions and related process and workflow improvement. “Three or four years ago, it was simply about doing a sales assessment and getting the business,” says Darrell Leven, vice president of sales and marketing for FMAudit. “Today, it 10 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | M a y 2 0 0 9

is still about getting the business, but more importantly, it is about managing the contract and maintaining that business profitably.” FMAudit is helping dealers with their print management initiatives through the use of its two lead products — WebAudit and Onsite. WebAudit uses browser-based technology to provide sales assessments. It can also be used to automate monthly meter collection after the sale. The customer simply clicks on a Web link and WebAudit finds all of the devices on the customer’s network and sends the data back to the dealer’s central data server. Onsite, on the other hand, is software that is installed on the customer’s network. It automatically sends encrypted meter, supply and service data to the dealership’s server at pre-determined intervals. “Today, our customers monitor some 2.2 million devices around the world,” says Leven. “And that number continues to grow dramatically each month.” For the dealer, installing Onsite is more ideal than simply using WebAudit, says Leven. “Onsite gives the dealers a true presence in the account,” he says. “It provides an opportunity for the dealer to work closely with management and IT to optimize device placement and control costs.” In addition to supply and service data, Onsite also provides daily meter collection that syncs with the dealership’s ERP system, such as systems from Digital Gateway and ECi. “Onsite also provides a ‘Trojan Horse’ in the customer location,” he says, since it allows dealerships to constantly monitor the account and block competition. “That way, the dealership can better manage the account in terms of meters, supplies and service on a 24/7 basis and discover new revenue opportunities.” If the customer allows the dealership access to all IP

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maglio explains that the addresses on the network, “Three or four years ago, it system can be set up to react with Onsite it can “look at was ... about doing a sales to automated service alerts everything that they’ve got, assessment and getting the in a pre-determined manner. including keeping track of For example, he says, if a new implementations of business. Today, it is still fuser roller is out on an MFP, competitive product,” says about getting the business, ser vice di spatch will b e Leven, noting that, whether but more importantly, it is alerted so that a tech can be it is new or existing competabout managing the contract deployed to make the repair. itive equipment, Onsite can and maintaining that business profitably.” Of course, not every service help dealers put together a — Darrell Leven alert will generate a service strategy that could lead to FMAudit call, he adds. “Obviously, on the replacement of competia paper jam, a service call tive equipment. “It also prowould not be created,” he says. “However, that data will vides an opportunity for supply triggered marketing.” Supply triggered marketing? Another capability of reside in the ERP system for historical analysis.” Bey ond its M2M t e chnologi es, MWAi of fers M2P Onsite, this feature allows for the filtering of automatic supply alerts. The alert triggers a workflow process that, in (machine-to-person) technology for the service department. turn, can trigger telemarketing, e-mail contact, text mes- Together, the company’s Intelligent Service Management saging or marketing communication to sell consumables and Intelligent Workforce tools work to improve customer for competitive, non-managed MFPs and printers. “For satisfaction and maximize technician productivity. “We example, if the customer had a printer placed by a com- make sure that all of the remotely collected data from the petitor, I could carry supplies for that printer on my eCom- machine is automatically integrated into the service applimerce site and direct the customer to that site or just cation so that the service tech can see on his PDA a variety simply provide them an e-mail quote,” says Leven, adding of menu items that make that machine perform well so that that the e-mail could be set to send when the toner capacity he ‘knows before he goes,’” he explains. “He can understand reached a certain level, such as 20 percent or 5 percent. “So, what parts he needs, how the engine normally runs — all there are a lot of opportunities you can ‘trigger’ from what the things that he needs to be prepared for a more effective and efficient call.” the device is telling you.” While MWAi’s solutions are primarily focused on the MWA Intelligence Inc. service department, its technologies also assist the sales MWA Intelligence Inc. (MWAi, department. The company portfolio includes Intelligent is primarily focused on improving operational efficiencies in Managed Print Services (IMPS), which provides a dealerthe office technology dealership’s service department. ship’s sales team members with information that can help Through its M2M (machine-to-machine) technologies, it them develop data-driven sales proposals. Because the dealhelps dealerships streamline a full range of manually inten- ership is remotely monitoring device usage, it can determine sive processes, assisting with service dispatch, parts/ usage patterns and identify MFPs and printers not managed supplies replenishment and automating meter billing and by the dealership. “With such data, the sales rep can comservice call creation. plete a quantitative proposal,” explains Stramaglio, noting Among MWAi’s solutions is Intelligent Assets, providing that IMPS supports data export to proposal generation tools that will allow the dealership to extract data from a cus- engines such as Compass and DocuAudit. “The rep can then tomer’s networked or locally connected MFPs and printers say, ‘If we change things around here, you can save a tremenand deliver it to an ERP system (i.e., Digital Gateway, ECi). dous amount of money and improve your productivity.’” “This is a systematic, complete solution,” says Mike Stramaglio, president and CEO of MWAi. “So, it provides every- Ricoh Americas Corp. thing that a dealer needs for data collection and deposit — In the fall of 2005, Ricoh Americas Corp. introduced metering, service call creation or print assessment.” @Remote, its intelligent remote management system. Through Commenting on service call creation in particular, Stra- the use of embedded software (now included at no additional 12 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | M a y 2 0 0 9

GE ad Mar 09:Layout 1


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says typically when there is a charge in virtually every “This is a systematic, service problem, someone at Ricoh MFP and printer) or a complete solution. the customer location calls connected hardware appliSo, it provides everything the dealership to try and ance ( for environments with explain the problem. “You large numbers of monitored that a dealer needs for will play ‘20 questions’ with printing devices), @Remote data collection and that person trying to idenfacilitates automated meter deposit — metering, tify th e problem ,” h e exreads from the customer locaservice call creation plains. “With @Remote, the tion, along with toner and or print assessment. ” machine will notify the dealservice alerts and the ability — Mike Stramaglio ership with, ‘I’m definitely to perform remote firmware MWA Intelligence Inc. broken, here is my exact upgrades. It also provides problem and here’s a list of information on device popumy last 10 problems,’ allowing you to see if there are any lation, utilization and monthly trending data, if desired. “Every dealer is successful in their own marketplace trends. So, as opposed to the information that you would because they have figured out how to differentiate their service receive from the customer, the information you would offering to customers,” says John Carlomano, senior marketing receive from the machine is much more actionable.” Ricoh is continuing to make strides with @Remote. The manager at Ricoh. “What @Remote does is it enhances the company recently announced the addition of a “green-orilevel of service that they can provide their customers.” That enhancement, says Carlomano, can help dealers win ented” report that is based on the usage of any given device, new customers. “Imagine a company with an MFP lease for those companies that have an environmental policy. For from another vendor that is about to end — a company that example, the report shows how many pages (with the overall is considering bids from multiple dealers,” he explains. “If percentage that were duplexed) have been printed on monithe dealership can offer the automation of the meter sub- tored Ricoh devices within a given time period, says Wright. mission process as a benefit, it provides itself with a com- “We can also show the number of combined pages, where our machines have the functionality to print four pages on petitive advantage.” As noted, that competitive advantage also includes the one sheet or six on one, etc.,” he explains. “We then take that ability to provide toner and service alerts in real time, so information and reflect the savings in the number of sheets that the dealer can quickly let the customer know about any of paper. Then, sheets of paper equate to trees and trees problems while acting to resolve those problems. Car- equate to CO2 production.” lomano cites the example of an MFP that is offline. “Say a customer comes to work at 8 a.m. on a Monday morning to The Utility Company The Utility Company ( takes prepare for an 11 a.m. meeting, cranking away to prepare a document to print,” he explains. “But then, 15 minutes a broad approach to serving the office technology dealership. before the meeting when he hits the print button, he dis- It is not only focused on connected MFPs and printers, but is also focused on the network itself. “Specifically,” says Jason covers the MFP is offline.” In the same scenario but with @Remote in use, the deal- Creally, vice president of sales for The Utility Company, ership could be alerted before the customer is even aware of “through our service automation program we remotely triage the problem, says Carlomano. “The dispatcher could call the the majority of printer issues that are network-related.” Recently, The Utility Company introduced Remote customer at 8:30 a.m. and say, ‘An error code indicates that your MFP is not operational. We know exactly what’s wrong. Printer Support (RPS), its latest remote technology service Someone will be there by 9:30 with the replacement part.’ bundle. The service offers remote printer monitoring and a This allows the dealership to be proactive in a scenario toll-free number to a live helpdesk at The Utility Company. With both the monitoring and helpdesk at a remote locawhen a customer doesn’t know there is a scenario.” Further explaining the difficulties of addressing a service tion, Creally acknowledges that RPS does not provide service problem where @Remote is not in use, Greg Wright, for mechanical issues. “However,” he contends, “if there are 15 @Remote product marketing and senior program manager, reasons why a printer won’t print, 14 of them can be fixed 14 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | M a y 2 0 0 9

Muratec ad Apr 09:Layout 1



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remotely. These are problems that user to get back to print“We allow that user such as a print driver or a ing for less cost than the trato get back to printing connectivity issue. We can ditional method of having for less cost than the solve 95 percent of such probsomeone come onsite and lems remotely. We’ve allowed do the same thing that we traditional method of our dealers to avoid two to can do remotely.” having someone come three onsite calls per day for As part of RPS, The Utility onsite and do the those non-mechanical issues, Company also offers an 24/7 same thing that which results in thousands of remote monitoring service we can do remotely.” dollars of savings per month for printing devices. “It con— Jason Creally to the dealer.” tinually collects data on the The Utility Company Creally cites a typical scedevice [toner levels, meter nario where RPS is in use. reads, error codes] so that When an MFP or printer is not operating properly and a call when there is a problem, it can be solved more quickly,” says between the user and the dealership determines that the Creally. “Or, better yet, our remote monitoring problem is not mechanical, the user is directed to the dealer- can help prevent a printing problem.”  Brent Hoskins, executive director of the ship’s partner, The Utility Company, rather than being advised Business Technology Association, is editor of to call any local (contracted or otherwise) third-party IT servOffice Technology magazine. He can be ices company. “We will take remote control of the user’s PC to reached at diagnose and fix the printing problem,” he says. “We allow

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Strategy Development ad Mar 09:Layout 1


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A Winning Combination BTA presents its 2009 Channel’s Choice Awards by: Brent Hoskins, Office Technology Magazine

t the BTA Reception held March 18 at the Las Vegas Hilton in conjunction with ITEX ’09, the Business Technology Association presented the 2009 BTA Channel’s Choice Awards. The winners of the awards were determined by ballots cast by office technology dealers, who were asked to rate their primary and secondary line manufacturers in key performance categories. The 2009 BTA Channel’s Choice winners: Toshiba America Business Solutions Inc. (TABS), receiving three awards — Superior Performance as a Primary Product Line Provider (the top award), Inventory and Corporate Support; Kyocera Mita America Inc., receiving two awards — Product Line and Distribution; and Muratec America Inc. for Outstanding Performance as a Secondary Product Line Provider. TABS received the top award for the 10th time. “We are extremely honored to have earned this recognition from the dealer community this year, and are especially proud of the consistency of these accolades, demonstrating Toshiba’s sustaining committent to the independent dealer channel,” said Mark Mathews, president and chief operating officer of TABS. “Our industry has endured significant change this past year, and change will likely continue for some time. The products, programs and processes established by Toshiba over the past several years have prepared us well, and our dealers have recognized, once again, the outstanding support the Toshiba organization provides each and every one of them.” During the BTA Reception, the association also honored BTA President-Elect Bill James, recipient of the 2009 Volunteer of the Year Award. “Bill has distinguished himself as an exemplary BTA volunteer, working with tireless dedication to serve his fellow BTA members,” said BTA President Ronelle Ingram, who presented the award. “We are all fortunate to have Bill poised to assume the 2009-2010 BTA presidency on July 1.”  Brent Hoskins, executive director of the Business Technology Association, is editor of Office Technology magazine. He can be reached at


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Clockwise from top: Bill Melo, vice president of marketing & enterprise services and solutions for Toshiba America Business Solutions Inc., accepts Toshiba’s three Channel’s Choice Awards from BTA President Ronelle Ingram; Jim D’Emidio, president of Muratec America Inc., accepts Muratec’s Channel’s Choice Award from Ingram; and Ed Bialecki, senior vice president of sales for Kyocera Mita America Inc., accepts Kyocera’s two Channel’s Choice Awards from Ingram.

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BTA Reception Sponsors

Above: BTA President-Elect Bill James accepts the 2009 BTA Volunteer of the Year Award from BTA President Ronelle Ingram at the BTA Reception. Right: The reception drew a capacity crowd. Clockwise from near right: Sabrina Stratford (left) and Bob Wood (right) congratulate Erik Carlson (center), Carlson Imaging Supplies, East Syracuse, N.Y., winner of a Taylor Made driver and Rossa Daytona putter donated by BTA Reception sponsor Sagem-Interstar Inc.; Greg Gray, Burtronics Business Systems, San Bernardino, Calif., winner of $500 in a BTA drawing at the reception; Tom Callinan congratulates Maribel Poyato of MS SecureShred, winner of an LCD television, donated by reception sponsor Strategy Development; Sheldon Emil, Liberty Business Systems Inc., Fargo, N.D., accepts a $50 prize from BTA President Ronelle Ingram at the BTA booth on the trade show floor; Susan Neimes, ENX Magazine, accepts a $50 prize from Ingram; Ronnie Lacassin (left), Copy & Camera Technologies, Beaumont, Texas, accepts a $50 prize from BTA Vice President Rock Janecek; and Randy Hoyle (left) congratulates Robert Sombach, Nexent Innovations, winner of a Roto shredder, donated by reception sponsor Niche Equipment Corp. (Other prize winners at the BTA booth of cash, digital cameras or a donated American PrintWare 5 to 1 License: Brett Blake, Corporate Business Systems, Madison, Wis.; Fred Bolanos, ABM Inc., San Dimas, Calif.; David Hart, Heaster-Hart LLC, Clarksburg, W.V.; Loretta Offut, County Image Solutions, Granbury, Texas; Keith Simpson, Tangerine Office Systems, Henderson, Nev.; Hilda Upchurch, Business Machines Inc., Raleigh, N.C.; and Keith Walker, Data Copy Inc., Louisville, Ky.)

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Smarter Printing The value proposition for managed print services by: George P. Browne, Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc.

nough cannot be said about the economic challenges facing all of us. But, as they say, as one door closes, another opens. Managed print services (MPS), the latest buzz words for office technology OEMs and dealerships, represents a significant sea of change in this regard. As the traditional MFP marketplace continues to see pricing pressure due to competition and consolidation, organizations are forced to find new revenue and profit outlets. The conventional sales approach we are most accustomed to involves the purchase of new products. But given today’s economic climate, it is now incumbent for the industry to find a sales approach tailored to the unique needs of today’s customers. Here is why MPS fits the bill:  Buyers are not focused on ways to spend more money on new hardware; they are actively seeking ways to save as much money as possible.  Buyers expect that the current economic situation will not be a short-term recession requiring just a short-term fix, but rather, they are expecting a longer recession requiring a longer view on how money can be saved, year after year.  Buyers are looking for ways to be more environmentally responsible, but at the same time, they do not want to sacrifice the services required to run their businesses.  Buyers are desperately looking to save money by consolidating the goods and services they utilize and partnering with service providers that can provide a seamless, “one-stop” offering.  Dealers are looking for ways to expand upon the services they offer and the revenue they can generate, thereby compensating for expected reductions in margins and hardware sales.


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In short, MPS is the answer to both the customer’s desire to save money, as well as the dealer’s goal to broaden revenue offerings and increase margins. What is Managed Print Services? Today, dealers need to stay competitive and differentiate themselves from others. True MPS begins with a detailed understanding of the customer’s current print environment and exactly how the devices are being used by each department. A comprehensive plan includes:  A detailed assessment that can be performed by various secure tools, such as a USB key or installed software.  Utilizing the data gathered (which should include customer interviews), a recommendation for right-sizing is created, indicating the savings that can be realized. A floorplan can also be created. This is just the short-term fix, but does not define what MPS truly is. To satisfy long-term requirements, and to begin to offer a true MPS program, additional services should include: Long-term right-sizing — A securely installed “agent” provides the information required to know when products are being under- or over-utilized, allowing ongoing “rightsizing” to take place. This allows dealers to meet with their customers quarterly, providing an in-depth analysis of overall activity and where additional savings can be gained. Automatic supply replenishment — This allows for automatic notification of supplies that are required by any device on the network, so that supply delivery can take place exactly when needed. This significantly reduces downtime and eliminates excess cartridges. Automatic service calls — The installed “agent” notifies the dealer with what parts are required before the technician arrives at the customer’s location.

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skill set (business analysis) and consulConsolidation — This allows for a It is also critical to the tative wherewithal to properly address a consolidated approach in the service of client’s entire business workflow and not printers and MFPs, with some MPS servsuccess of the proposed just focus on copiers or MFP output ices offered that include devices not offering that an MPS devices. These professional service made by the MFP manufacturer. Printers provider understands organizations also succeed because they and MFPs can be put under one contract how a client moves are not committed or locked into a with a single source for cartridges, elimidocuments; how they single type of technology or manufacnating multiple suppliers. input, store and output ... turer and typically have strong inroads  Long-term savings can also be realand allies with IT. ized by rules-based printing solutions. Large printer manufacturers are also able to quickly adapt to This allows for pop-ups to occur on the end-user’s PC, notifying them of more cost-efficient printers that should be a true MPS business model, as they have the knowledge and used for a specific print job. Known as “behavior modifica- expertise to focus heavily on desktop printers. Consequently, tion,” this capability can significantly reduce costs through- most MFP OEMs and dealers have ignored desktop printers because of the low revenue and margins that the hardware repout the enterprise.  Environmental responsibility can be achieved by incor- resents. Unlike professional service organizations, large printer porating a cartridge recycling service as part of the MPS manufacturers are focused on a single technology or brand, offering. Used cartridges, from any manufacturer, can be which can make being a true consultant difficult. IT/VAR organizations are also able to move quickly and picked up and disposed of properly. It must be emphasized that MPS is not just for larger adapt a true consultative MPS business model for many of the accounts. All customers, regardless of size, can benefit from same reasons professional service organizations can. Typithe incredible savings that can be realized. Consider the fol- cally, customers looking to implement an MPS program lowing data from market research firm IDC’s industry analysis: require a national presence where the same level of support is  The average amount a company spends on printing and provided across the country in each of their locations. For related services is between 5 to 11 percent of its annual revenue. IT/VAR organizations, the one real obstacle/challenge is being  On average, a company can save up to 29 percent of able to scale their offering and provide a national program. Given the aforementioned statement, OEMs that provide total printing expenditures by implementing a managed MPS services for their dealers should not be limited to offering print services program.  However, only 31 percent of companies have imple- services for only the products they sell, since customers do not buy only one type of product or brand. Flexibility is essential mented a program to manage their costs. IDC’s industry research finds that customers with MPS to realizing a true MPS offering, since customers demand it. contracts derive the most satisfaction from the following OEMs need to provide the necessary guidance and tools to quantifiable elements: reduced print costs, reduced help a current MFP dealership transition from a “box” selling demands on IT, reduced number of devices and perform- strategy to a more “consultative” sales approach. What are the necessary components to achieving success ance against SLAs. IDC’s industry research also finds that customers with MPS with MPS? It is imperative that each of the following compocontracts derive the most satisfaction from the following qual- nents are addressed for an organization to be successful itative elements: improved maintenance service, consolida- with MPS: Assessment — Most clients have no idea of the number of tion to fewer service providers, improved equipment life-cycle output devices they have and the volume they output on a management and improved support to internal customers. monthly and annual basis. Being able to conduct a complete and thorough workflow and print assessment is essential. It is Who Should Provide Managed Print Services? When MPS was first introduced to the marketplace, it also critical to the success of the proposed offering that an MPS was typically offered by three main organizational types: provider understands how a client moves documents; how professional services, large printer manufacturers and they input, store and output; and what technology they currently use to accomplish this. Assessment can include: number IT/VAR organizations. Professional service organizations have the infrastructure, of devices, device type, monthly volume, location of devices 22 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | M a y 2 0 0 9

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“Without “Witho Witho out him, out him music m wouldn’t would dn’tt be diddley dn did diddley.” dley.” Some famous fa amous guy talking g about The Origin Originator nator of Rhythm & Blues.

“Without “Witho out us, your your profits profits wo won’t on’t be did diddley.” ddley.” Carl Little,, VP of Dealer Sale Sales, es, InkCycle, talking talkin ng about you and d InkCycle. Get honest advice, truee professionalism and thee opportunity opportunity to really love what you’re doing. It all comes toge together ether at InkCycle. Call todayy to become an authorize authorized ed dealer.

( (800) 736-8877 www.inkc w m (913) 894-83877 Don’t forg forget get to ask your Accoun Account nt Manager about the NEW Dealer Training Program that features fea atures FREE monthly dealer d sales training we webinars ebinars to help you selll more!

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( floor planning) and how documents are and ownership of day-to-day support Being able to remotely, stored and shared. Many times, an assessand monitorin g th eir f l eet and ment can also represent a professional servoutput devices. This represents the automatically and ices revenue opportunity. single greatest time waster for inaccurately collect meter Proposal — This needs to be viewed as house IT departments. In fact, IDC reads from various the product that is being sold and must industry research finds that reducing output devices to contain the following information: total IT demands is a leading quantifiable properly invoice a client cost of ownership (how it is currently being benefit cited by MPS customers. is critical ... done versus how it could be done); floor Technical support — Being able planning (to properly illustrate current to properly manage and support the deployment, devices and volume, so you can show an organ- various technologies in a client’s fleet, regardless of manuization where they could make the necessary changes to be facturer, is critical. This requires remote, Web, phone and more efficient and save money); and implementation (how on-site support.  Konica Minolta’s managed print services offering is called the organization plans to properly implement the vision). Optimized Print Services (OPS). The OPS program allows Consumable management — Managing consumables dealers to customize a total managed print service solution represents the largest cost savings for an organization when for Konica Minolta bizhub MFPs and desktop laser printers, considering an MPS program. This is just as important for as well as OEM desktop laser printers from other the MPS provider as it is for the customer. manufacturers. Automated and ongoing assessment services, Meter collection and billing — Being able to remotely, combined with long-term management and cost-efficiency automatically and accurately collect meter reads from various output devices to properly invoice a client is critical to consol- tools, as well as the recycling of ink cartridges, are just some of the support options that are available. idation and efficient operation. Typically, MPS providers must George P. Browne is vice president of Business rely on third-party software applications to accomplish this, Intelligence Services for Konica Minolta as most providers do not have in-house technology that can Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc. He can be accomplish this task over various branded products. reached at Service and supply notification — One of the client Visit benefits of automatic notification is in relinquishing control

Do you crunch the numbers, or do the numbers crunch you?


he BTA ProFinance course will teach you how to set the strategy, track critical performance measures and manage your assets according to a proven business model designed to improve the profitability of your company. Instructors John Hanson and John Hey of Strategic Business Associates take a holistic approach to the redirection of your business — from sales rep compensation and projecting service revenues to inventory management and an action plan for implementation — with the short-term goal of achieving a minimum of 14% operating income. You can achieve these results by monitoring 24 key benchmarks and making strategic shifts as discussed in the program.

To register for ProFinance, call BTA at (800) 843-5059.

Upcoming ProFinance course: June 11-12, 2009 New Orleans, La.

ProFinance is designed for owners and executive-level staff who make the critical business decisions that impact your company’s success. Many OEMs reimburse for ProFinance tuition through advertising co-op or professional development funds. Check with your OEM to be sure. 24 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | M a y 2 0 0 9

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DocuWorld 2009 Software vendor hosts partner meeting March 17 by: Brent Hoskins, Office Technology Magazine

espite the poor economy, the market is still strong for document management systems. In fact, given the current slowdown for many businesses, now may be a particularly good time to install such a system. This positive outlook was a part of the message at DocuWare Corp.’s recent annual partner meeting, DocuWorld 2009, held March 17 in Las Vegas. The event drew a total attendance of 186 people, including 151 attendees representing 73 different authorized DocuWare partner companies. “Companies are saying, ‘Two to three years ago, we looked at document management, but we were so busy and running at 150 miles an hour that we just couldn’t do it,’” said Thomas Schneck, president of sales and marketing of DocuWare AG, parent company of DocuWare Corp., during his opening comments at the meeting. “‘Now things are a little calmer and we understand that there will be an upswing in the next couple of months, and we want to be ready … We actually have time to look at an application like document management.’” In addition, beyond just having more time to consider a document management system, said Schneck, the weakened economy has led to a growing interest in pursuing cost-saving measures in the workplace. “All of a sudden, because of the economy, companies are saying, ‘Yes, if you can prove to me that there will be attainable cost reductions in my business, then we can make the decision to move ahead,’” he explained, noting that the result is a sense of urgency that is serving DocuWare well. “So, this is a great opportunity for all of us here.” The sales numbers for DocuWare’s document management system confirm the company’s recent successes. In 2008, reported Schneck, the worldwide installations for the product reached 1,011, a 20 percent increase over the previous year. “And we’ve had a very strong start in 2009,” he said. “DocuWare sales were up 37 percent during the first two months of 2009 as compared to the first two months of 2008.”


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Above: DocuWorld 2009 included presentations by company executives and guest speakers. Right: Thomas Schneck, president of sales and marketing of DocuWare AG, parent company of DocuWare Corp., addresses attendees with his opening comments. Despite the good news, Schneck encouraged attendees to further boost their sales efforts. “I would say we should expand our sales pipeline,” he said, adding that it has typically required the pursuit of three qualified leads to produce one sale. “I would increase that to four.” Schneck emphasized that the opportunity for DocuWare’s partners remains significant. “In the United States alone, the SMB market as we define it — 20 to 500 employees — is about 600,000 companies,” he said. “Only 10 to 15 percent of those have a document management system. So, it’s not a replacement market — it is wide open.”  Brent Hoskins, executive director of the Business Technology Association, is editor of Office Technology magazine. He can be reached at

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Without quality imaging supplies and the proper training and support, your managed print services program will never get off the ground. West Point Products has SM developed AXESS , a managed print services program that is designed to provide our dealers with the complete support package necessary to lock out the competition and implement a successful managed print services program. • Quality Toner Cartridges • Sales Support • Technical Support • Monitoring Support • Comprehensive Training

Your Comprehensive MPS Source For more information regarding Axess Managed Print Services, please contact your West Point Products representative or our Managed Print Services Technical support at 1-800-338-2274 x284.




1-800-624-6991 1-800-338-2274

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The New COBRA Economic stimulus brings a host of new laws by: Robert C. Goldberg, General Counsel for the Business Technology Association

here has been so much discussion about the “recession” and “depression” that it is difficult to wear a smile when day after day there are negative comments on the economy. Certainly, our robust economy has deteriorated, but there are now signs of improvement. As I write this column, the stock market has just posted an impressive increase over the past few weeks, hopefully not to be offset by a 1,000-point decline prior to publication. The federal government has taken numerous steps to improve our economy. Now that the bailouts have been made, consumers will begin to benefit as well. As an employer, some of these enhancements will affect your business. The Internal Revenue Service has issued updated withholding tables and these should be incorporated into your payroll procedures. The “Making Work Pay” provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides taxpayers earning less than $75,000 with a tax credit up to $400. The new withholding tables reflect this tax credit. The goal is to increase the amount of money taken home by workers each week and, hopefully, these additional funds are used to stimulate the economy. Part of the negative economic news is the growing number of unemployed individuals. A proper concern for the government is that these individuals and their families continue to receive their healthcare benefits. Congress has made Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) benefits more affordable and it has changed the disclosures that must be made when an individual’s employment is terminated. Congress passed the landmark COBRA in 1986. COBRA provides for continuation of health benefits following termination of employment. Continuation is only temporary (18 months) and the employer is not required to pay any portion of the premium and may add a small administrative fee to the premium cost. Only businesses with 20 or more employees are required to provide COBRA coverage and to notify their employees of the availability of the coverage. However, many states have filled the gap for employees in companies with fewer than 20 employees, so state laws must be considered as well. The newly enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides for premium reductions and additional election opportunities for health benefits under COBRA. Eligible indi-


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viduals pay only 35 percent of their COBRA premiums and the remaining 65 percent is reimbursed to the coverage provider through a tax credit. The premium reduction applies to periods of health coverage beginning on or after Feb. 17, 2009, and lasts for up to nine months for those eligible for COBRA during the period beginning Sept. 1, 2008, and ending Dec. 31, 2009, due to an involuntary termination of employment that occurred during that period. It is entirely possible that if unemployment does not decrease, the eligible periods for coverage will be extended. In conjunction with the changes in COBRA, the notices that must be provided to departing employees have changed as well. BTA members can obtain a sample of the new COBRA Continuation Coverage Supplemental Notice on the BTA Web site, Click on “BTA Legal Services” in the left-hand column of the home page and then click on “Sample Contracts.” Look in the weekly BTA Hotline e-newsletter for additional requirements for these provisions and others. Both the economy and the rules are changing and ignorance of the law will not be an excuse. BTA will continue to keep you advised of the many changes.  Robert C. Goldberg is general counsel for the Business Technology Association. He can be reached at

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Making Strategy Stick It is up to senior leaders to ensure that it happens by: Joanne L. Smikle, Smikle Training Services

n enterprise cannot flourish without a clear, compelling strategy. It is strategy that drives resource allocation, market penetration and any number of other activities that define success for a company. So, if strategy is so important, why is it not consistently reflected in operations? The answer is simple. Without purposeful, consistent leadership attention, strategy will not stick. This article provides practical techniques for making strategy stick. Make it relevant — If your strategy is based on who you were in the 1990s, you had better wake up so that you can catch up and keep up. Invest the time and energy analyzing your strategic plan and the activities that it dictates. If your plan is a moldy oldie that no one remembers, it is time to begin the strategic planning process in earnest. Work to devise a relevant, succinct plan that will enable your company to reach its peak potential. Build accountability at all levels — Even the most senior staff must be held accountable for managing resources in a manner consistent with the organization’s strategic intent. Be certain that formal evaluation and performance management processes are well-aligned with your strategy. Measure key components of performance as they relate to your mission, vision and values — all of which are directly linked to strategy. Ensure that rewards and sanctions are used to reinforce the tenets of your strategy. Talk about it to anyone and everyone — Strategy that is only articulated in the annual report is not strategy at all. Senior leaders are responsible for talking about strategy and its relationship to every aspect of operations. Break it down to people in language that they can understand. Link strategy to each individual’s job. That means helping a service tech understand how handling every aspect of customer care impacts revenue, reputation and the bottom-line success of the company. That also means that you will find ways to integrate a discussion of strategy into every meeting, no matter how mundane the topic. Use measurement to close the strategy-to-performance


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gap — There is often a gap between wellarticulated strategy and actual performance. This occurs and persists because key elements of strategy determined in the planning pro c e ss are not c ombin ed w ith cl ear methods for monitoring. Avoid this trap by making sure that your strategic plan has many measurable elements. Measure and then communicate the results of those measurements to key stakeholders. Use the results of your measurement to recalibrate both the plan and all relevant activities. Use education to build ability at all levels — Provide adequate, ongoing education and training so that employees at all levels can fulfill their obligations to making strategy come to life. Make sure that all employees have the opportunity to be lifelong learners by offering customized training that enables them to develop mastery in their areas. When you have knowledgeable team members, they are more apt to not only understand strategy and how it guides the enterprise, but to also work harder to make it real in their departments. Stay the course — Employees lose faith and interest in enterprises that have daily shifts in strategy. Certainly the vicissitudes of today’s market make it necessary to be flexible, but strategy cannot bow to the whims and wishes of every executive. Instead, create compelling strategy that can weather the storms and bring the company through. Rather than tackling all of the techniques at once, select two and master them. Once you have developed mastery, you can move on to the next techniques. Strategy can stick and it can have meaning. It is up to senior leaders to make sure that happens. These tips will help you integrate strategy into every aspect of your company’s work.  Joanne L. Smikle provides consulting and training to companies across the country. She specializes in customer satisfaction, leadership and team development. She can be reached at (301) 596-3140. Visit

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EDUCATION CALENDAR June 11-12 BTA Sales Management Workshop

New Orleans, LA Taught by Ed Carroll and David Ramos of Strategy Development, this two-day workshop will provide dealership principals and sales managers at all levels a framework and tools so they can develop their sales employees and drive new business and more share of wallet in current accounts. This interactive workshop will help attendees form a business plan that they can implement upon returning to their dealerships.

11-12 BTA ProFinance

New Orleans, LA ProFinance instructors John Hanson and John Hey of Strategic Business Associates will teach you the financial model that helped them make the decisions that grew DC Hey from a $5 million to a $170 million IKON-acquired enterprise. In addition to helping you implement the model in your company, they will help you understand the strategies required to become more client and employee focused.

11-13 “Jazz it Up in New Orleans!”

New Orleans, LA In order to help dealers better position their companies for success in today’s volatile economy, the Southeast and Mid-America districts of the Business Technology Association are joining forces to host what is certain to be one of the industry’s premier educational and networking events of 2009. This conference provides a broad range of two-day front-runner education opportunities, including the BTA Sales Management Workshop, BTA ProFinance, CompTIA CDIA+ Training, Managed Print Success 2.0 and Changing Workplace Attitudes™. The outstanding General Registration education session line-up includes three sessions: “Is Your Service Department Reactive or Proactive?,” taught by Jack Duncan, “Creating Incentive Programs for Non-Sales Employees,” taught by Jim Kahrs, and “Print Management: How to Successfully Launch & Measure a Program,” taught by Tom Callinan. A reception and dinner will also be held to allow attendees to network and learn from their fellow office technology dealers.

24-25 BTA Professional Services Workshop

Chicago, IL With the focus on software solutions to drive growth and differentiate their dealerships from the competition, the formation of a professional services team is an ideal strategy for dealers. Taught by Mitch Morgan of CEO Focus, the BTA Professional Services Workshop focuses on the critical success factors necessary to build a successful professional services team. Each participant will leave the workshop with a clear professional services road map for success with goals, targets and milestones based on the unique characteristics of his or her dealership. For additional information or to register for courses or events, visit or call (800) 843-5059.

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BTA HIGHLIGHTS The following new members joined BTA during the month of March:

Dealer Members A & E Office Machines Inc., Morgan City, LA Aaron’s Products Inc., Huntington, WV Advanced Laser Printer Service & Supplies Inc., Emigsville, PA DDL Business Systems, Stephens City, VA Digital Document Solutions, Fall River, MA Laser Line, Linthicum, MD TPM, Greenville, SC Service Associate Members BEI Services Inc., Cody, WY Merriman Coaching, Atlanta, GA Photizo Group, Versailles, KY For full contact information of these new members, visit

2009 Channel’s Choice Report The complete 2009 Channel's Choice report is now available for download. This comprehensive report offers a detailed look at the results of the balloting process, providing comparisons of how dealers rate the performance and support of each of the industry's leading manufacturers. Members may download a copy of the complete report by visiting and clicking on “Research” in the left-hand column of the home page. You will need your member log-in and password. For more information on BTA member benefits, visit

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For the benefit of its dealer members, each month, BTA profiles two of its Vendor or Service Associate members in this space.

BTA Service Associate member Emerald Executive Search (EES) is an elite office equipment recruiting firm formed in 1998 by CEO Kelli Moss-Teuber who has 23 years of industry experience. EES provides a personal touch to recruiting because it works exclusively on behalf of the office equipment industry. Choosing the right candidate has always been an expensive, time-consuming task fraught with risk. And with today's sea of talent, making the right choice is more challenging than ever. EES excels at recruiting because it possesses the industry experience and knowledge that assures you make the first choice the right choice. BTA Vendor Associate member Equitrac is a world leader in device-embedded and terminal-based software to authorize, authenticate and account for use of today’s multifunction printers, copiers, faxes and scanners. Equitrac solutions provide measurable results for professional firms, educational institutions and any enterprise that needs to make networked printing more manageable, economical, convenient and secure. A full list of BTA Vendor and Service Associate members can be found online at

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Solution Sales Professionals Are they aligning their behavior to desired results? by: Teresa Hiatt, Ricoh Americas Corp.

n book search for “solution selling” will return more than 2,000 books related to the subject. Solution selling has been the lead topic of most sales conferences, dealer research projects and industry predictions for the last seven years. Unless an organization involved in the dealer channel has just crawled out from under a rock, no one can have missed that transitioning to a more solutions-based approach is a key ingredient required for sales success today. Now that we have fully digested the topic in theory, how can we realistically assess our sales-force composition and make an honest judgment about whether we are approaching our customers with a solution mindset? Here are five signs of a solution sales professional competency model that can be used as a concrete example to start the process.


Sales Activity Traditionally, a sales representative spends most of his (or her) time prospecting, “feet-on-the-street” cold-calling and closing deals. The solution sales professional has adjusted his activities to focus more on conducting a real needs assessment and building customer relationships. Because the solution model means that the focus is on solving customer needs, it is actually easier to find customers when you are not trying to sell them one particular type of product. More time spent on understanding the customer’s business means that when a proposal uniquely tuned to the customer’s needs is presented with a compelling reason for the customer to purchase, it takes less time to close. It also means the sales professional stays involved after the sale to ensure value is delivered. The chart on this page provides a summary that can be compared with a sales professional’s actual activity to reveal if he is solutions focused. Technical Knowledge Historically, sales representatives have left technical knowledge of products and services to the role of pre-sales technical support (sales engineers). The solution sales professional does not have that luxury. Solution selling requires an understanding of combining products and services in unique combi-

nations. It is too costly to involve a technical resource for every prospect, so sales professionals in this new model must have a basic understanding of the capabilities of the products and services that might meet a customer’s needs. Obviously, the sales professional will not be the resource providing technical details, but a savvy customer expects fundamental competency from a salesperson. A good way to judge sales-force readiness in this area is to query how long it has been since a sales professional has attended a real, hands-on, instructor-led workshop on products or services. If it has been more than one year ago, the sales force is more than likely reverting to box selling. This has been a danger with the move to more cost-efficient, but less effective, eLearning-only training models. The sales staff members end up with skin-deep knowledge that quickly breaks apart when they are faced with a realworld customer. Account Management Sales professionals in the solution provider model have to plan out their strategy with customers. They need a customer relationship management process and it needs to be used effectively. This means that it needs to be sharable between technical resources, management and other sales team members. When you find a sales rep hoarding account information in a local-only ACT, Goldmine or, heaven forbid, on paper, he is not approaching accounts strategically. Solution selling can often require a team of resources, including thirdparty providers. Without the ability to prepare a project plan, assign tasks to the right resources and track execution of the w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | M a y 2 0 0 9 | 33

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Trusted Advisor The final factor that truly defines a A key characteristic of solution sales professional revolves asolution selling is that round how he develops customer relationsalespeople take the ships. Traditionally, salespeople close a time to research a deal and then file the customer away to customer’s business resume the relationship months or years and learn their business down the road when the customer will goals and objectives. possibly be in the market for equipment Business Acumen again . Under the solutions provider A key characteristic of solution selling is that salespeople model, the sales professional follows up during the install, take the time to research a customer’s business and learn their ensures that the value promised is delivered and continues to business goals and objectives. They examine items such as review the customer environment for incremental improveannual reports, income statements and balance sheets. By def- ments. He becomes a trusted adviser to the customer and inition, this means that the sales force of a solution provider builds true customer loyalty. As noted in the chart on page 33, has a fundamental knowledge of financial statements and 20 percent of a sales professional’s time is spent growing business accounting. Salespeople need to understand how deeper and wider into the customer account. their ability to offer new products and services increases gross While solution selling is a hot topic in the sales world, these margins, understand how the use of company resources characteristics can give some hard and fast insight into how well impacts margins and demonstrate for customers the links your sales force is aligning its behavior to the desired results.  Teresa Hiatt is director of sales education at Ricoh between implementing solutions and financial outcomes. Americas Corp. In her eight years at Ricoh, she has A recent white paper from the Perth Leadership Institute worked with Ricoh teams for the purposes of conducting argues that the economic downturn demands that the develresearch into sales training, setting global opment of business acumen should be the top priority. “When sales strategies and delivering times are good and money is plentiful, the focus is on interpersales training programs. sonal skills because the priority is not profitability,” says E. Ted She can be reached at Prince, founder and CEO of Perth Leadership Institute. “When times are bad, the focus needs to move to business acumen Visit because company survival is often at stake.” plan, important details can be lost. Each salesperson should have at least a strategic plan with tactics for at least his top 10 accounts or departments within an account. A quick inspection of these top 10 accounts for project plans can be revealing. If these plans are not ready for inspection, they probably do not exist.

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May 2009 Office Technology  
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Office Technology magazine is the magazine of the Business Technology Association, an association of copier/MFP dealers.