May 11, 2016
On its website, CIG’s Sarah Henderson, Director of MPS Solutions, noted that as MPS’ business model “matures, I often hear from dealers that MPS programmes have become more about offering the lowest cost per page (CPP) rather than about selling solutions”. She adds that while many providers “focus on the benefits and value proposition of MPS”, there are a range of “providers and competitors who may be willing to quote a lower CPP”.
This can frustrate sales managers “struggling with close ratios or reps asking for margin concessions”, while owners might see MPS as “a thorn in their sides” if the programme is not “performing at acceptable margins”, and reps “may struggle to sell on the value of their MPS programme versus the competition”. She then cites InfoTrends research that expects MPS to “continue to grow into 2020”, and believes dealers should “re-evaluate and invest”, not abandon their programmes.
One “major part of overcoming the challenges” can be addressed “via more effective marketing and training sales teams”, as “effective positioning” can help “improve close ratios via differentiation within local markets”, as well as “improve margins by selling value versus price”. Henderson then addresses the “drivers of effective MPS marketing”, which she says are “key in developing tactics for MPS programme positioning and the affiliated marketing outcomes”.
Her first tip is to “get vertical”, as you “don’t want to be stating the same message as your competition”, and should instead “take time to look at your local market and understand the major industries”, focusing on verticals “where you have had some success or feel you have a sizeable prospect pool”. Studying customers can help “find accounts to develop”, while sections of markets can be considered, before planning how to market and support your programme.
Second is focusing on “different decision-makers”, such as CIOs or CFOs, as marketing to specific roles is “key in getting the right decision maker to take the call”, and targeting marketing at that executive, as well as subscribing to “local financial publications or business journals” to identify decision makers, is recommended. Third is “the environmental message”, with Henderson citing that this can be a “key differentiator and never lost anyone business”.
In turn, developing this into marketing and then targeting companies “that have green initiatives or teams” will help, as corporate marketing departments “are generally excited to have additional ‘good news’ to promote”. She also mentions CIG’s partnership with PrintReleaf as an example of how an environmental partnership can provide “key environmental messages”.
The fourth tip is “business process optimisation”, with Henderson pointing out that this should be “at the heart and soul” of MPS, because it is “essential to programme marketing”. Companies should “focus on the outcomes and key benefits”, and demonstrate costs in the process “that are not critical functions for the business to drive revenue”, as you can then “cut through the clutter and get a prospect’s attention”.
Finally, she recommends that dealers “be a consultant”, as if you focus on developing salespeople, you can grow and become “more profitable”. Advertising “has to match the customer experience”, and the dealership culture “must align to provide the customer experience that is promised”.
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