What? Another acronym for our already acronym heavy world of the printing & imaging channel?
Well, it doesn’t have to be referred to as MCS necessarily, more importantly it is what we here at Fontware preach as the “Mid Contract Strategy”.
But what exactly do we mean when we say this and why should you take notice?
In our travels and discussions around the UK and beyond with our partner channel, we talk a lot about the benefits of adding solutions to a portfolio that consists predominantly of MPS (exactly how MPS is defined by each organisation is a whole other conversation too). A heavy focus on MPS is very common and we have previously discussed right here in this blog about ensuring the future of your business by integrating solutions to compliment an MPS strategy, but we’re not necessarily talking about that today.
The MCS approach is all about striking a balance between finding the easiest way to introduce solutions (or more of it) as part of your business, and ensuring you start with the easiest targets.
It’s a regular occurrence for some partners to discuss with us how difficult it would be to start promoting solutions in earnest when the MPS sale cycle is more complex, competitive and in some cases longer than it has ever been, and that there just isn’t room to “squeeze it in” at this stage.
Not an invalid argument to a certain degree, but this is where the Mid Contract Strategy comes in to play.
When taking on solutions or enhancing existing solutions offerings, many partners automatically think of trying to sell them when engaging with new business during the initial MPS stages, much as you often do with a Pull Print solution these days, but a Mid Contract Strategy encourages something different.
If you are providing a true MPS offering to your customers you will be reviewing and monitoring their estate throughout its lifetime, ensuring continuation of service and customer satisfaction. Perhaps quarterly, 6 monthly or annual review meetings take place between you and your customers.
THAT is where you need to start the solutions process, NOT when you are trying to sign up a customer on to an MPS. Of course, if the customer asks you at the initial MPS bidding stage you’re not going to turn them down, but outside of that situation, target your clients in Mid Contract first!
They will be more receptive to you due to an existing relationship, if they have been happy with the service from their MPS agreement with you then they will more than likely trust what you say more than any competitor, and you can easily enter a “solutions” conversation in those contract review processes.
It’s really not rocket science, and we are not claiming to be the first people to think of this either, but we do genuinely think this represents the most effective method of approaching solution sales, especially if you are only just starting to introduce solutions as part of your portfolio alongside MPS or have done very little previously.
Many partners have a great existing MIF, with some great clients and client relationships, housing fantastic potential for solution sales – If you don’t get in there with solutions for those clients now, you may find that your advanced competitors sneak in there before you!
Those few channel partners of ours who are already using a “Mid Contract Strategy” or similar for solutions are quite happily nurturing more and more margin than just the original MPS solution yields, while also helping their customers cut costs even further, gain more trust and end up with greater customer retention.
Isn’t it your turn?
Feel free to contact me directly to have an informal chat around this subject and how we can help, or to find out more about the solutions we offer.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel: 01489 505 075