Implementing Managed Print Services within your Law Firm? Watch Out for BELLS & WHISTLES!

by Alex Hutchinson on September 24, 2014

We were recently invited to meet with a Law Firm, as they had just reviewed their Multifunctional Devices, Photocopiers & Network Printers with 3 x Resellers / Dealers.

They had been offered “FREE PRINT AUDITS” and had taken the dealers up on their offers hoping to find a more suitable solution / way forward for their firm, with Managed Print Services. Needless to say, involving Salespeople and trying to get advice, didn’t given them the results they were expecting!

The reality was that each of the recommendations, in some way, delivered benefits & cost savings – which is positive. The problem was that they were not confident to move forward with any recommendation, as they were all advising them to go in different directions with Managed Print Services. They didn’t have any REAL CONFIDENCE in one solution or another so couldn’t risk moving forward.

They had invested a large amount of time and energy in this project and we’re frustrated. The problem here is BELLS & WHISTLES!

The basics of this are that it is difficult to get REAL ADVICE from an individual who is paid to sell particular products, paid commission in the profit in the deal and also targeted on the number of units to sell. All these “conflicts of interest” mean that the business model they work to directly conflicts with YOUR GOALS and it also drives certain behaviour.

If you are reviewing this area of spend with a Salesperson then here are a few simple tips for you to consider:

  • Understand the goals of each individual supplier, along with their business model and THEIR GOALS. It is important to see if they match yours and if not you need to take this into account or find an alternative advice.
  •  Individuals are normally targeted on Profit / Margin in the Deal, No. of units sold and there is a minimum of each to be achieved each month. They can also be incentivised with a higher commission if software is included. Consider how this may affect any advice / recommendation?
  • Salespeople are employed to SELL… Yes we all know this, but think about how introducing new software / solutions to try and “differentiate” from the competition may play a part in any recommendation. Software / Solutions are typically a focus for trying to differentiate and win the deal, whilst retaining margin.
  • One problem with this, is that the focus can shift for suppliers to introduce “bells & whistles” to differentiate (to win the deal) – instead of focussing on really understanding the customer, their requirements and also the users & their workflow.
  • Does the supplier really understand the business and requirements of the users, as well as the workflow and what creates bottlenecks? This can be crucial as you may find there are certain pieces of software which seem great at an overview level but just don’t work FOR YOU in practice.
  • Speak to the users yourselves, if in doubt, as we’ve seen a number of cases where a solutions is recommend and it all looks great on paper. After digging deeper, to really understand the requirements – you can soon see that it is either not even required or in some cases actually increases bottlenecks!
  • What is the optimum way for the USERS to work and to output workflow / workload? There is a difference between this and what solutions the supplier has in their price book, to help them win deals.
    It is important that users buy into any solution and see the benefit to the business as well as their productivity.
  • Fancy solutions and increased amounts of software can create bottle necks at a user level with authentication / issues / user error / training requirements etc. make sure you factor all of this in and have a real understanding of the time it will take to implement and iron out any teething problems – what is the cost of this and will you get REAL support from the supplier once any commitment has been given?
  • Sometimes simple is best!

Just a note here that we are not knocking individals / salespeople – I have been one of those salespeople and there are SOME nice people out there. The purpose of this article is to offer some tips / advice and also simplify and highlight how some suppliers business models can conflict directly with the goals of you, your project, your business, your users. TBA Group have an alternative offering which removes these conflicts of interest – so there is an alternative available!

Author: Alex Hutchinson is the author behind and Director at TBA Group, an Independent Office Equipment Consultancy, which offers expert advice to Clients across the Private Sector.

“We help clients identify what they need and NOT what someone wants to SELL them… (there’s a big difference). We do this with a 100% transparent process, (even down to pricing / pre-agreed margins) and cover the whole life cycle, from review to installation to service / maintenance. More importantly, we do all of this under a business model which removes ALL the conflicts of interest, problems and frustrations which can come from dealing with Salespeople from the industry standard resellers / dealers.” to find out more or to arrange a phone call with Alex Hutchinson visit TBA Group

Alex Hutchinson
My name is Alex Hutchinson and I am Partner of the Professional Services Division at TBA Group. We are an Independent Office Equipment Consultancy which helps clients review all areas of their Office Equipment (Multifunctional Devices / Network Printers / Scanners etc) and implement a more Productive & Efficient solutions whilst also reducing operating costs - more importantly our model helps clients remove the time, problems and frustrations Clients experience when trying to review this area of spend productively and accurately with Salespeople! We enable clients to understand WHAT'S RIGHT FOR THEIR FIRM and NOT just WHAT SOMEONE WANTS TO SELL THEM... there's a big difference. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or would like to discuss any issues / requirements - I'm always happy to help. Just make contact via our website and i'll be in touch: Alex Hutchinson Partner - Professional Services Division TBA Group
Alex Hutchinson
Alex Hutchinson

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