Read the below from PrintFleet’s David Brown, to learn how remote monitoring can help generate better leads for your managed print services by targeting consumers’ specific needs:


We all want more sales and there are opportunities right under our noses.  At any given time, there are opportunities within our existing customer environments.  How do we find them?  Our customers may bring some of them to our attention depending on the scope and severity, but most will go unnoticed.

At the same time, many of you are using a remote monitoring tool to manage your customer environment.  The majority are collecting meters, some are doing proactive or automated supply fulfillment, and a few of you are even using it for proactive service triage.

Aside from an assessment, almost no one is using data in a sales context.  When I talk to owners, one of their top issues is driving more sales.  We talk a lot about developing salespeople and spend a lot of money on training and concepts.   While there is value in these programs, my point is that we have data in our organizations that can have an immediate and profound impact on our sales opportunities.

What are the consequences of perpetually disconnected devices?  Admittedly, this is a negative twist on the concept, but its worth exploring because disconnected data in our business is the status quo.  In the office print realm, this is the way sales has been done forever.  Everyone needs to print.  Pick a speed, pick a feed, do you need a finisher?  Sign here, keep in touch and when the customer needs them, sell new devices.  Again, keep in touch, take the key accounts to lunch, stop by with donuts, you get the picture.  That model worked well for a long time.  It was fine.  It was the best we had.

Remote monitoring tools came along and were used mainly as a means to collect meters instead of as a tool to proactively identifying sales opportunities.  Our industry has to become uncomfortable with the idea of disconnected devices.  Someone once said, “Ignorance is bliss.”  That’s not true — ignorance is risk.  Disconnected data is not being aware of how your customers are using the devices you sell them.  It’s not being aware of potential sales opportunities.  It’s also not being aware of competitive threats.  The idea that what you don’t know won’t hurt you is an extremely dangerous one in a mature and highly competitive marketplace like office printing.

Wouldn’t you rather know when devices are down or experiencing problems?

Wouldn’t you rather know when they need additional supplies?

Wouldn’t you rather know that a device is being over or under-utilized?

Wouldn’t you rather know if a device shows up on your customer’s network that you didn’t sell them?

With connected printers, life gets better for everyone in the supply chain but the group still overlooked in this ecosystem is sales.  Consider if you had visibility into each individual device in your fleet.  Let’s start from simply a hardware sales aspect because that may be the most interesting use case for sales.  Isn’t it helpful to know at a glance when devices are approaching end of life or which assets are the oldest?  Which ones are causing the most trouble in terms of jamming or other service issues?  Which devices aren’t being optimally utilized?  Which ones consume the most power?

You can have a view into how many of your devices they’re placing versus your competitors.

For example, you know you put two new devices in a customer’s legal department three months ago.  Wouldn’t it be helpful to know they put a device in finance that you didn’t sell them?  Some might say at that point it’s too late, that you didn’t get the sale.  Is that device on a service and supplies contract?  If you have most of their devices, it might be easy to add it your contract.  That’s a sale and that’s revenue you wouldn’t otherwise have had you not used the data to your advantage.

You can already see that you can go much deeper in a business review meeting with an existing client or point out areas of concern when assessing new customer environments. Much of the time, we look at this capability from the ongoing management standpoint of providing a managed print solution, but the data is also useful from a sales perspective when looking at fleets and helping customers understand when is the right time to replace a device and how the efficiencies of a new device will offset the cost.

Are they printing too much for a machine or do they have more horsepower than they actually need based on how they’re printing?  Do they have the right function mix?  You can review activity in a given timeframe and quickly see if, for example, your customers are printing twice as much each month as they did a year ago.  Are they efficient?  Should they purchase a more robust device?

Are they scanning more?  Why?  What or where are they scanning to?  Do they need a scan to cloud solution?  Do they require more multifunction devices now?  This view of data and trends opens the door for a host of new discussions to take place.  There is so much information available that can lead to more consultative questions and better dialogue with your customers.

Connected data allows your salespeople to proactively seek out opportunities rather than just going to a quarterly business review and asking, “What keeps you up at night?”  It allows them to be more engaged, more consultative and more valuable to your customers.  That value retains customers, builds greater trust and creates sales.