Why Have Print Vendors Started Offering MSP Services?
Managed print services (MPS) are a staple of large-scale office environments, and for a good reason.
For multi-site companies with robust printing infrastructures, managing their print-related equipment, supplies, and costs is complicated.
It’s no wonder why companies turn to experts that specialize in print management, so they don’t have to do it themselves.
However, while managed print services are still a vital part of many offices, the world has changed very quickly during the last few years, and many offices don’t print as much as they used to.
And so, to adapt to the harsh printing climate, many managed print providers are moving over to the managed service provider (MSP) space. In recent years, more and more print vendors now offer IT support services in an attempt to compete with MSPs.
And the scariest part? Many of these print vendors are already talking to your clients and trying to poach them away from you. That’s why you should always have a pulse on the print vendors your clients work with - do they sell services that compete with you?
At Print Partner, we are committed to supporting our MSP partners. We know that many MSPs are rightfully concerned about other print vendors sneaking in and snatching business away from them, and we want to shed some light on this troubling phenomenon.
In this article, we’ll cover why print vendors have started offering MSP-related services and what your MSP can do to fight back!
1. Diversification of Services
Managed print vendors are looking to cast a wider net than just print.
The first main reason is that they want to diversify their portfolio of products and services. Diversification is a common technique across most industries and has numerous benefits.
An article from the Corporate Finance Institute covers the main benefits of product diversification:
- Diversification reduces the risks MPS vendors’ businesses face in an industry downturn. Never put all of your eggs in one basket.
- Diversification leads to a broader selection of options for MPS clients. With high-quality additions to their suite, diversification can significantly boost a vendor’s brand image and bottom line.
- Diversification can be used as a competitive edge. By diversifying products or services, a company can become a “one-stop-shop,” giving it an edge against competitors. A vendor who sells it all - print and IT support - can be a simple and appealing option for consumers.
Diversification is an easy way to make businesses more resilient against market demand fluctuations while adding additional revenue to MPS vendors’ suites.
And with the ever-changing nature of office technology, MPS vendors are pressured more than ever to adapt and reevaluate their business model.
2. Synergy of Managed Print and IT Support
MSPs and MPS vendors have many things in common; there’s no doubt about it.
Both aim to optimize their clients’ office technology suites with high-quality products and services.
And, as you’ve likely noticed, many clients think of their print vendors and MSPs as interchangeable. This is why MSPs often get those pesky print support calls.
When troubleshooting print devices, MSPs regularly have to get involved. The print device’s issues can often be tied to networking or security issues beyond messing around with the copier settings.
Because print vendors have to collaborate with managed service providers frequently, many have concluded that they may as well sell IT support themselves.
But as you’ve likely observed, print vendors have executed IT support with varying degrees of success.
At Print Partner, we’ve first-hand observed the synergy between managed print and MSPs. In fact, we’ve based our entire business model around it!
We are focused on partnering with IT experts to take advantage of MSP-MPS synergy; we reap the benefits of collaborating with IT experts rather than attempting to provide MSP services ourselves. And we highly recommend you take advantage of this synergy as well.
If you don’t want to sell print services, consider partnering with a print vendor that has your back! To learn how to evaluate potential print partners for your MSP, read: MSPs: How to Choose a Print Partner
3. Competing with Print Vendors and MSPs
Finally, there’s competition. Like any other business, managed print vendors are looking for a competitive advantage - a leg up on their competitors.
Because of the previously-mentioned synergistic benefits an MSP service suite offers, adding IT services to a print vendor’s arsenal seems like an obvious choice.
Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. When shopping for a print vendor that offers IT support on top of their managed print, it seems like an obvious choice to work with them over a competitor that only sells print.
Consumers generally appreciate working with partners that provide as many solutions as possible.
Consider this philosophy for your MSP’s business. If you want to fight back against print vendors encroaching on your turf, ensure that you have an answer for print just like they have a solution for IT support.
This doesn’t mean you have to sell print in-house. While it is an option, most MSPs would rather work with a third-party preferred print vendor, so they don’t have to restructure their business model to support print.
To learn the pros and cons of in-house print vs. working with a vendor, read: MSPs: Managing Print In-House vs. Through a 3rd Party
Also, make sure you can demonstrate why your IT support is superior to theirs. So many brilliant IT technicians are stunted by their inability to explain their support processes in layman's terms.
You have the best IT support on the market - but if you don’t know how to explain it or demonstrate it, who cares!
If you’re looking for more tips on selling your MSP services, read: 5 Steps to Improve Your MSP Sales
Print Partner and MSPs
Competing with other MSPs in your market is a challenge in itself. But print vendors honing in on your space creates yet another hurdle.
Print vendors are sales organizations, while most MSPs are service organizations. And sales organizations are always selling!
At Print Partner, we understand your struggles. We founded this channel because we saw so many print vendors slapping on IT support services, and we knew there was a better way of doing business.
We are committed to supporting our MSP partners - we supplement your IT services with managed print services provided by our parent company, Green Office Partner.
Using our unique approach, our MSP partners get to keep selling IT services while they reap the benefits of diversification when they refer clients to us. Plus, you’ll sleep soundly at night knowing that your clients are working with a print vendor that is not trying to compete with your MSP suite.
Plus, we pay you! For each referral, Print Partner pays our MSP partners at least $250 just for the introduction, plus $1,000 per copier sold and up to 5% of the client’s lifetime print allotment.
We pay you, we collaborate with you, and we protect you from the competition. So consider partnering with us, a Print Partner you can trust.