Top Five Qualities for a Managed Print Services Vendor Who Works with MSPs

Top five qualities for a managed print services vendor who works with MSP_Web Banner (1)

As a managed service provider (MSP), you should pick your vendor partners with the highest level of diligence.

Vendors are an extension of your brand - and if you pick a vendor that does not align with your company’s values, they will only slow you down and damage your reputation.

And while we recommend you take all of your vendor selections seriously, we’re focusing this article on your relationship with your preferred managed print vendor.

Partnering with a managed print vendor can create enormous value for your business, allowing your MSP to offload labor and create more income opportunities for your business

So make sure you pick the right one!

Print Partner is the preferred print vendor for hundreds of MSPs throughout the country. In our commitment to servicing the IT community, we want to assist you in making an informed decision on which print vendor to partner with.

In this article, we will review five of the top qualities you should look for when choosing a print vendor to work with.

1. The Print Vendor Collaborates with Your MSP on Service

In our experience working with MSPs, collaboration is the single most crucial piece of any print partnership.

It’s no secret that the MSP and managed print spaces are intertwined. That’s because printing is essential to most offices’ technology suite.

That’s why your MSP has likely been forced into troubleshooting printers - and it’s not fun!

When print devices are not working, there may be times when network issues are at play - issues beyond the scope of the managed print provider - and you may need to work with them to resolve issues.

So choose a print vendor with the same level of care as when you recruit a new employee - after all, this is a team you’ll have to work with!

When your MSP works with a print vendor, ensure it functions as your partner in the service process.  That print vendor should collaborate with you when needed and be experts in supporting the devices they sell.

Picking a competent vendor that collaborates with you on service will make your MSP’s job that much easier. Handing the print suite off to your vendor will free your team up to work on more critical, impactful, and lucrative projects.

2. The Print Vendor Does Not Sell MSP Services

Because IT and print support are so intertwined, many of today’s managed print providers now sell general IT support in addition to their traditional print suite.

These print vendors attempt to compete with MSPs with their own slapped-on IT services. These service suites are often lackluster compared to those of dedicated IT service providers.

You know this, and we know this, but not every prospective client knows this.

Because so many print vendors now sell IT services, we recommend every MSP get to know their clients’ print vendors. If you turn a blind eye to print, you could be leaving your clients wide open to be poached by their print providers. To learn more, read: What Are the Costs of Ignoring Print?

Here’s how it goes: at your client’s quarter business review (QBR), their print vendor probes for pain points in their current IT service. If your client comes up with something, even a minor pet peeve, they go into the sales pitch.

And most print vendors perform reviews every quarter - do you really want your competitors pitching to your client base four times a year?

Find a print partner that stays in their lane. And if you do work with a print vendor that sells MSP services, consider asking them to sign a non-compete agreement - otherwise, what’s stopping them from snatching your business?

3. The Print Vendor Handles Sales & Service

When choosing a print vendor with an MSP partnership program, you have a variety of options.

But many print vendors - at least the ones operating nationally - make their MSP partners do all the heavy lifting. Let me explain.

Most print partnership programs advertise their extensive list of brands and solutions that your MSP can provide clients if you partner with them. Programs will promote how they can help your MSP become one of their print agents.

But that’s just the thing - most MSPs don’t want to be print agents! Far from it.

In our experience working with hundreds of MSPs throughout the country, we’ve found that the overwhelming majority of our partners want to distance themselves from the print world as much as possible.

Most MSPs have their plates full with high-priority projects - the last thing they want to do is start selling and managing print devices.

That being said, every MSP is different. If your organization is seriously considering delving into managing print yourselves, read our article: MSPs: Managing Print In-House vs. Through a 3rd Party

But if you don’t want extra work to burden your team with, find a partner that does the selling, the marketing, the service, and support for you!

4. The Print Vendor Prioritizes Standardization

There’s a reason why everyone likes to dunk on print devices. They are complex, expensive, bulky machines. And if copiers weren’t confusing enough, countless makes and models are on the market, each with unique interfaces and equipment parts.

So find a vendor that makes printing easy! 

We’ve found that standardizing print fleets makes everyone’s life much simpler. Having only a few device models makes switching between machines a breeze for device users.

This is especially true for clients with multiple locations. If their fleets are standardized and on the same network, users can pick up right where they left off, even when traveling between sites.

On the service side, standardization makes troubleshooting copiers and printers much, much more straightforward.

When device issues arise in a disorganized, chaotic print environment, and you collaborate with your print partner to solve the problem, you must go on a wild goose chase to figure out how 20 different devices work.

But only supporting two or three device models is manageable, allowing you to quickly resolve issues with your partner so you can get back to higher-priority tasks.

To learn more about the benefits of standardization, read: Top Benefits of Standardizing Your Clients’ Print Fleet

5. The Print Vendor Compensates You for Referrals

Everything we mentioned above is great. But nothing compares to cold, hard cash, baby!

When you enter a print partnership, make sure they pay you for your referrals.

When you refer business to your print partner, you provide tremendous value to them. Don’t forget that. 

Depending on the case size, they could make hundreds to thousands of dollars monthly from just one referral. Plus, they save money on marketing and sales when you refer them to businesses. Of course they should pay you for referrals!

While every MSP-Print program has a different compensation model, we wanted to provide you with an example of one: ours! Here’s a breakdown of what Print Partner pays our MSPs:

  • First, we pay $250 to our MSP partners for each qualified referral. If we get a copy of the prospect’s current print agreement, we pay an additional $250. Regardless of whether or not we seal the deal, you will get paid!

  • Later, if we do make the sale, we pay our MSP partners $1,000 per copier sold. 

  • After the client is onboarded, our referral partners receive 5% of the lifetime print allotment across all customers they have introduced to us. Partners that have closed deals can continue receiving compensation for years after the initial introduction.

  • If the client needs new machines in the future, you’ll still get paid $1,000 on each copier sold and 5% on their print allotment, even if the sale happens years after the initial introduction.

Find a partner that pays you for introductions, sales, print allotment, and future transactions - A partner that knows the value that you provide for them.

Print Partner Working with MSPs

If you are looking for a preferred print vendor that checks off all the categories we reviewed today, look no further than Print Partner!

We pride ourselves on creating a unique, collaborative print support experience for our MSPs and clients.

When you refer clients to us, we take complete ownership of the account. We handle everything from the sales process to the service that comes after. When you work with us, you’ll no longer have to deal with those pesky print support calls that bog your team down.

We also emphasize standardization, cleaning up your clients’ print fleet to make everyone’s job easier.

And best of all, we’ll pay you for referrals! Get paid to do less work - not bad!

If you want to offload print tasks and make money while doing so, consider partnering with us, a Print Partner you can trust.

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