Written by:
Howard Fenton
Senior Technology Consultant
NAPL

As I write this, I am preparing for the seminar “PSP to MSP: A Step by Step Roadmap” at Graph Expo. This has become a controversial and hot subject. There will be many presentations on this subject, made by different people, and most will focus on specific tactical objectives. For example, my presentations typically talk about mastering the following: digital printing, simple addressing, mail-merge applications, variable data printing, email marketing, QR codes, pURLs, etc.

But as I organize this, I am finding that there are a host of other questions that are difficult to discuss in a 90-minute presentation. These include:

  • How do you decide which product to pursue? Is it in response to a customer need? Is it based on upgrading an existing successful service (from addressing to VDP)? Is it based on market opportunity that is growing? Is it because it is a natural progression (VDP, email marketing, pURLS, etc.)?
  • Once you have decided on the direction, how do you tell customers? Do you wait until it’s installed? Do you include your sales people in the process?
  • How important is training? Do you budget for training? And if yes, is it production or sales training? Is it one-off or ongoing? How do you measure the success?
  • Do you hire, outsource or train someone to do marketing? Do you write a “go to market” strategy? Obviously the more time devoted to marketing the better, but can a smaller company afford to have a marketing person?
  • How do you factor risks into your decision-making process? Are there strategies that can minimize risks?
  • How do you handle sales? There is a controversy in the industry about training sales people to sell different products such as variable data printing or marketing services. Can you expect all your sales people to learn to sell new products or should you train them to identify the opportunity and have a specialist brought in to complete the sale?

 

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Howard Fenton is a Senior Technology Consultant at NAPL. Howie advises commercial printers, in-plants, and manufacturers on workflow management, operations, digital services, and customer research. He is a paid contributor to this blog.