Let’s be honest about one thing. Regardless of how you slice it, either seat-based, device-based or any other formula that helps devise a monthly invoice for clients, the operative word is “monthly.” Actually, the full (and desired) term is “monthly recurring revenue.”
Oh, how sweet it is.
And while we’re having a frank, Taster’s Choice moment among amigos, let’s cut to the chase. If there is any mechanism that ensures clients are getting everything they need in one neat, tidy bundle, and that cost is as close to static as possible, and they absolutely love the cost certainty for purposes of budgetary considerations…that is a beautiful thing.
Dealers hate a one-off sale. It’s like a bag of cotton candy, and the sugar wears off when there’s no service or supply rider attached to it. Imagine selling just the MFP box, with nothing else…the mere thought makes the stomach turn. Fortunately, our sales are built for the long haul, with leases and meter readings and service. And those sales will return…the new “c” word can’t last forever.
Yes, everything you needed to know about business can be learned in line at your local McDonald’s restaurant. Want fries and soda with that? Never mind, we have a package deal. We also have bundle boxes, containing enough Big Macs to ensure your cardiologist will spend three weeks in Spain next summer. There’s the dollar menu, apple pies, sundaes and McFlurries. Cookies the size of a Range Rover. Of course, in this scenario, it’s temptation that’s doing the upsell, rather than a seasoned sales pro.
Fortunately, the dealer/reseller community is adept enough at recognizing different paths to satiating the hunger of clients, and they are hot on the trail of providing other ancillary products and services that speak to the need for monthly recurring revenue. For Chip Miceli, president and CEO of Pulse Technology, video walls and cybersecurity have a huge upside for MRR potential.
“In the beginning, people just wanted to buy the video walls, but they don’t have ongoing training and they don’t have ongoing content,” he said. “So we’ve been putting things together to provide both the ongoing content and training.”
While Gordon Flesch Company (GFC) doesn’t have any new or pending MRR offerings, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, Kelly Moran, notes the company’s in-house financing arm enables it to offer any service or technology as part of a bundle.
“We bring things to a payment conversation as a matter of habit,” he said. “Seventy-six percent of all the orders that we write on the entire print side are done through our financing. Only a small percentage of them, probably less than five percent, are not on a bundled payment.”
West McDonald, founder of the West McDonald Co., touts the ability of companies like GFC being able to move more swiftly and be more reactive to the needs of clients. For those dealers without the in-house option, they are at the mercy of financing providers.
“GreatAmerica has been paying a lot of attention to the flat-rate model and helping dealers do that, but they’re the only one that I know of, from an outside perspective, that is doing it. You either have to offer it in-house to make it a lot easier, or somebody has to start shaking some sticks at their finance provider to get them to move and provide other options.”
It’s impossible to talk about future offerings without examining the cloud’s role in fostering opportunities, and that certainly is the case at Pacific Office Automation. President Doug Pitassi notes his company is geared toward customers who want either on-premise or cloud-based solutions and is content to follow the client’s lead. But he sees the writing on the wall for on-premise and a growing acceptance of cloud solutions.
“We are a provider that has an open mind, and we want to move as fast as the market moves,” he said. “But we understand that some customers are not ready – they’re concerned about security and breaches – so some of the solutions that we provide are not cloud solutions. Fast forward five years, and you’re going to see a huge shift to subscription models and cloud models, with fewer on-site servers and such. Companies need to get over it – the cloud’s here, so let’s go.”