Archive for April, 2009

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“You are going to have to explain to my boss how this happened”

April 25, 2009

I was at my Quarterly Sales meeting yesterday and I heard the funniest quote that I have heard in a long time.

We had a good quarter and we were going over some of the bigger deals that came in. With the current Ricoh \ Ikon situation it isn’t hard to understand that a number of the bigger deals that we have landed have been take aways” from Ikon. One of our Sales Reps talked about such a deal. By the time Ikon found out that they were completely out of this account the deal was done.

When the Customer called their Ikon Sales Rep to tell them that they lost the deal, and the Account the Ikon Rep lost her mind. I don’t know what else would explain the following rant. She started to berate this customer, she started to throw out the same old tired spin that Ikon has been using for years, it all smacked of “don’t you know who I am” LOL! The customer just wasn’t buying this line of bull anymore. Since Ikon had lost the Canon line, and now lost the Konica Minolta line, and all they had left was Ricoh equipment to sell, they just didn’t have what this customer wanted. Apparently just being “Ikon” wasn’t enough. I think only now the Ikon Sales Reps are starting to figure this out.

At the end of this phone conversation the Ikon Sales Rep actually said to this Customer “You are going to have to explain to my boss how this happened” REALLY! Can you imagine a sane person saying this to an Account that they just lost? I can’t, so I am going to have to chalk it up to temporary insanity on the part of the Ikon Sales Rep. The perfect reply would have been, “No I think that YOU’RE going to have to explain it to your boss”.

But I think this Sales Rep’s statement reveals two of the more serious flaws that Ikon has\had. The first is arrogance bordering on hubris! The “don’t you know who I am” attitude (said with your best Ted Kennedy accent). They have bought into their own hype that because they are “Ikon” people HAVE to do business with them. On a side note isn’t it funny that that name “Ikon” will be going away shortly. Soon there will be no more Ikon, only another Ricoh branch. Ikon will be regulated to nothing more than a foot note in the history of our industry.

But I said there were two serious flaws that this statement revealed the second is that Ikon sales management manages by fear! You can hear the desparation in this Sales Woman’s voice when she makes the insane statement that “You are going to have to explain to my boss how this happened” As if this customer was obligated to do so. What she was really saying was she was afraid that she was not going to be able to explain to her boss how this happened, how she and the once mighty Ikon lost another deal to a large regional independent dealer. But don’t worry Ms. Ikon Sales Person If you think that you are afraid to have to explain it to your boss, just think how afraid your boss is to explain it to his boss. Maybe you’ll get lucky and he will get fired before you do. Let me say for the record that managing the people who work for you by fear is a bad long term strategy. It may accomplish your short term goals but it will not build a top shelf professional sales organization. No REAL Sales Professional will stay in that kind of environment for long. And the best and most talented will ALWAYS have other options. Ikon never seemed to get that.

Folks, I believe that we are witnessing the early stages of the Ikon implosion, and It isn’t going to be pretty!

That’s my $0.02
Vince Mchugh
vince.mchugh@necs.biz
WWW.NECS.BIZ

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Why should I pay for your NFR Software???

April 24, 2009

Please indulge my ranting on this subject. It REALLY pisses me off when a Vendor (who supposedly wants me to carry and sell their products) charges me for NFR (Not For Resale) software!

I am not talking about paying for equipment that we get to resell after we demo it, but software. Especially when the Vendor offers an actual NFR version of the software. WTF? It smacks of a pyramid scheme where they “Sell” it to us (even at a reduced price) so we can have the privilege to demo their software! Are you kidding me. When I find myself in this situation I refuse to “purchase” their NFR software until I have a deal pending that looks like they will buy it. And even after that I can choose not to lead with it.

You might say “it’s not your money, why should you care”? Because as a Manager or an Executive for a comapny you are paid to care! You don’t work for the government. Your company doesn’t get to raise taxes or print more money if you need it, so you have to care about the bottom line, and your operating expenses.

Let’s talk about a compnay that does it right; eCopy. I have worked with this company since the mid 90s. I have even been in the field with Ed Schmid (The Founder) doing installs. Now that was a long time ago, I don’t think Ed does his own installs anymore 🙂 But eCopy handles thier NFR software right. If you are an Authorized eCopy Dealer and you need either NFR software or a trial version of their software you go to their secure web site and you download it. No human interaction is required. Do you know what this leads to….? It leads to me always having the latest version of eCopy Sharescan OP and eCopy Desktop running in all of my demo rooms. Since it is always in my Demo Rooms it also leads to all of my Sales force being familiar with and willing to talk about eCopy. That’s what it leads to!

You would think that the Vendors would figure this out and make their NFR software to their Authorized Dealer available at no charge, but many of them haven’t. That’s OK when the Vendor’s rep is begging us to talk about their product I will pont them to this post so they can figure out why we aren’t. Hopefully some of them will figure it out and stop annoying their dealers by nickel & diming us for the privilege to show their software in our demo rooms. But I’m not bitter 🙂

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh
vince.mchugh@yahoo.com

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Thank you Ricoh, Thank you Canon!

April 20, 2009

Would it be understating it to say that we are in the midst of a slow economy? I think not!

As someone who works for a large, regional Canon & Konica Minolta dealership I would like to personally thank Ricoh Corporate for how nice they have been to us. How so? I’m glad you asked.

First, the purchase of Ikon that caused Canon to cut them off as a Canon Dealer has been a real God-Send. It is amazing how many loyal customers Canon has. People and companies that really want to stay with the Canon MFDs. They tell me that it is because of Canon’s reliability and ease of use for their End Users. So when their current Canon dealer (Ikon) can no longer sell them new Canon equipment or service their current Canon equipment (as an Authorized Canon Dealer) they look around and find the largest Canon Dealer in their region, which in New England is Us! It really takes the sting out of a slow economy. So Thanks again Ricoh!

Secondly, Ricoh also recently stopped Ikon from selling Konica Minolta. As you know Ikon was selling a re-branded KM MFD under the name Ikon CPP. Since they can no longer sell the Konica Minolta MFDs those who love that product line are looking around for a large regional Konica Minolta Dealership and in New England we fall into that category too. So thanks again Ricoh!

How many other of you large Independent Dealers are reaping the benefits of the Ricoh purchase of Ikon? Please leave me a comment on this post if you are. But did you notice in the header that I also thanked Canon? Why? I’m glad you asked

Thanks go to Canon for having the guts to NOT buy Ikon. While I am sure that many (if not most) of the Ikon sales reps were hoping that Canon and not Ricoh would buy Ikon, Those of us who work at the Large Independent Regional Dealerships could not have scripted it better. So thanks go to Canon also, It is starting to look like that their Management Team were the REAL GENIUSES for NOT buying Ikon. I think 2009 and 2010 will till If I am right.

That’s My $0.02
Vince McHugh
vince.mchugh@necs.biz
WWW.NECS.BIZ

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Printing from Oracle to your MFDs

April 14, 2009

I just recieved my third request in 2 months to set up some Canon MFDs to print from Oracle. In each case it was a large customer who had already installed a fleet of our MFDs. After we had them up and running as multi-functional devices (Scan, Print, Copy, and sometimes Fax) a conversation happened, either with a Sales Person or a Systems Engineer (SE) and the customer heard we can set them up to print to their new MFDs from Oracle.

In the last two set ups the customers support people tried to set it up on their own and ran into problems. In both cases they didn’t do anything wrong, they just didn’t know what settings to make on their MFDs to allow them to receive and correctly format their Oracle Print Jobs. It would typically take about an hour to an hour and a half, to set it up and test the new MFDs as Oracle printers.

Why would this be a big deal, well for the longest time Oracle printing was the domain of HP and pretty much HP alone. For most IT departments there was no reason to try something new. The HPs worked so don’t fix them. But I am sure that you have noticed that the economy has tanked! And business managers are asking their IT departments to help them reduce costs. The and the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of these HP printers is low hanging fruit.

I just looked at the BLI (Buyers Lab) web site and got the CPP (cost per page) of the HP 4250 that one of my customers had been using to print to from Oracle. It’s not hard to do, simply take the cost of the Toner, and divide it by the yield. So the a standard yield black toner costs $150.00 each. This black toner bottle yields 10,000 pages @5% coverage. So let’s do the simple math.

$150.00 divided by 10,000 = 1.5 cents CPP

This price per page is ONLY for Toner, no service, and no parts or other supplies (like drums or fuser kits). This is also only if the toner coverage is at 5%. But what if the average coverage is 10% or even 20%? Then the Cost per page doubles or even quadruples to 3 cents or 6 cents respectively.When you compare this to a Toner based (rather than cartridged based) MFD whose typical Black CPP (for Toner, & Service) is under a penny, and sometime under a half penny (if the volume is high).

So a customer could potentially save between 1/2 cent and 5 1/2 cents per page for a black & white print. Maybe that doesn’t sound like much to you, but what if you are doing 10,000 pages a month (I have often seen one B&W HP printer do this kind of volume). How much would it save the customer a month to simply move the volume from that one HP printer to their new MFD? Would you believe between $50.00 and $550.00 a month! In a year that could save your customer between $600.00 and $6,600.00 for JUST THAT ONE PRINTER!

How many printers like that might we find on their network? Isn’t it at least worth looking at? If you are in the IT Department you could get a great reputation with the Managers of your company by helping save money (maybe a great deal of money), If you don’t know how to do this contact your local independent dealer, and ask them to help you. We do it all the time.

That’s my $0.02
Vince McHugh
vince.mchugh@necs.biz
WWW.NECS.BIZ

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Ikon is no longer selling Konica Minolta

April 9, 2009

Well, I have been holding off on posting this but I have now heard from two differnt sources, on two different coast (East & Left Coast) that Ikon is no longer selling Konica Minolta equpment as of 04/01/2009.

The way I hear it, it wasn’t Konica Minolta that pulled the plug. I can’t imagine it was Ikon, those guys are desperate to sell anything other than Ricoh, so who does that leave? Right, Ricoh corporate. And that makes sense to me. The word is out (from their end of year meetings) that the Ricoh Direct Branches (RBS) tanked their numbers for the last quarter of their fiscal year. So Ricoh is hoping, praying, begging that their bright and shiney new purchase (Ikon) will save them. Ricoh corporate doesn’t want Ikon selling the Konica Minolta production equipment anymore, when they have been pushing their competing product line. We shall see if this works, or if it simply hurts Ikon. Ikon is truly now a one trick pony. All their eggs are firmly in the Ricoh basket. They have no other products to sell. I heard one Ikon customer remark that for years Ikon was telling me that the only reason they carried Ricoh was to sell it to people who couldn’t afford to buy a Canon (Their main line of MFDs), but all of a sudden they are telling me that Ricoh is the best product on the planet!!!! What changed, other than the fact that Ikon can no longer sell Canon. Nothing. Do they really think that their customers are that stupid? Apparently they do.

Now that the Ikon sales reps only have Ricoh to sell we’ll see just how good of a sales force they are. If I was in the market to find a new sales job, which I am not, the last place I would go is to work for Ricoh Business Solutions (RBS) or Ikon. These are both two fairly large sales orginizations selling the exact same product line often time in competing markets. At least if you are RBS you can spin it by saying “We are the manufacturer”, what is Ikon going to say? We are better than Ricoh because……… we use to work on Canon & Konica Minolta.

What if you purchased an Ikon CPP MFD (a relabelled Konica Minolta MFD) where does this leave you? Unfortunately for you, Mr Customer, you are in even worse shape than your Canon \ Ikon customer counterparts because at least Canon did not allow Ikon to sell a customized version of the Canon MFD that only Ikon could service or sell you toner for. Konica Minolta Japan did just that. They allowed Ikon to purchase their relabeled Konica Minolta MFDs as IKON CPP equipment. They also set it up so that ONLY Ikon is authorized to get the firmware or the toner for these Ikon CPP versions of KM MFDs. It’s not like you can go to an independent Konica Minolta dealer or even to the KM Direct Branch and buy their toner or a service contract. The Toner bottles were made special for Ikon and the regular KM toner bottles will NOT fit in the Ikon CPP version of the same machine.

Now if I owned an Ikon CPP version of a Konica Minolta MFD, I would be calling Konica Minolta and complaining. I would demand that they allow all Authorized Konica Minolta Dealers be authorized to service and support these Ikon CPP versions of the KM MFDs.

That’s My $0.02
Vince McHugh
vince.mchugh@necs.biz
WWW.NECS.BIZ

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On Demand \ AIIM Show 2009

April 1, 2009

I spent the day at the On Demand \ AIIM Show in Philadelphia today. The show was a little smaller on both the On Demand and the AIIM sides. Obviously a reflection of the tough economy. http://mfpsolutions.blogspot.com/2009/04/traffic-at-aiimon-demand-show.htm

me-on-demand-aiim-2009-crop

I walked the floor up and down every isle but I could not find the Ricoh or Ikon booth. Oh how the mighty have fallen! There were years when when both Ricoh & Ikon had had two of the larger booths at On Demand, but not this year. I also heard that Sharp pulled out of the show at the last minute. Canon and Konica Minolta had two of the larger booths, Xerox too, even Panasonic had a small booth.

I saw a few Ricoh people there, but I hear that they were doing their end of year meetings so none of the sales reps. One Ricoh guy said that Ricoh didn’t want to have a booth at On Demand \ AIIM because they were concerned about their people passing out resumes at the show, that makes sense, especially with the recent cuts at Ricoh.

Even though the show did seem a little smaller and a the attendence was a little off it is still my single favorite show of the year. You get to see not only the great new solutions that your vendors are bringing to market, but also what the competition is show casing. And yes, if you have been in this industry for any length of time On Demand \ AIIM is like old home week. You get to catch up with many people you have worked with in the past.

I also got to have a Philly Cheese Steak and a Yuengling Lager at Jimmy’s Steaks. Worth the trip just for that!

That’s My $0.02
Vince McHugh
vince.mchugh@necs.biz
WWW.NECS.BIZ