Originally posted on 3/7/2013
The printer and copier industry has a familiar challenge: transform itself from a products company to one based on a services model. One might also recognize the enablers of such a strategy—the cloud and the emergence of remote automation for homeworkers. Xerox’s efforts to utilize their partnering capability to facilitate this change was the subject of the 2013 ASAP Global Alliance Summit presentation “Printers Inc.: The Need for Higher Level Collaborative Skills in the Transformation of the Printer Industry from Products to Managed Services.”
The good news for Xerox is that prospective companies have a need for print-on-demand services. Meanwhile, system integrators now see this solution segment as relevant. The bad news is that the skill sets of many of Xerox’s technology resellers were still hardware-based a few years ago. Thus, Xerox was challenged to make sure its partners had the right skills to sell their emerging cloud-based offerings.
Before developing its partner’s capabilities, Xerox had to start from within. The company equipped its alliance professionals with CA-AM certifications. They then worked with their own internal partner managers to develop their knowledge of the company’s solution set. The company also augmented its alliance management function with new hires who had partner experience, according to Mark Ballinger, CA-AM, general manager of enterprise alliances in Europe at Xerox.
Xerox then implemented its SCORE (Select, Connect, Onboard, Review, Execute) partner selection methodology. Select saw the Xerox alliance strategy leaders assess the appropriate partners for their mission—the companies that need print services. In the Connect stage, Xerox gathered information from its internal teams and customer base to figure out the right value proposition for both the customer and partner prospect. When it was time to Onboard, Xerox and its allies would gather requirements from Xerox and its partners and the evaluation of how the offerings would work and how they could be made better.
Candido Arreche, CA-AM, global alliance director at Xerox, then expanded on the onboarding process's four steps. The first entailed a strategy session in which Xerox and its customers set expectations and developed a joint business plan based on them. Then Xerox trained the people in the partner organization responsible for sales, operations, and delivery on its solutions. Xerox followed up the training by assigning a mentor to each partner sales rep to coach them along two or three sales opportunities, conducting joint calls to help leverage the mentor’s expertise. Xerox would even help them close the deals and walk them through the ordering and fulfillment processes. Lastly, Xerox utilized a governance structure with scorecards and regular reviews to address concerns and questions as they came up.
Xerox’s strategic partner portfolio now consists of 90 organizations in Europe, plus several more in North America, South America, and Asia. The executives said they expect that number to decrease over time as star players emerge, get a deeper grasp on Xerox’s offerings, and grow joint print services revenues.
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