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View from the channel: Mark Bailey, Marketing Director, EBM Managed Services

Q: What are your customers most interested in?

A: It often depends on the size of the business we’re supporting. At EBM, we specialise in supporting SMEs and the majority of our client base is thinking more seriously about security since the implementation of GPDR. With the prevalence of environmental issues in the media, we’re also talking with our clients about our Green Print Programme and how we can help them reduce their impact on the environment. Finally, there’s no denying that price is a significant factor, but we make a point of not taking part in a race to the bottom. We put a lot of effort into attracting the right customers for our business, and work with clients who prioritise quality and reliability.

Q: Do clients have the same understanding of industry terms, such as BYOD, MPS or MDS, as we do?

A: Hardly ever. Some IT managers have industry knowledge if they have worked in or around other suppliers, but otherwise I try and drop the acronyms. Our role is to make the acquisition and maintenance of print devices as straightforward as possible. Whilst we’re very happy to explain industry terms, we find that customers don’t want or need to be bogged down with jargon – they just want to get the right device at a reasonable cost that will help their business thrive.

Q: Where are you seeing most traction at the moment, are there any verticals that are particularly strong?

A: We have seen great growth in the legal and professional services sector. Even though we have not particularly targeted them, we also have a number of clients in construction. The transient nature of site offices means that our maintenance, servicing and relocation services are particularly popular. We’re also seeing traction in the not-for-profit sector.

Q: When selling MFPs, what are the most popular software solutions you provide and why?

A: Most often, we’re asked to implement print policies that reduce waste, improve security and measure performance.

Q: Where do you get information on the latest products and solutions, and do you feel that the OEMs are doing enough to educate their channel partners?

A: A while ago, EBM took the decision to simplify our product portfolio to help our consultants familiarise themselves with the devices and better identify which would meet each client’s needs. Trimming our supply chain also allowed us to build closer relationships with our OEMs. We speak and meet with them regularly, and this tends to be when we find out about their innovations. It’s not that they don’t communicate them in other ways – but actually speaking with our representatives allows us to really push them for the selling points of their new products. By this, I don’t mean the technical specifications. Clients aren’t fussed about that. They just want a reliable device that produces great quality print for a reasonable cost. We need to be able to spark the interest of a prospective customer and tell them how this new device will alleviate their pain point(s). In my experience, all OEMs could do more in this area.

Q: Is your patch particularly competitive – is it national or local competition that you face?

A: Every area is competitive – we’d be worried if it wasn’t! It means there’s a healthy market out there. EBM thrive on building propositions that help us stand out from the crowd. Our Green Print Programme, for example, allows our clients to operate their printers on a carbon neutral basis. It’s proving popular amongst larger SMEs and those going for ISO certification.

Q: How do you spend your week – time on phone, face to face meetings with customers etc.?

A: It’s a real mixture – one of the things I love about my job. As we are growing I’m increasingly becoming more officebased managing and working on the business. The rest of my time is divided been developing business strategy and account management – face-to-face and phone meetings with clients. I also love being out on the road dealing with clients as it gives me a chance to ensure that EBM provides the service they expect and to work out how we can best support them in the future.

Q: What would make your job easier?

A: More time. I could work all the hours in the day and would still think I could have achieve more if I only had another hour. I have a real passion for running EBM and take pride in growing the business, and I’m lucky to work with people across the firm who feel the same.