by Patricia Ames
In Part 4 of our interview series, we speak with MPSA President Kevin DeYoung and Vice President Doug Bies, and take a look at the current MPSA membership base, new member recruitment, and what kind of companies the MPSA is seeking to have join the association. Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
What does the current MPSA membership base look like? Describe it to us.
Kevin DeYoung: The majority of current members are resellers, while many of our other members want to sell to the resellers. This past year we looked at how we were set up operationally and we subsequently created a committee resources area. Kim Louden from GAFS has been very generous with her time and efforts to build that up. Now we have volunteers that want to participate.
One of the first places we identified as an area of need was our membership committee. It is in the process of building up resources, so instead of going after new members immediately, we decided to devote our efforts into determining how we can deliver greater value to the current members. We formed a membership value committee that Ron Alphin of Parts Now heads. We came up with a hit list of things that were recommended. One of the primary benefits that the members want is networking.
The next thing that we did is start working on how to onboard members better so members know how to maximize the value of their membership. For the individual members, we created a comprehensive member resource guide and then for the corporate members we created a one-on-one guided experience. We don’t want a situation where corporate members come on board after writing a check and we give them a webinar and then forget about them until it is time to renew again.
We always want to be recruiting new members. This is really not about building a lot of cash, this is about migrating the contributions into value for the membership. Leveraging the knowledge and expertise of our corporate members can help make all our members more successful and that is part of our charter. The corporate members have a message which is valuable to our overall membership, and we want to make sure it is heard.
Conversely, we want our corporate members to know our individual members because maybe they can do business with each other and that will be good for those that are sharing their educational content. In every case, the first step is to take care of our existing members, because we’ve been very good when we wanted to get new members.
Doug Bies: Even on the smaller side of things, when it comes to individual memberships you could be working at a large, 500-person organization and be on the IT staff and your manager might want you to get more involved in MPS and implement an MPS program. What better place to go to learn than here at the MPSA? Why not make that small investment that will then allow you to collaborate with OEMs, resellers, MPS infrastructure providers, IT VAR’s and other end users, and learn what you should be looking for in an MPS provider?
We’re better in terms of delivering value this year than we were in previous years. That makes it easier to attract new membership; it’s one of the reasons why the membership committee has grown because now they have something to build upon, a greater value to work off of and leverage, and a story to tell. It’s easier to onboard organizations now.
When we onboard new members now, we encourage them to join a committee. It’s one of the best ways to ensure membership value.
For new member recruitment, what are you looking for? Do you have a specific type of member that you’re looking for — are they in certain sectors, are you looking at verticals? What do you think are the best routes to attract them?
DeYoung: We want more end users. End users are difficult to manage as long-term members, because an end user’s membership within the MPSA is typically an event-driven membership. End users are going to say “We need to do MPS, we want to do MPS, how do we find out how to do MPS?” They’ll discover us in their research. A couple of years ago Purdue University joined the MPSA. I remember thinking how cool it was that Purdue University was a member. I asked them why they joined and they told me that they were in the process of evaluating an MPS solution for the entire campus.
We held a conference call for Purdue, and we walked them through the Standards and Best Practices Committee papers on how an end user should evaluate managed print services both internally and externally. We had created great material and we walked them through it all. Purdue loved it. I believe we delivered a great value to them.
Reaching out to end users to educate them on our association can be difficult. Most of the events we tend to participate in are geared to the reseller and not the end user. We’ll need to focus on attending more end user events in the future.
I would love to see people from the legal industry get involved, certainly the end users. I’d love to see more OEMs. I would love to see organizations from the software side like DocuWare or Square 9 or other document solutions companies.
As we begin to look at workflow and what happens when you’ve evolved within an organization to the point where you’ve already optimized, you’ve rationalized and now what’s left? How can you make your business process more efficient? That gets to be workflow. You need to know what the game is if you’re going to retain a client, if you’re going to have stickiness. We’ve brought in some great new companies like YSoft. Very interesting business model compared to its competitors, they bring a lot of value to the industry in the way they’re approaching the market — very novel, but that’s what you want. You want more of that in the MPSA too.
Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of the series.