Skip to main content


Sign up and receive our blogs, free updates about e-commerce trends, B2B strategies, and more.

Instant Sign Up

How to go All-In, and Win, on Ink and Toner Sales

06 February 2019 | Norm McConkey



When it comes to office printing, we are living in HP’s world. On one hand, resistance is futile. On the other hand, why would you resist? It's a tough pill to swallow if you’ve been out flogging other OEMs for years. I’m not saying other vendors don’t have a place; what I’m saying is that, increasingly, that place is being pushed aside in favor of smaller, high-function devices with lower upfront costs that require little to no field service, and whose supplies are available on any website. If this is true (and it is,) how can you position yourself to benefit from this?


First, the statistics:


  1. Roughly half of all network printers in North America are Hewlett Packard.
  2. That number jumps to almost 60% if you look at just the legal/letter/A4 segment.
  3. The page volumes on those devices are just under 40% of the total, as larger A3 devices print higher volumes.


Why are they so dominant? That’s not the right question to ask! A few years back, a regional manager from Ricoh explained to me that the city of Cleveland had 18 authorized Ricoh resellers. HP had no direct salespeople in the city. Yet, when they plugged in FM Audit, the fleets were dominated by HP. Think about that.

18 times a year a Ricoh rep called up a business and promoted Ricoh. They explained to the customer why a distributed (HP) fleet was a bad idea, and how a central A3 MFP was a better workflow. Despite their best sales efforts, the customer still preferred their HPs.

Sound familiar? I’m not saying stop selling A3s. My point is that customers have a strong embedded, preference, or bias toward distributed, convenient print. Does your sales team see this preference as a sales challenge? Wouldn't a better approach be to embrace that reality and develop a plan to turn that bias into revenue?

How do I get that revenue?

That’s the better question. Staples, Office Depot, and other supply-only resellers get most of the supply business for these devices by default. They make it easy to order online, and their prices are competitive.

Beating $10 billion companies on price is hard. Beating $10 billion companies on logistics is hard. If you want to get their supplies business, you need to change the process


What if your customers could do this on your website?


If you have remote monitoring like FM Audit or PrintFleet, and you have access to supplies, here’s how you change the process.



Is it time you opened up your business to the other half of the pie? Call today to book a demo.





About the Author

Norm McConkey

Norm McConkey has been involved in the print, imaging, and software/tech business since 1993. Holding executive level positions in a number of emerging technology firms, he founded PrintFleet in 2003, and Tangent MTW in 2009. A founding member of the MPSA, an award winning author and presenter, Norm has spoken at various industry events around the world including the Lyra Imaging Symposium, Photizo confernece, ITEX Tradeshow, Regional BTA conferences, Remax Europe, and World Expo. He has been contracted to consult and build go to market and sales training programs with several OEM manufacturers such as Canon USA, and HP, and distributors such as Parts Now and Supplies Network, as well Resellers including Office Depot. Norm’s current project, MPSToolbox (, is a software platform which helps technology dealers develop and maintain e-commerce websites.


Copyright Tangent MTW Inc © 2018. All Rights Reserved.