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$400 Million Contract

XeroxI saw this news release back in April.  Xerox Corporation won a five-year blanket purchase agreement on an estimated $400 million U.S. Air Force contract for the placement of Xerox multifunction printers, network copiers and supplies.

I’m always interested in learning what’s behind deals of that size, so I put a call into Xerox.  Today I was delighted to interview Sherman Parker, who is Xerox’s VP of major accounts, for my column in Sales and Marketing Management magazine.

Sherman described the background of the deal, going back six years.  Having done business with the Air Force before, Xerox had the vision of a solution long before the customer did.  In fact, a fair degree of change was required within the Air Force’s budgeting infrastructure for them to take maximum advantage of Xerox’s technology and the associated expense reductions.  Previously there were separate budgets for printers, MFCs (multi-function copiers) and supplies.  Riding the wave of convergence that is taking place with respect to printing and copying, Xerox’s team managed to effectively drive change within the customer organization with respect to their procurement of these products and services.

Sherman stressed again and again that collaboration with the customer was critical to Xerox’s success.  There were significant organizational, technical, security and service requirements for vendors bidding this deal.  Sherman also described how a typical “salesrep” wouldn’t be able to work at the level required to win this contact. 

Xerox’s future product strategy also contributed to this win. That enabled the customer to be convinced that Xerox would be with them from a sustainability perspective.

Sherman summed it up: “We talked a lot about value. Value from the customer’s point of view. That’s what’s really important. We had products that could meet their requirements. But most important of all we needed to meet customer’s stragtegy.”

Homerun!

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