Complete Document Solutions Dealer Profile
Flourishing Xerox Agent Looks to Even Bigger and Better Things
History in Brief: Since being founded in 1996, has become one of the most successful companies ever in the Xerox agent program; with roughly 12,500 customers, is today focused on MPS consulting and its expanding managed IT menu, as well as turning itself into a full-fledged dealer
Headquarters: Fairfield, New Jersey
Locations: 10 (Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia)
Employees: Approximately 110
Hardware Partner: (A3, A4, Production) Xerox
Noteworthy Software Partners: Omtool, Nuance (AutoStore, eCopy, Equitrac), Pharos, Print Audit, Xerox (XMPie), YSoft
Salman Javed is a “habitual entrepreneur,” but perhaps “habitual adventurer” is even more apropos. Born in New Delhi, Javed had the early opportunity to see a lot of the world as his father worked for an airline. He has helped build homes for families in his native India and supports causes for children’s education and development everywhere. His journey, from his first job of handing out flyers for $2 an hour to graduating from the Fashion Institute of America, has fostered in him a deep understanding of positive change.
Still, the man is an entrepreneur, very much so, an out-of-the-box thinker who sees a vision and can execute it. Along with his real estate investments both in the United States and abroad, as well as angel investing in several startups, Javed is the co-founder of a Salesforce application development firm, which continues to see increased activity. “My passion and ambition are as fresh as they’ve ever been,” he said. “I stay motivated by making sure employees have an environment and a business model that they can grow in.”
That inspiration is today proving indispensable to Javed, the Commander in Chief of Complete Document Solutions who’s overseeing the company’s move from 20-year Xerox agent to independent dealer. As he explained, CDS took advantage of the entry-level, low upfront cost agent model, but with revenues climbing from $15 million in 2014 to $20 million last year, and a projected 2016 total of $26 million (over $400 thousand in annuities per month, as devices are converted to dealer sales), there’s no time like now.
“When our customers needed more attention than we could give them in the agent model and the agent road wasn’t going to change as fast as our company, it became apparent that the model was unsustainable for us,” he said. “In a nutshell, it’s great for enterprise accounts but not so great for SMBs, which is our wheelhouse. Fortunately, Xerox is an excellent partner and has played a pivotal role during the transition.”
The company’s core competency is sales. That team is divided into manageable pieces so people aren’t left to their own devices—pun intended. Each territory has roughly 2,000 organizations; given the industry upgrade cycle of 42 to 48 months, there are about 50 “decisions” per month, Javed estimated. “You can’t get in front of all of them, but if you can connect with eight to 10, it makes the goal of closing four or five of these decisions more attainable,” he said. “That’s a 50-percent rate, which is significantly higher than the 30-percent industry average.”
Because it hasn’t had to worry about inventory and servicing hardware, CDS has had the luxury of truly focusing on things it’s good at. “MPS, managed IT (MIT), these OEM-driven terms are simply a way for us to define the value we provide to our customers,” Javed said, adding that the company has specialists who are deeply entrenched in MPS. “Most organizations don’t know how many printers they have, let alone the CPPs, but with MFPs they know everything. We sustain frequent engagement with our clients, once every few months—not to sell them something, but to right-size their technologies and suggest changes. The more we can help them manage their print environment, the more pages we’ll capture, regardless of whether it’s a small office, a mailroom, whatever.”
The MIT piece is both a separate company and a relatively new endeavor for the group. Javed mentioned that CDS customers began bringing up the topic of total network management during calls and meetings, which meant that other providers weren’t quite cutting it. The company then partnered with an IT delivery firm and, while there’s not much money in it yet, is setting some aggressive targets, such as a 40-percent gross margin (industry average, 20 to 25 percent). “Our model here is one many of my peers wished they’d used, rather than building it from scratch,” he said. “We’re looking at organizations with up to 400 employees. So, with our customer base…if we fail miserably, which would be in the neighborhood of 1,000 clients, we’d be staring straight at $20 million in revenue.”
“When our customers needed more attention than we could give them in the agent model and the agent road wasn’t going to change as fast as our company, it became apparent that the model was unsustainable for us. In a nutshell, it’s great for enterprise accounts but not so great for SMBs, which is our wheelhouse. Fortunately, Xerox is an excellent partner and has played a pivotal role during the transition [to being a dealer].” –Salman Javed
The agent-to-dealer path has, of course, had its challenges. For instance: CDS now bills its customers instead of Xerox and buys inventory through national distributors that the OEM set up. Javed believes it’s a disservice to customers to have millions of dollars of equipment just sitting around warehouses, that the money could be spent in other areas of business like furthering relationships with all of its varied partners, and it allows CDS to sell exactly what the customer needs rather than what’s in the warehouse.
Moreover, it’s hard to think that the company can’t overcome anything in its way, considering the sheer volume of disasters it’s already endured. Just five years after opening its doors, CDS had its office at 130 Cedar Street destroyed on 9/11, an event Javed himself was witness to. After walking a friend’s pregnant wife back home, he finally arrived at his apartment in Queens at 9 p.m. “I was beat, and it didn’t really hit me until I listened to the messages on my answering machine, when I heard the pure care and concern from my family and friends.
“Xerox was extremely generous, allowing us to use its space in New York City and covering payroll—I’ll never forget that,” he continued. “And at the time, 40 percent of our revenue came from the World Trade Center. The beautiful thing was, through that adversity we had the courage to step outside of our comfort zone. A lot of our clients were moving across the river to Jersey City, so we made a bold move and expanded to Little Falls.”
The company also had to deal with flooding from major hurricanes—Irene and Sandy—in consecutive years and survived the Great Recession. “We were very close to downsizing and concentrating solely on New Jersey,” Javed said. “When you’ve been tested and experienced the craziness, frustration and heartbreak that we have, something like this dealer transition isn’t too scary.”
“MPS, managed IT, these OEM-driven terms are simply a way for us to define the value we provide to our customers. Most organizations don’t know how many printers they have, let alone the CPPs, but with MFPs they know everything. We sustain frequent engagement with our clients, once every few months—not to sell them something, but to right-size their technologies and suggest changes.” –Salman Javed
Through it all, though: growth. Over the years, CDS has bought out several Xerox agents in an effort to widen its geographical coverage. Sales of production devices comprise 15 percent of revenue—a healthy figure that Javed wouldn’t mind getting healthier. And he says the company is 30 percent of the way toward being a dealer, with 85 percent of business on track for being dealer-sold in the next five years. Once this migration is complete, CDS will be a $50 to $60 million dealer without acquiring any more territories, but the company still wants to acquire where and when it makes sense, according to Javed.
Vision-e, which is another entity outside of CDS, is a certified administrator of Salesforce and actively develops apps to help any business work smarter (count Honeywell, the U.S. State Department and Shred IT among its biggest customers). In fact, Xerox recognized what was happening at CDS and liked what it saw from these homegrown tools so much that it’s now in its second multiyear license agreement, granting access to Vision-e’s portfolio to Xerox’s North American agent channel.
“High turnover in sales leads to a breakdown in consistency,” Javed said. “eCoach is a customizable and dynamic script supervisor that guides you through a productive call. How would your best sales managers handle it? What kind of questions have to be asked? After a while, it becomes muscle memory to your salespeople and even the little details become second nature.”
“Our model here [managed IT] is one many of my peers wished they’d used, rather than building it from scratch,” he said. “We’re looking at organizations with up to 400 employees. So, with our customer base…if we fail miserably, which would be in the neighborhood of 1,000 clients, we’d be staring straight at $20 million in revenue.” –Salman Javed
His entrepreneurial skillset aside, Javed is clearly a fearless leader. He gives it to his staff straight. He communicates that, yes, it’s a tough, commoditized market, so you must have passion for your core in order to succeed. Differentiate not based on product but what the customer’s experience will be like working with CDS. Try to eliminate excuses: If the customer didn’t buy from us, why? What could we have done better? Learn and execute.
“My job requires me to never stand still, to never settle and relentlessly pursue every opportunity that can benefit the company, its employees and its customers,” he said. “The manufacturers have their own priorities, but I have to protect and grow all the livelihoods that are dependent on the decision I make. I take that very seriously and work tirelessly to ensure that everyone who works with me is growing as the company grows, too.
“Truth is, we’re being courted by OEMs, and they’re throwing the stars and moon at us to make it happen,” he continued. “I’ve been fiercely loyal to Xerox through lots of turmoil, including its near bankruptcy in 2004 and the GIS acquisition, and the relationship is strong and improving on a yearly basis. Still, there’s significant value in CDS having a second line. We’ll probably have to come to a decision very soon.”