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Consolidated Graphics — Fusing Power. . .and People

November 2007 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor
THE KNOCK against national printing platforms for years has been multifaceted. The so-called big guys are not as responsive as their smaller, more nimble competitors who can respond to challenges in an hour, not a week later following a conference call that spanned six time zones.

OK, perhaps a bit heavy handed in the analysis, but the perception is out there that some major national players are not as scalable as the smaller printer. “Scalable how?” you ask.

Cross-selling, and knowing what you have to sell.

It is an acquired art to be able to cross-sell the national platform for a large printing company. It’s also a neglected art for some.

It’s one thing for a company to be able to provide, on a national basis, tantamount to a turnkey solution. But is that information available in Sheboygan as well as Chicago? Corporate has a fair idea of what’s going on, but it needs to be the central nervous system for its satellite sales facilities. Your nationwide salespeople are the nerve impulses. They must be reached.

Consolidated Graphics (CGX) has done a masterful job in ensuring the health of its overall network by virtue of its annual national sales meetings. The 2007 edition, held this past summer, took place in three major cities—Washington, DC, St. Louis and Denver—bringing together roughly 1,000 company presidents, executives and sales representatives from CGX’s 68 locales. The cities were chosen one per geographic region for a more manageable distribution of attendees, about 300 for each stop on the sales tour.

Selling the Network

A smarter, well-informed CGX representative can better sell the entire network, not just the capabilities of his or her local shop, according to Aaron Grohs, executive vice president of sales and marketing.

“For us to go to market and sell the value proposition of Consolidated Graphics, we need to bring everyone together once a year to share with them everything that’s going on in the network,” Grohs says. “That way, they can be more familiar with the network, educate themselves and feel more comfortable, in turn, going to their customers and explaining the value of CGX. It’s purely a best practices, success story, educational kind of experience.”

The company relies on its CGXSolutions to manage the entire process, from direct mail invitations to online registration, customized agendas and meeting collateral (name badges, place cards). Registrants select their nine breakout sessions and are mailed personalized agendas in advance of the meeting.
 

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