Digital Specialists
As such, this rapidly changing market requires a flexible sales staff, notes Mark Edgar, vice president and general manager of Corporate Direct in Landover, MD. Corporate Direct, a division of Corporate Press, went digital two years ago and has trained its salespeople to be “digital specialists.”

“You need a different type of salesperson, or at least a different type of understanding and background,” Edgar opines. “In most cases, you are developing a new market with your customers. We found when we started to get more involved in this, that most of our customers didn’t understand what we were talking about.”

At first, Edgar was stonewalled by his sales force when Corporate Direct went digital. “I couldn’t get some of the regular salespeople to sell it because they didn’t see the value in it,” he recalls. “They still wanted to sell the 30,000, four-color runs and so on. Now that they’re starting to see some of the value of this type of work, though, they’re becoming more interested.”

Corporate Direct started by pinpointing several people on its sales staff for digital duty. Edgar relates that younger people, who have been exposed to computers and desktop publishing for most of their lives, have a better understanding than “older, streamlined salespeople.”

One of the first steps in the process of marketing digital printing capabilities is to educate the sales staff. It is difficult, if not impossible, for a salesperson to sell digital printing if he or she knows nothing about it. That’s why many companies hold training programs for their own staff.

“We conduct a seminar every month at our facility,” Nudo reports. “It’s a two-day seminar with the department heads, and we always spend at least a half day on digital prepress and digital information.”

Edgar recalls a salesperson at Corporate Direct that spent seven months in digital training at the company’s plant. She was involved in everything from working with the database people to actually assisting the pressmen work on live jobs.

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