AT LAST month’s Graph Expo in Chicago, thousands of printers walked the show floor to learn what was new in technology and how it could impact their businesses moving forward. If you didn’t attend, hopefully you will read the post-show coverage in this issue.
Graph Expo attendees heard about the “Must See ’Ems” awards, which identify innovative products in various categories that are worth looking at. These are judged by a 16-member panel of experts who also identify key commercial printing survival technologies—the most critical and fundamental technologies a commercial printer must have to survive profitably. Not too surprisingly, MIS was identified as the top survival technology the last two years in a row.
Why? Because these systems provide real-time, relevant and accurate data that allow you to make critical, fact-based business decisions. They also improve efficiency by eliminating rekeying, reducing errors and automating certain functions.
In fact, as I spoke with industry executives in the run-up to Graph Expo—asking them what people should be focusing on at the show—without exception, they all indicated that attendees should be focusing on products, services and technologies that will improve the efficiency of their operations. Normally, when we think about improving efficiency, we focus on production, and sometimes we include the order entry, quoting and estimating and other pre- and post-production functions. But we rarely consider the sales function.
Sales Side Effects
How efficient is your sales force? Without an efficient sales force, I would argue that your marketing efforts will not be efficient, either.
I recently ran into Ron Kendig at an industry event. Many of you may remember him from his long tenure with Heidelberg, and then at Xerox. Since leaving Xerox earlier this year, Kendig has been engaged in a business, which, at first blush, doesn’t seem like it has much relevance to printing businesses, or marketing, or selling printing, because it has historically focused on the sale of hardware and software. But I was intrigued with what he was doing and, after thinking about it, it raises issues many of you may want to consider as you reflect on how you market and sell your business. And, most especially, how you improve the efficiency of your sales efforts.