Sometimes, I don't get what people don't get about digital printing and VDP. Like when it first came out and Charlie Pesko et.al. ran around the continent yelling their "Emperor's New Clothes" message, challenging anyone who didn't see that vision. Now that those pie charts and graphs of yesterday have been downsized to reflect reality, we are faced with another "Don't get it" moment: I don't get why no one else but me sees why their sales reps won't sell digital printing and VDP.
Imagine being in a sales meeting and the owner walks in. He's jacked up and wears a smile from ear to ear. "Ladies and gentlemen," he begins, "This is a big day in the history of our company. Today, we install the new Xerodigomapress 3000, a device that will put us in the race to capture digital and variable data print. Here to describe what your sales future looks like is our new digital sales savant, Bill Nevergonnahappen. Bill?"
"Thanks, Dick. Sales reps, this new device is going to push you from your comfort zone. You will no longer be calling on buyers, but instead, a whole new breed of potential clients. These people are in Marketing and Product Management. They're owners and C levels. So, immediately, you are going to feel discomfort. Eventually, you will come across the IT Department. They know a lot more than you do, so prepare to feel stupid. Also, selling digital and VDP takes time. In fact, know that if the selling cycle for traditional print is 3-6 months, the selling cycle for digital and VDP is twice that. Plus, you can expect the average order size to be in the hundreds of dollars, meaning that according to Dick's current sales compensation plan, you will see commissions in the tens of dollars (pause for dramatic affect).
"Thus, you can expect a solutions-driven sale made to someone who is smarter than you. It will take longer. You will sell less dollars for more work and make far less than you are used to. Remember, this is a team effort. My door is always open. Best of luck," concludes Bill.
Yup. I just don't see what others don't see.
Engaging sales people to sell this technology is easy. First, educate them with a few known vertical markets. Make them experts in those markets. Second, speak to them using your wallet as your microphone. That's the only way they will listen. Sales go where the money is. Period.
This is not your father's printing press. In addition to the change in input and output, you need to approach the sales function differently as well. Otherwise, the Emperor truly IS naked.
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*******Bill Farquharson's new PI column comes out in August. In the meantime, check out his Sales Challenge program at www.TheSalesChallenge.com. Bill can be reached at email@example.com