18 Reasons You'll Be Glad You Waited to Add Digital/Inkjet Printing
Everyone loves first place. Since grade school, we have sought out the ability to go first, to be first, to finish first. Second? Where’s the value in that? No one remembers the second person on the moon or the second U.S. president or the name of the second “Godfather” movie. Okay, bad example. We are all about being the top dog, the big cheese, numero uno.
Until digital/inkjet printing came along, that is.
The benefit of going second (aka “waiting”) to add digital printing comes when you learn from the mistakes of others. Someone else’s errors can serve as lessons to those still on the sidelines, provided they’re paying attention. Well, are you? As a service to the cautious, here are 18 reasons to be glad you waited:
The Mistake of Sales — Making the assumption that your salespeople will be as excited as you are about the installation of your new toner-based or production inkjet digital printing equipment. Longer selling cycles, a different “buyer,” smaller dollar volume and smaller commissions all add up to a collective cold shoulder from the sales reps. You will need a different approach, one that includes a different incentive plan.
The Mistake of Production — Not seeing that turnaround times in print have gone from weeks to days and a customer’s answer to the question, “When do you need it?” is often, “Well, what time is it now?” Like it or not, we live in an Amazon world and two-day delivery is no longer the exception. In fact, it’s not even the rule. It’s an expectation. This means your entire operation will have to change in order to accommodate, not just the output device.
The Mistake of Marketing — Shouting the message, “We’ve got digital!” and expecting that to do the trick. Getting the message across about the benefits of digital/inkjet requires an anecdotal approach. You will need success stories so that customers understand what you’re talking about. YouTube is a powerful way to share the news.
The Mistake of Distribution — A client needs datasheets printed quickly for his boss who is heading to a trade show in the morning. The digital/production inkjet-capable printer produces the job and even drives it to the airport to drop it off, thinking himself heroic. Standing with his luggage in one hand and a Starbucks grande latte in the other, the boss looks at the sales rep and says, “Thanks, but I need these in Seattle, not here.” Next time, print the job locally and save your customer the $50 per box baggage fee.
The Mistake of Missed Loyalty — Not recognizing that one key benefit to digital/inkjet printing comes when you incorporate a client’s marketing data into the mix. This makes it difficult for them to leave you and reintroduces the concept of the loyal customer.
The Mistake of Missing Lead-Gen — Failing to provide qualified leads to the sales force. If you assume there is an “untapped market” for digital/inkjet output, think again. There will be no line out the door. Instead, management needs to provide their salespeople with a list of specific applications and/or the names of companies who have nibbled at their online marketing bait, such as white papers and success stories. And then there’s …
One Vertical Mistake — Banks, hospitals, colleges, nonprofits, restaurants and ad agencies. Each of these vertical markets represents a perfect target for digital/inkjet printing solutions. Management — perhaps with the help of their equipment vendor — must learn not only what is purchased, but the business needs and problems that digital/inkjet printing solves.
One Open House Mistake — Printers are proud of their output devices, sometimes to a fault. When you have that open house and invite clients and prospects, designers and agencies, remember that, to them, your digital/inkjet printer is beige and uses electricity. Tell stories. Show samples and then fill in the details as to how you solved a problem.
One Opportunity Mistake — It’s not often that we get a chance to reinvent. There was a quote in the early 1990s that went something like this, “10 years from now, 70% of our business will come from products we do not currently offer, sold to customers we do not currently service.” Digital/inkjet printing can make this prediction come true for your company. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change course, to correct mistakes of your own, and to become an entirely different company.
One Competitive Mistake — Adopting a “me-too” digital/inkjet selling philosophy. You don’t want to “sell” printing. You want to use your new capabilities to solve problems. Don’t join in the race to the bottom. Instead, learn what’s possible and bring ideas to your customer base.
One Fatal Mistake — The single most important person in the digital/inkjet shop is the Technical Communicator. What’s required is someone with both technical and communication skills, allowing them to work with customers and go on four-legged sales calls with the reps. Move forward without this type of person on your payroll and failure is imminent.
One Personalization Mistake — Assuming a customer has an accurate and up-to-date database. You’ve got variable data capability? Outstanding! Just make sure the client has spent the time to clean up their list. Garbage in, garbage out.
One Common Mistake — Dr. Joe Webb once said, “Printers invest in new technology only when they start losing business to it.” Then, he added, “It’s far more important to stay ahead of your customer then it is your competition.” Make certain you are investing in digital/inkjet technology because your client has led you there and not just to keep up with the Joneses (assuming the Joneses are in printing, that is).
One Outrageous Mistake — If you have a legacy sales team, there’s a good chance they might suffer from FODI (Fear of Digital/Inkjet). Common symptoms include ignorance, laziness, excuse-making and flat-out refusal to learn. You could hire new, but don’t make …
One HR Mistake — Hiring the same kind of salesperson you’ve always hired. Failure at applying digital/inkjet printing capabilities can occur because a sales hire lacks the creativity and technical skills required to fully grasp what’s possible. You might need to rethink your sales team.
One Education Mistake — While we live in a highly technical world, don’t assume that your customer base will know how to make print-ready files. Education in this area might come down to training each client one at a time.
One Digitally-Capable Mistake — Not finding out what is new by failing to attend a trade show. Education in the field of digital/inkjet is ongoing and never-ending. Buying a new piece of equipment doesn’t so much check a box as it does open a new world. Stay in touch. Attend trade shows and especially users’ group meetings. Keep current.
One Vendor Mistake — Choosing the right digital/inkjet press vendor is imperative. Find one who is not just interested in selling you the next device. Ask what they will do to help make the first one successful.
Procrastinators rejoice! Your delay in purchasing digital/inkjet equipment will be rewarded and you will benefit from those who have gone before you. But go digital when you have considered your staff, your sales team, your estimating and production departments, and the benefits you will get by taking the leap. Anything less than that would be a mistake.