McIlroy--Digital Printing - Are You Making Money?
Keys to Profitability
XYAN is carving success in the digital print market one small step at a time. It has developed a consultative sales strategy, and accepts that the sales cycle is much longer than for traditional printing. The company's 100 sales reps receive extensive training and support, as do customers. XYAN focuses on niche markets, such as legal and financial printing, and avoids trying to be all things to all people.
In concluding her presentation, Kelty offered another analogy. "The key to profitability for digital printing is a little bit like embarking on a home-improvement project," she said. "It is going to take you a lot longer than you thought initially, and it is probably going to cost you more than what you had planned."
Susan Kinney, of Castle Press, brought her company into digital printing to address her own needs. While the 60-employee company does nearly $7 million in printing, Kinney also operates a $1.5 million greeting card firm, Painted Hearts and Friends. In 1995, she bought a Xeikon/Barco press to create shorter and faster runs of her greeting cards. Digital printing has since become the fastest-growing segment of her business.
"Digital press sales are growing at 25 percent a year," she said. "Litho is growing at about 3 to 6 percent. Half of our new customers are on the digital press."
Kinney has found other benefits in operating a digital press. "It's easier to get new first-time sales appointments when you have a new technology," she pointed out. Castle Press employs a telemarketer who obtains a first appointment on half of her calls because of the technology.
Of significance, even though the digital press opens the doors, the sales reps still sell (by volume) 75 percent litho against 25 percent digital printing.
Equally important, digital printing brings Castle Press to a new group of buyers. "Instead of dealing with purchasing agents, we're now dealing more with CEOs, marketing officers, brand managers and production managers," Kinney said.