Boosting Revenues: Value-Add Service Offerings
Another key strategy reported by respondents was to test services by offering them to select customers, before rolling them out on a large scale. A few respondents hired staff to support new services and those that did mainly added sales or IT staff, reflecting the need for different skill sets.
Sales Cycles Are Linked to Complexity of Service
Sales cycles for value-added services varied based on the complexity of the service and customer confidence in the print provider's ability to offer a service. Ancillary services that supported print, such as finishing, mailing, data preparation or design, were reported to have lower sales cycles. More complicated services like Website hosting or development and marketing services have longer sales cycles. Understanding the sales cycle duration of different types of services is a valuable tool to guide company managers in sales planning and setting reasonable sales goals for services.
Nearly three-quarters of respondents made no changes to their sales compensation plans to incent sales staffs to sell new services. There was little variation by print-related, marketing or digital media services. Among those respondents who had made changes, the most common action was to increase bonuses. A small number of firms selling cross-media (15 percent) reported offering a separate compensation plan for selling these services. InfoTrends believes that sales compensations plans need to be adjusted to offer meaningful incentives that account for a longer sales cycles for more complicated services.
Print service providers have long acknowledged that they need to deliver value-added services to differentiate themselves from competitors and are taking actions on many fronts. Expanding and adding innovative services is not without challenges as firms report that resource constrains, pricing and longer sales cycles are key hurdles.
The rewards, however, are big. Firms that are expanding services are gaining new customers, competitive advantage and higher sales. PI
Lisa Cross is the principal analyst of NAPCO Research (a unit of NAPCO Media) where she conducts market research and analysis on emerging trends and changing dynamics in the commercial, in-plant and packaging industries, and the market forces that are driving those changes. With decades of experience covering the graphic arts and marketing industries, Cross has authored thousands of articles on a variety of topics, including technology trends, business strategy, sales, marketing and legislation.