Marketing Service Providers : How Can We Help You?
As technologies evolve and the role of print in it continues to mutate, Kraft feels the biggest key to MSP mastery lies in strategic discussions with clients. "It's really about the strategic conversations that ask, 'Where is your business going? What do we need to build to continue to support your business communications, not just in 2012, but for years to come?' That tells them they have somebody (in you) who is a true partner, who will continue to grow and invest in their relationship," he adds.
A considerable investment for MSP migrants is the re-education of its sales force. Reps who formerly sought out biddable work need to assume a consultative sales approach when the conversation revolves around marketing.
“Everybody knows the technology is out there, but they haven’t done anything in regards to training their salespeople on how to identify applications,” contends Kelly Mallozzi, a Chicago-based printing consultant and noted industry blogger. “And, there’s very little confidence on the side of the salespeople that the technology part is in place.
“A lot of people flat-out agree with me that it’s not as important to be a marketing service provider as it is to understand marketing concepts, and being able to talk intelligently about marketing concepts with your prospects and customers. You need to discuss what they’re trying to accomplish and how printing fits into the grand scheme of things.”
Mallozzi isn’t dismissive of the role that marketing plays in today’s print sales; it’s part of an intelligent, consultive sales approach. But, a deeper sale within an existing relationship may entail having a conversation with a corporate-level executive, and she knows even veteran print salespeople who are loathe to open a dialog with a C-level exec, fearing that they are overstepping their boundaries.
Herein lies the rub; do you trust in your own firm's ability to promote these new marketing proficiencies, or should you take your gospel to the customer's C-level and risk alienating the print buyer or person in charge of procuring print? Mallozzi acknowledges the risk, but feels strongly that it opens up an opportunity to educate the executive who may be younger and lacking the knowledge of how some marketing tools such as social media could mesh with traditional print vehicles to achieve their overall marketing objective.