Compensating Salespeople for Digital Jobs: Is This Still a Problem? Yes
There appears to be an alarming trend continuing in the printing industry in regards to sales reps and digital printing jobs. The Indigo press is now a legal adult of 21, and while proud papa Benny Landa's contribution to the digital printing universe is undeniable, perhaps it is the industry—and not the technology—that is still enduring growing pains.
If you go to any conference/symposium/after hours fat-chewing session that centers on the subject of digital printing, when the subject of challenges is broached, invariably a printer will allude to the sales department. For some sales reps, digital is a four-letter word. They don't feel comfortable talking about the technology; some have stubbornly held back on the educational aspect. They aren't well-versed on the opportunities presented by digital. Others view this type of work as not worthy of their time, especially when there are more lucrative (read: offset) jobs to peddle.
For the modern sales rep who toils for a printer that offers digital output, the days of being intimidated by the technology are long gone, observes Bill Farquharson, a vice president of NAPL and author of "The Sales Challenge" blog that appears in Printing Impressions' "Today on PIworld" e-newsletter. Small orders equal small commission checks, and salespeople are "following the dollar," he adds.
"I think the root of the issue is that while owners aren't happy about the amount of digital print that's being sold, sales reps are hesitant due to the amount of the digital print sale," he says.
In addition to a motivating compensation plan, Farquharson believes sales reps need to be equipped with the proper tools to make their jobs as easy as possible, namely the applications and the vertical markets that can send them down the road to increasing the digital margin. Those companies still struggling with digital sales have likely not invested enough resources (namely time) into training and marketing.