Compensating Salespeople for Digital Jobs: Is This Still a Problem? Yes
Not all pressure is heaped upon the sales rep, either. Gilson sees it as vitally important that the estimators and CSRs receive proper training in order to close out the sales and service loop.
"(The rep) knows these pieces are going to be produced, so he/she thinks it might as well be my sale rather than giving it up to a competitor…particularly if it is an existing account where I am trying to build my volume," Gilson says.
Gilson recommends a proactive approach to avoiding the potholes associated with digital sales. Meaningful monthly sales meetings with an agenda, and not an open-ended bitching session, can help explore solutions. Bring in suppliers to discuss the substrates and applications that they've seen used successfully. Keep the meetings short and sweet (no more than an hour) and make it conflict-proof by holding it very early in the day.
"As you introduce new services, keep the commission rate simple and the same for everyone," Gilson adds. "Having production and service personnel who can go out on sales calls with the rep who is learning digital is also a real help. Lastly, reassigning the digital portion of an account can be a motivational factor for the existing rep to embrace the new services."
Joining the Digital Revolution
For the first 30 years of its business life, Hudson Printing was exclusively a heatset web printer. Two years ago, an HP Indigo forever shook things up at the Salt Lake City-based firm, and a year later an HP T330 inkjet web press followed suit. But the revolution at Hudson Printing was slow to brew; at the time Paul Gardner, director of innovation, was hired at the shop, the Indigo was being used at 10 percent capacity. But the inkjet addition was part of a greater investment that included recruiting and hiring a dozen other specialists who joined the fold to beef up and expand Hudson's new offerings.