They Are Not Buying Print
Many sales teams are challenged in the current business environment to connect with customers and prospects. New sales are harder to find and harder to close. When I ask sales teams about who they plan to contact for referrals [always ask for referrals], often they speak about customers who buy specific types of print jobs.
I coach sales teams to get to decision makers and to conduct strategic account planning to understand their customers’ business goals. No one wakes up and says, “I want to buy printing today, or I’m going to call a print sales rep today.” But those same customers and decision makers across all vertical markets do lose sleep over their immediate business goals. Their business needs typically revolve around the following objectives:
- Acquire new customers
- Upsell and retain existing accounts
- Launch new products
- Educate sales and client service teams
- Promote specific products and services
- Improve client satisfaction
- Drive digital engagement
- Educate consumers in the current business environment.
All print applications serve one of three primary business needs.
To inform, to persuade, to record.
Training tools, books, signage, and similar material serve the purpose to inform. Marketing materials, direct mail, and many documents are printed to persuade people to take action. Most transactional applications like contracts, statements, invoices, and policies serve the purpose to record agreements. Printed materials inform or persuade people to do something. To get consumers to act, buy, donate, download, or go a store.
Printing is what you do. It is not why customers buy from your company. They chose print because of a specific goal or desired outcome. They have chosen to do business with your company to help them achieve their objective. And the reason customers buy print with your company is the expectation that your company will make them look good personally and professionally. You will help them achieve a business goal, and get it done right. Which means they are buying “peace of mind.”
It’s not about the printed items, the quality, or even getting it done on time. They chose you. They expect your company will do it all. You will fix their file, making sure the documents, signs, books looks great. They expect you will manage the data, fold, trim, mail, ship, and track so they can achieve their business goals. They are buying peace of mind that you and your company will fulfill on their needs.
Salespeople who focus on the results and outcomes of why customers print have very different conversations during the sales process than salespeople focused on print specifications. The successful group are comfortable speaking about results because they understand their customers' business goals and know why they print.
Having a defined sales process means having the discipline to follow repeatable steps that produce predictable results. An effective sales process includes actions to identify customer business needs and desired outcomes. Print is a service that drives many types of results. Award-winning case studies demonstrate print that has enabled new sales, changed consumer behavior, improved market share, and educated teams. Tell the story of your customers' results, enabled by your services, and you will discover new customers.
Input for this piece was provided by Mark M. Fallon, president and CEO, The Berkshire Company:
Mark M. Fallon is president and CEO of The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm specializing in mail and document processing strategies. The company develops customized solutions integrating proven management concepts with emerging technologies to achieve total process management. He offers a vision of the document that integrates technology, data quality, process integrity, and electronic delivery. His successes are based upon using leadership to implement innovative solutions in the document process. You can contact Mark at email@example.com.
Lois Ritarossi is the President of High Rock Strategies, a consulting firm focused on sales and marketing strategies, and business growth for firms in the print, mail and communication sectors. Lois brings her clients a cross functional skill set and strategic thinking with disciplines in business strategy, sales process, sales training, marketing, software implementation, inkjet transformation and workflow optimization. Lois has enabled clients to successfully launch new products and services with integrated sales and marketing strategies, and enabled sales teams to effectively win new business. You can reach Lois at firstname.lastname@example.org.