With the advancement of digital printing, W2P and the gradual acceptance of cross media printing solutions, many printing salespeople have a lot of new products and services to offer their customers. There is a great deal to learn and a much to do.
The key question is “are printing salespeople and their management up to the task?” During our sales and marketing consulting engagements with graphic communications organizations, we find many are.
Here is the challenge. Large customers have continued to reduce expenses and in particular marketing budgets. Many small and mid-size customers have suffered the most. They have been especially hammered by uncertainty and a slow recovery. It is tough enough to sell printing in a good economy; it is really rough to sell in a bad one where there are lots of less expensive digital and social media choices.
Call to Action
Printing and marketing services organizations need to get out of their shops and educate large numbers of customers who don’t always understand the latest printing offerings and solutions.
Here are some of our conclusions:
- Consultative selling is not an option but a requirement.
- For many complex printing and cross media sales, old school manipulative and spinning sales techniques will hurt more than help.
- You cannot sell what you do not know. A deep knowledge of what is being offered over and about what a customer can get on the Internet is mandatory.
- Printing sales is still a relationship business built on knowledge, performance and strong interpersonal skills.
- Complex printing sales require face to face sales engagements that include approach calls, capability and proposal presentations. Flawless executions of these steps are a must.
- Everyone needs to be part of sales and marketing. That includes estimating, production and management.
- It is important to be conversant about all media including social media and data driven print.
- Top salespeople use creative marketing practices such open houses, customer education and networking.
In general, the future will reward those salespeople who stay up on technology and can better articulate what they sell in a professional manner. We are seeing many large and small graphic communications companies thriving by being better salespeople.