Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A "Marketing Services Provider" approach to print sales

True sales professionals establish and develop their skills to manage a complex sales scenario. They typically enter a buying culture that positions print as an undifferentiated commodity. As a result, the sales professional must use their ability to collect customer and job data, uncover broader business issues, develop solutions from their expert standpoint, and then develop the strategies required to align the printer’s production system to deliver the appropriate solution. Sales must also endeavor to make buyers realize their payback – the value proposition – they derive from the printer’s uniqueness. This allows Sales to sell more of the value of their solution, which in turn will give the print buyer more effective print communication pieces while helping the printer maintain their margins along the way. As this process develops over time, the sales person gets to know the account intimately and learns how to shape the printer’s solutions so that they evolve with the print buyer’s needs and always form the right fit. When Sales only has one print solution or standard, it makes it hard to tailor it to meet customer needs. One print-production method and presswork standard, SWOP or GRACoL for example, may save time and cost in the cases when just that solution fits the customer’s needs just right, but otherwise it may push the sales person and the printer further into a commodity position where price is the sole differentiator.

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