Forbes says “…transitioning to the cloud has enabled (companies) to better manage industry disruptions, reinvent their business models and fuel massive improvements in the delivery of their services.”
Doesn’t that description sound like the printing industry?
The printing business is transforming. To compete, print service providers must be able to adapt and evolve quickly to meet their client’s needs. Doing business in the cloud gives printers access to the tools and resources necessary to take advantage of new technologies and participate in trends as they develop.
print service providers,
cloud computing trends
Too many print companies still rely on traditional methods for interacting with their clients. Instead of suggesting creative ways they can help their clients achieve business goals, print companies keep focusing sales conversations on quotes and printed products they can provide. It may seem contrary and uncomfortable, but the best way to sell print may not be initiating a sales call with product pitches. This approach makes print a commodity that any competitor offering a lower price can easily reproduce.
Your Most Experienced People
to Walk Out the Door
Competition is fierce in the printing business. Nearly every print operation can buy the same equipment and software you use to run your business. Many printing companies offer much the same products and services as local, national, and international competitors. The real differentiator for most printing companies is their people, and a huge problem is looming regarding your staff. Where will your future employees come from?
recruiting for the print industry,
graphics employee competition,
print industry labor,
Informed Delivery Is A Win For Print Service Providers
The USPS Informed Delivery program continues to gain momentum. As of this writing, the program includes around 13 million subscribers. An impressive 65% of email subscribers check their Informed Delivery emails nearly every day. If you’ve ever run email campaigns, you’re probably aware that achieving a 65% open rate is quite a feat.
Highly personalized and customized print communications that drive customer engagement have won awards and been featured in highly acclaimed case studies for decades. Marketers have experienced response and conversion lift when they leverage variable data. This phenomenon has been documented many times.
Why are so few of these campaigns executed? Most direct marketing programs do not leverage the demonstrated power of data. What is it about variable data that keeps marketers from using readily available technology to their advantage?
variable data printing,
Print Media Center
Successful customer events and open houses don’t happen by accident. To realize tangible results you will need alignment throughout your organization on event goals, event strategies, and project planning responsibilities. You’ll also need a cross-functional team to execute the plan. Everyone (yes every person in your facility) will need to know what you are planning, and your reasons for hosting a customer event. Each employee will have a role before, during, or after the function.
Customer events and open houses are fantastic opportunities for print service providers to demonstrate new capabilities and engage customers. No other promotional or marketing effort can match the impact of interacting with customers in-person at your facility. You’ll have the full attention of attendees and ample opportunities to show them the benefits of working with your firm.
These carefully planned events also allow you to change notions people have about your company and give you a chance to show off the investments you’ve made to handle your customers print and digital communication demands. If changing customer relationships is part of your business plan, an open house or similar affair is an ideal way to launch the effort.
A Print Buyer Perspective on Typical Sales Calls
How would you like to learn how your sales force is doing – directly from prospective customers? Wouldn’t you like to find out what is going through buyers minds as they sit through the presentations tendered by your sales force?
We all know the print marketplace is changing, so print sales people must adapt. How is that working out? Are your salespeople giving customers what they need to encourage them to do business with you? Are you failing to sign business you ought to get?
In a new eBook from Gimbel & Associates, printing companies get a rare look into the minds of customers. We asked print buyers to tell us how they perceived the print service representatives that called on them. We wanted to find out what salespeople are doing right and where they need to improve.
We recently assisted one of our customers with a major business evolution to inkjet. The company migrated from a cut sheet toner printing environment to continuous roll-fed inkjet platform. It’s a journey becoming common as clients demand the flexibility inkjet provides and printing companies scramble to respond.
As your organization transitions from selling products and print jobs to selling solutions, your sales techniques must evolve. The ultimate value of a print solution is not the printed product. It is the actionable results that come from the print. These results help your clients grow and achieve their specific business goals.
This post is all about making those sales process changes. If you follow these guidelines, your sales performance will improve.
It Starts Before the First Sales Call
Before you begin calling on prospects, answer these questions:
Why do customers buy from your organization?
- What can you do that others cannot? What case studies or testimonials can you use?
- What skills or business practices differentiate you from competitors?
A typical print production organization encompasses several internal entities that are often distinct and isolated from one another. Among others, your company’s departments may include groups dedicated to marketing, creative, production, and data. In the past, disassociation among these groups was manageable. Some departments even found it acceptable to maintain mild adversarial relationships; they just didn’t see things the same way, but arms-length interactions didn’t influence the ability to do business.
Things have changed. Today’s most successful enterprises are reaping the benefits of bringing their internal groups together. They are creating a competitive advantage by speeding time to market and delivering high quality products in an environment where print service providers are forging deeper relationships with their clients. In this article we will concentrate on the ties between marketing and data.
Mailers are accustomed to postage rate increases in January, and the updates for 2018 followed a familiar pattern. Besides the rate increases, the US Postal Service is updating elements of the postal system. Industry analysts expect more developments soon. Mailers need to stay informed as the mailing business becomes increasingly driven by technology and data. Neglecting to keep up on postal developments can result in missed opportunities and unnecessary costs.
US law mandates the US Postal Service keep rate increases in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for market-dominant products like First Class letters and Marketing Mail. The law allows more pricing flexibility for parcel shipping services where the USPS competes with private carriers.
The CPI price cap keeps rate increases within a definable range, but that doesn’t mean the USPS assigns identical percentage increases across the board. Rate changes for individual classes and presort levels will vary with this latest price adjustment.
2018 postal rates