Gimbel & Associates Blog

Getting to Yes

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Jun 23, 2017 10:29:21 AM

Impact Sales Performance
Printing companies used tried and true sales strategies in the 80’s and 90’s, but those techniques are yielding fewer results today. Print service providers need new strategies to stand above the competition and attract business that spurs growth. At Gimbel & Associates we’ve been teaching print industry salespeople how to react to the ever changing business environment in which they find themselves, with great success.
 
The process is evolutionary. Companies don’t change overnight, but we’re sharing helpful tips that can have an immediate impact on sales performance. These ideas will encourage customers to say “yes” more often.
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Topics: consultative selling, solution selling, challenger sale, sales, sales strategies, getting to yes

Direct Mail - Your Multi-Channel Gateway

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on May 25, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Cross-Channel Audience Recognition
Customers may limit inquiries with print service providers to quotes on print projects, but nearly all your customers are implementing multi-channel or omni-channel marketing strategies. A recent Winterberry Group survey showed 72% of organizations in the study were actively pursuing cross-channel audience recognition as a key business priority.
 
Multi-channel may seem threatening or intimidating to companies that create print for a living. If you don’t have the experience and resources to handle multi-channel campaigns, how will you support your customers?   One answer is something comfortable and familiar: direct mail.
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Topics: integrated marketing, multi-channel campaigns, digital print, direct mail

Are You Making Enough on Print?

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Apr 26, 2017 1:56:48 PM

Printers operating without a MIS system are flying blind

It is easy to tell if a print operation is making money by looking at profit and loss reports. Not so simple is finding the information management needs to make decisions such as determining how much work they can add before purchasing new equipment or when to hire more people. And recognizing the point to adjust pricing for individual jobs or accounts is nearly impossible without a system to capture job level data and generate cost analysis reports.

In many shops, job cost data from the production floor is randomly collected and rarely reviewed. Making the task even harder, many shops use separate, unconnected processes to handle estimates, order entry, job scheduling, postage deposits, time tracking, inventory, and billing. Employees manually copy information generated by one software system into another, leading to errors and omissions. Real time data is unavailable, rendering informed daily production adjustments impossible.

In environments where managers cannot compare job-level costs to budgets or estimates, changing conditions or inefficiencies can make it possible to unknowingly lose money on jobs–and do it repetitively.

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Topics: MIS,, Automation,, Workflow, XML, JDF

The Printer’s Role in Non-Profit Campaign Effectiveness

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Jan 12, 2017 9:30:00 AM

The Key to Success is in the Data

Helping non-profits reach their objectives for fundraising and retention requires print service providers to use a new approach; different from how they’ve interacted with customers for decades. Print vendors must dedicate more time to probing, analyzing, and testing than they might apply to traditional direct mail campaigns. A file of names and addresses imaged on pre-printed shells will not yield the desired results. The key to non-profit success is in the data.

 A non-profit organization’s data could be outdated or in disarray. Print service providers may have to help their non-profit clients assess, augment, and use the data necessary to make their fundraising campaigns successful. It is important to do this work before attempting to design compelling variable data campaigns.

Start with an analysis of the data that exists within the non-profit’s donor databases:

  • What information have they captured?
  • Did they record the information in a consistent manner?
  • Is information missing from some records?
  • Are there known duplicates?
  • Is the data centralized or is it spread across several departments or locations?
  • How old is the data?
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Topics: marketing, multi-channel campaigns, marketing strategy, data analytics, non-profit

Upgrade fundraising strategies with printed and electronic messaging

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Jan 5, 2017 1:04:51 PM

Printers have the expertise, non-profits have the need

Many non-profit organizations are stuck in the past when it comes to their fundraising efforts. Part of the challenge is a lack of resources. Non-profits rely on volunteers to handle administrative tasks. There may also be knowledge and experience gaps which may cost fundraising groups more than they realize. Partners such as print and mail service providers can be valuable sources of information and inspiration. Working with their partners, non-profit clients can upgrade their fundraising and communication strategies through printed and electronic messaging.

 “Tried and True” campaigns that have always produced satisfactory results are probably out-of-date today. Internet technology has affected everything – including the way non-profits inform donors about causes and persuade them to send money.  Good news for smaller non-profits, the internet has also leveled the playing field. Now any size organization has access to the tools and techniques necessary to upgrade their approach. Non-profits must modernize their methods to take advantage of current technology and connect to today’s contributors.

Data is king in the commercial business world and non-profits are no different. Sadly, most organizations do not have the data they need. Others are unsuccessful at applying their facts and figures. Effective use of data will improve messages to members, donors, volunteers, and sponsors. Stellar fundraising requires communicating the right information at the right time to the right people. Data makes that possible. And software tools drive effective customer engagement across multi-channel communications.

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Topics: digital print, marketing strategy, multichannel campaigns, integrated marketing, variable data printing

How to Create a Business Marketing Plan for Inkjet     Part 2

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Dec 7, 2016 3:26:31 PM

Marketing and Sales Must Work Together

Creating a Business Marketing Plan for Inkjet includes several steps. Success relies upon an honest evaluation of the print service provider and a detailed analysis of customers, competitors, and market trends. If inkjet is new to everyone in the organization, or an introspective examination of the current condition is difficult, then ask for opinions from outside observers and experts to help build the business plan.

In Part 1 of this post we described assessment, review, and goal-setting activities necessary to establish a baseline and the desired objectives for developing new business for an inkjet platform. Part 2 focuses on the marketing and sales strategies print service providers must consider to achieve the desired outcomes.

Marketing Strategy

Print service providers achieving the greatest return on their inkjet platform investments have approached marketing differently from their strategies for traditional offset or toner-based printing. Their focus is on using inkjet to help customers meet their marketing or customer communications objectives, rather than on the printed output itself. Creating awareness, interest, and demand for inkjet-enabled benefits is the job of the print provider’s marketing strategy.

Inkjet-specific marketing materials can point out how a service provider’s inkjet operation can:

  • Improve response rates for customer marketing materials by making documents more personalized

  • Use data to create relevant documents and images designed to improve customer experiences

  • Embed promotional, informational, or educational content in transactional documents

  • Reduce customer service calls by creating easily understood documents

  • Drive targeted messaging in other channels and integrate printed materials into multi-channel campaigns

  • Get documents produced sooner due to shortened proofing and preparation times

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Topics: marketing, sales, marketing strategy, sales process, marketing plan

How to Create a Business Marketing Plan for Inkjet           Part 1

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Nov 21, 2016 3:16:34 PM

4 Main Steps to Success

Creating a Business Marketing Plan for Inkjet includes several steps. Success relies upon an honest evaluation of the print service provider and a detailed analysis of customers, competitors, and market trends. If inkjet is new to everyone in the organization, or an introspective examination of the current condition is difficult, then ask for opinions from outside observers and experts to help build the business plan.

S.W.O.T.

The first step in creating an inkjet business marketing plan is assessing the current         state of the operation. We always start with an objective analysis of strengths and weaknesses. Then we identify new opportunities inkjet provides and get a handle on risks and threats to the company’s success as a provider of inkjet printing services.

Common strengths we measure include sales skills, vertical market expertise, and existing contracts. Identified weaknesses might be skilled labor shortages, buyer perceptions compared to competitors, or high overhead costs.

Inkjet presents so many opportunities print service providers may need to decide which areas they want to exploit first and which can wait until they have more experience. Examples include expansion into new vertical markets, soliciting larger or smaller clients than previously served, and developing new applications that leverage the speed, price, and flexibility of inkjet. Because inkjet is more about data than other printing technologies, offering digital services beyond print but using the same data sources may be ways to deepen customer relationships.

Threats are highly specific to individual organizations, geographies, and markets. They might include competitors also entering the inkjet world, contract terms, overall economic conditions, or mergers and acquisitions involving key accounts.

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Topics: marketing

Why You Need a Business Marketing Plan Before You Buy an Inkjet Press

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP on Nov 4, 2016 12:58:18 PM

Plan a Strategy for Migration, Integration and
New Business Bevelopment 

Early adopters of inkjet printing were often challenged to find enough pages to fill their newly acquired capacity. Lower production cost was an attractive aspect of inkjet, but those savings only materialized when there was enough volume to cover the overhead. Companies had to convert existing applications to the inkjet platform and convince customers inkjet was a reasonable alternative.

These inkjet pioneers weren’t bad business people, they just suffered through the issues that come with any breakthrough product or technique. A “Field of Dreams” situation forced printing companies to invest first and then unearth the work. Printers migrated inkjet jobs from traditional presses; either their own or from competitors. This was normal for many printing companies.

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Topics: marketing

Paper and Ink Developments Broaden Inkjet’s Appeal

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Sep 13, 2016 1:59:57 PM


Inkjet Advancements Exhibited at Drupa

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Topics: digital print, Publications, technology

Consultative Selling - Teaching Your Sales Team a New Approach

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on May 18, 2016 12:13:01 PM

How To Turn Your Staff Into Consultative Sellers

In a previous post I pointed out the need to transition to consultative selling from traditional approaches used by most print service providers. This isn’t an easy task. Retraining a sales team to use a different set of skills is a hard thing to do. It doesn’t involve just the salespeople; it is an enterprise-wide effort. Top management must support consultative selling as part of their company culture to change the mindset from focusing on print jobs to enabling customers’ business goals. It’s about why they print, not what.

One of the most important concepts to ingrain in your salespeople is that relationships come first and selling comes second. Building relationships with customers includes developing trust and credibility. To earn that trust salespeople must take a true interest in understanding client needs, demonstrating empathy, and always maintaining integrity.

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Topics: sales, consultative selling, marketing, how to

Consultative Selling – Business Development Breeds Better Sales

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Apr 18, 2016 11:57:05 AM


Why You Should Care About Consultative Selling

Over the last several years journalists and experts have advised printing companies they must change to be competitive in a multi-channel communications world. Many print providers have responded by updating hardware, software, and technology. We think the key to successfully generating revenue from those investments, and the way to expand your business, is by adopting a consultative approach to working with your customers. We’ve already helped many clients make that transition.

Consultative selling is different from the method used for decades in the print business, best described as “commodity” or “transactional” selling. In a typical print services sales presentation, the salesperson spends most of their time describing what their company has to offer. The conversation is dominated with details such as printing specifications, papers, finishing capabilities, mail preparation, and volume price breaks.

Today - “Here is what we have – want to buy it?”

In a print focused, commodity-type relationship, the print services discussed are generally available from many providers and the buyer has many vendors to choose from. The most important distinguishing factor is price. Customer loyalty is tenuous at best. If youbrochures.jpg are selling print in a price based relationship, the value of continuing to do business with your company can be easily diminished or eliminated by lower prices touted by the competition.

Transactional customer relationships are a bit stronger than commodity selling in that a print service provider may have developed a niche or specialization within a certain market or service. Their record of performance and limited competition allows them to charge more, but leaves little room for expanding customer relationships beyond that particular area of expertise. Customers may keep coming back because there are no viable options. Once they find an alternative though, accounts become vulnerable.

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Topics: sales, consultative selling, marketing

Grow Your Business by Selling Value, Not Print

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Mar 15, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Print providers are in an excellent position to help their customers understand the unique benefits of print communications, how to get the greatest return from their investments in printed material, and how to integrate print and digital media to raise the effectiveness of all the channels. Focusing on how customers benefit from their services is the way to get customers thinking of a print service provider as a strategic partner rather than a vendor.

 This requires shifting sales conversations away from production-related specifications such as print volumes, finishing, and paper stocks. Value-added discussions should be about business goals such as conversion rates, customer retention, upselling, lifetime customer value, and customer experience. 

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Topics: sales, consultative selling, multi-channel campaigns, sales effectiveness, variable data printing, digital print

individualized media essentials

Posted by Roger P. Gimbel, EDP on Mar 10, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Increase Your Print Sales:

Here’s an ideal vehicle for telling customers and prospects how they can generate enormous sales and revenue opportunities with variable-data printing (VDP). Written for marketers and printers alike, the individualized media essentials book focuses on how VDP is opening up individualized marketing, in which each direct mail piece can be tailored to the unique needs and buying preferences of every member of the target audience.

  • In this book you’ll fnd: 

    • A printer’s ­perspective providing selling and workfow tips and considerations
    • A marketer’s perspective describing the opportunities
    • Case studies and a useful glossary of industry terms and resources
    • A go-forward guide that outlines each player’s role

Complimentary Copies Available

Gimbel & Associates has a limited number of complimentary copies of individualized media essentials available on a first come basis, one per person/company within the continental US only.   

 

To get your free copy click on the book and fill out the order form. Your copy will be shipped in 7-10 days.

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Topics: Announcements, Publications

Breaking Through – The Challenge of Email and Voicemail

Posted by Lois Ritarossi on Mar 8, 2016 3:26:36 PM


"What would it mean to your business if 20 or 30 percent more of your emails were

New Call-to-action opened and responded to?"  Clients and prospects want relevant specific content, and are overwhelmed by the amount of information coming at them every day.  

     Gimbel & Associates’ webinar, Breaking Through, will enable you to breakthrough to deliver voicemail and email messages that generate results.  

faviconetting a response to your voicemail and emails is a challenge that impacts sales people in all industries.  We have common communication tools, voicemail and email,   but somehow these tools are far less effective than they were 3 to 5 years ago.  While it seems reasonably to expect your customers or prospects to read and open your messages, we know it's just not so. So how can you craft messages that do get a response?

Grabbing the Customer’s Attention

  • Set the stage for WIIFM or “what’s in it for me.”  Create  a specific relevant message for each client based on what is important to them. Most salespeople write and speak about their products and services. But your prospects don't care about your products and services. They only care about what is important in their role, in their company and in their industry. So your messages need to address what is important to them. For example many marketing and financial people are measured by quarterly results. As we approach the end of a quarter, you could create relevancy by acknowledging the importance of sales and marketing results for the end of the quarter.  Do you know what your prospect needs to accomplish by the end of the quarter? How can your product or service help them with their goals or results? An attention grabbing subject line could be: 20 days left until second quarter starts…are you ready? First quarter results on target?
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Topics: Announcements