New Skills for New Services

By | January 20, 2011

Picture of Joe Manos EVP Mindfire Inc.In an earlier post “The Next Generation of Print –Evolve or Die!” I discussed the changing landscape of today’s Print Service Provider and the need for evolution. I made the point that in order to achieve success you have to identify the new dynamics associated with the new solution. I also noted that many companies acquiring new solutions fail to develop a comprehensive plan before going to market. They go right from training on the solution into the field (or onto the floor) with exactly the same approach that they used for their traditional offerings. This is a doomed approach.

With that in mind let’s discuss the new skills for new services that are required for success with a new solution.

First of all, the skills needed will depend on the new solution that you are bringing to market. If the solution is an extension of your existing print services, many skills you currently possess will not change radically. But if you are moving into a new area of opportunity like Integrated Marketing Services there will be some new skills required for success.

Let’s review some of the technical knowledge required for success:

  • The ability to populate and share content in social media and online communities
  • Internet media channels
  • Mobile messaging
  • QR codes
  • Google ad words and PPC (Pay Per Click)
  • Print as part of an Integrated Marketing Campaign

Now let’s take a look at  how each functional area of the business may be impacted. Each group will need a number of important skills before working with customers and prospects. Here’s a short list to get you thinking:

SALES
  • Sales training on the overall value proposition, how to “approach” and “present” to the customer and how to    engage the customer/prospects with the solution meeting their needs
  • Technical training on the various use cases to meet different customer need
  • Proof cases on different implementations for success
  • Development of new decision maker contacts
CUSTOMER SUPPORT
  • Solution training on all of the functional capabilities
  • Best practices for campaign success
  • Typical design and customer campaign configurations
  • How to discuss current customer needs as it relates to new projects
PRE-PRESS and PRODUCTION
  • It depends on how deep these groups will be involved in the actual creation of campaign versus pure production of the campaigns
  • At minimum, the key elements of a campaign and best practice personalized elements of finished goods
  • How the data base is appended for campaigns
  • Advanced functionality like Personalized QR Codes versus standard QR Codes
CREATIVE SERVICES
  • Comprehensive technical training on how to create and deliver campaigns
  • Advanced design elements for special campaign needs
  • Best Practice use case methodologies
  • Advanced functionality training for varying needs
OPERATIONS
  • New pricing parameters for Integrated Marketing Services
  • Each campaign is unique – so is the pricing
  • Sales compensation changes – more profit
  • SOW requirements and associated processes
  • Payment upfront (50%) to start project – balance due at campaign launch (50%)

As I mentioned earlier this is simply a short list to get you thinking but it clearly demonstrates the need for effective planning, training and execution across the entire organization.

I would also suggest that you can’t do it alone. You are running a full time business in a changing environment. You need to have a partner to help you make the transformation. The good news is that there are many resources available to you in this area. The even better news is that hundreds of service providers just like you have made the journey successfully.

If you need more information on the options available to you please do not hesitate to ask for help.

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2 thoughts on “New Skills for New Services

  1. Richard Dannenberrg

    I think you really wrapped it all up with this post. I would definitely like more information on options available. We are a small shop with limited resources and the transition to marketing services is very daunting. The technical and creative aspects are difficult enough, but we are really struggling with the change from product oriented sales to concept-oriented sales, and our customers see us as a product provider.

    What specific resources would you suggest?

  2. Elizabeth

    Hi Richard – I already put you in touch directly with Joe who is an excellent resource but, I wanted to mention that there are many other bloggers on the site that offer some of these services as well. Heidi Tolliver-Nigro is a recognized expert on QR codes and has several publications that may help you. John Foley and his team have a lot of capabilities around marketing your services and setting up integrated marketing campaigns for clients as well as reaching clients through social media. Nancy Scott is a wonderful writer if you need content developed or new collateral. Debra McMahon can help you look at your operations for streamlining relative to adding new services and squeezing every dollar out of the process. I primarily consult around vertical solutions for financial services, healthcare and insurance across channels – but also help print companies with market positioning and sales training and creation of sample vertical applications to speed the sales process. Many of these services are also offered through Oce (the esteemed sponsor of TheDigitalNirvana!). If you want me to put you in touch with anyone else directly or find the right contact for you at Oce – drop an email to e gooding at insightforums.com – you’ll need to close the spaces and add the @ but I’m trying to dodge the spam bots!

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