One of the major challenges faced by a printer that wants to offer marketing services involves changing their sales strategies and tactics. There really is a big transition from commodity-based sales to solution sales. In my book Business Tranformation: A New Path to Profit for the Printing Industry, you will not find a how-to-guide on how to sell. Rather, you will find a chapter that focuses on the changes that you may need to make to your sales process.
Identifying Other Opportunities
One of the biggest changes will involve taking the time to investigate what other sales opportunities may be available. Let’s think of the the example of a seminar.
A seminar requires promotional planning, production, and follow-up. Registering attendees, mail and email notifications, collection of registration fees via e-commerce, creating informational items, and much more, are all a part of putting on an event of this sort. In the past, your business may have only received a small portion of the work involved in those items; perhaps you were printing the postcards that invited people to the seminar. But as a marketing services provider, you will absolutely want to find ways to get more of that business.
How can you go about doing this? One thing that may help is to simply ask more questions. Find out how the company plans to promote their seminar besides the printed piece that you are doing. Also, share tips and advice with them to position yourself as a partner. Suggest that they can improve the success of their registration efforts with personalized URLs or QR Codes. Share statistics that demonstrate the lift some campaigns get by including emails and social networks in their promotions. Then, find ways to demonstrate how you can help them with those items too.
Formalize Your Sales Process
If your company has had the same sales reps for many years, there may be some folks that are used to doing the majority of their work on their own. However, the transformation into a marketing services provider requires a team approach.
To get everyone on board, you may need to put forth efforts to standardize your sales process, to hold weekly meetings to share ideas, problems, concerns, and successes, and to develop that tools that will help people forecast sales opportunities.
Find Ways to Automate!
Next, let’s look at sales force automation. SFA records all of the stages in a sales process. It also allows you to track all of your contacts. SFA systems are also capable of sales lead tracking systems, sales forecasting, order management and product knowledge. This creates a streamlined, productive environment for your sales reps.
This is not limited to your sales reps, however. Your marketing department will also benefit from SFA. As your customer database grows, your marketing department can do a few things with this. For example, they may be able to identify who your most profitable customers are. There are obvious benefits to this. This will enable them create a market of similar companies to target.
Also, SFA will help in understanding the competition. Any lost sales opportunities should be documented in the system. Marketers can examine trends and cycles among sales reps and help develop a stronger competitive strategy. Also, this helps marketers and sales reps work in tandem. If you are conducting a self-promotional campaign, that information should be included in the SFA system, including who was contacted and what their responses were.
There is also marketing automation. This allows you to send out consistent and relevant messages efficiently. Marketing automation enables you to automate marketing functions, including campaign creation, market segmentation, and response analysis. Simply the gathering of data that can be used to target your audience in a valued way.
Technology is your friend. Use it to make your sales and marketing processes more efficient and effective. You will see results.
Next week, we will look at social media, and where it fits in with your new business.