Let’s say someone comes up to you out of the blue, attempting to sell you some piece of software you’ve never heard of before and honestly, you’re just too busy to even care.
What would be the one thing that would make you pause and actually listen to the sales pitch?
It’s been my experience that most people don’t like spending money unnecessarily. Customers don’t like wasting it on broken projects. Bosses don’t like signing off on costs that have no obvious and visible return.
But if someone came up to me with a sales pitch that promised me big savings on both time and cost, they would probably get my attention. That sounds like magic. Wizardry. Why do you think I got into this whole Web2Print stuff in the first place!
More Haste, Less Waste.
The large majority of the clients I have visited don’t really have a print manager – they usually have a marketing bod or three who have been roped into this position out of necessity.
Most of my clients have never paused to consider how much managing the print process is costing them in real terms. You see, it’s not just the hourly rate of each employee – that doesn’t take into account the peripheral costs of employment like National Insurance, holiday times, recruitment costs, administration of staff concerns. The costs of employment do add up.
And they will always be higher than an automated system.
How much time and money is being wasted by being a print manager? All that time preparing and proofing, briefs and changes, sign-offs and approvals. Bleh. Remember that illustration from my first blog? Life without a Web2Print system is really awful for any business whose focus is not the print industry. With a Web2Print system, everything is cheaper and faster – everything is all-round better. Magically so.
A Kind of Magic!
Every time I demo a Web2Print system in front of a customer who’s never used one before, I often feel like a stage magician, whipping off the cover to reveal a perfectly gorgeous assistant bathed in spot-lights and sequins.
I tell my customers about the significant savings and they are politely impressed. I show them the templates they can use, then re-use forever, without design hold-ups; they smile politely. I show them the brand protection they get by archiving everything together and how inter- and cross-departmental collaboration becomes an absolute doddle: more polite smiles.
But when I show them the straightforward work flow, the sheer amount of time and money saved – abracadabra! It’s the magician’s flourish. Cue the applause.
There’s the return on investment and the savings they’ve been hankering after. Reminding them that there are fewer ordering mistakes, now that there are fewer stages between ordering, also makes them pretty happy but ultimately, it’s the immediate and obvious ROI that turns on the lightbulb in their heads.
The Metrics System
Here is my important sales tip of the day: corporate clients are going to prevaricate more over the adoption of a Web2Print system. That’s just how they are. But once they’ve decided to adopt the system, you can be sure that things will start to accelerate.
Franchise clients, on the other hand, instantly know a good thing when they see one, but implementation can sometimes be a teensy bit more troublesome. Be patient and things will eventually start to flow.
Bear in mind that, with corporate clients, you are asking users to change their habits, their processes! This is a seriously big deal, so you will have to persevere. There is the learning curve to overcome, but if you can demonstrate how the benefits outweigh this, then adoption should follow.
Your role doesn’t end there, however – you still have to maintain a personal relationship with your clients, if you want to keep them.
My suggestion? Reviews.
Don’t forget them and do them regularly, even if it’s just yearly (bi-annual is better, though). Make sure they are quantitative, at the very least – solid figures citing clear metrics on such things as percentage of print jobs delivered on time, percentage of jobs delivered according to order (quality, accuracy, as per the original request, and so on), even give a measure of the system’s up-time if you like. Tie them in directly to the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you know your customers are fetishistic about.
All these metrics should reflect the Service Licence Agreements (SLAs) that you signed with your client because this is how they will measure your performance. After all, cloud-hosting means never having to apologise for down-time!
Remind your beloved end-users that all updates, security and management of their platform have all been taken care of, on their behalf, by you, their responsible and diligent account manager, as if by magic.
Most importantly, if, during the course of your customer reviews, you discover issues – act on them! This is a great way to show your customers that you have been improving their service and adding value wherever you can. Include this information in their review, too.
Always Leave Them Wanting More
The man who ran “The Greatest Show on Earth” really knew what he was talking about.
Demonstrate the value you give your customers and they won’t be able to help but come back for more. Quality is directly proven by quantitative means, but service is a qualitative metric that is fed directly by quantitative data. Show them exactly where the savings lie by tying them directly into your SLAs and don’t be afraid to feed back into your own systems when you notice performance dips.
In this way, not only will you retain customers who are only too happy to benefit from the savings you bring to their organisations – you will earn the reputation of being able to work magic!
If you would like to hear more about how I always leave my customers wanting more, feel free to drop me a message from my Contact page, or leave a comment, below!