Web2Print: Tips for Sales Teams Struggling with Customers


Last week, I tried to share some suggestions for sales directors and mangers with a team of sales personnel who may be struggling with those teams. This week, I try to help the sales crew themselves find a new aspect of selling a Web2Print system – something that, perhaps, hasn’t occurred to you before, or something that you just needed reminding about.

Before I became a director, while I was still a humble desk-jockey scraping towards target, this is the sort of input that would have really helped, so I hope this is true for you, too!

Stay on target..!

Who is going to buy your shiny Web2Print system with its all-singing, all-dancing, all-round awesome? You can’t just whack up some info on your company’s website and hope that people come across it and go “ooo!”.

In most instances, you’re probably best focusing on either multi-national businesses or franchise chains. Their business models tend to be the most closely aligned to the native goals of a Web2Print platform – namely, the easing of over-complicated, existing print process management, better and tighter branding controls, time and costs savings.

Given the entire business model behind Web2Print, it should be self-explanatory as to why the franchise model fits so well with it. If you need a reminder, take a look at my first blog, the one from the 2nd of October or the one from the 16th of October – they go into more detail there, which shan’t be retrodden, here.

For large, mostly multi-national corporations, there is often a great deal of cross- and inter-departmental communication and localisation issues can arise. With the ability to select print and shoot it off to anywhere in the world, a lot of the mistakes that would occur when trying to source a local (possibly foreign-language) printers simply will not happen. Larger multi-nationals are a great target for a Web2Print platform, but be aware that they, too, will require some element of customisation and may possibly even demand a complete systems integration with their existing marketing management suites. It’s in your best interests, therefore, to maintain a good working relationship with whomever will be undertaking this effort, from your own organisation.

In this case, however, your best bet would be to contact the outsourcing and facility managers. They tend to have staff that specifically get involved with this sort of logistical implementation and generally know the right people to talk to, within their particular business unit.

Who’s Who?

It’s important to approach the right person – and this can vary from business to business. Usually, for the larger mega-corps, I’ve found that the CEO/Director/President types aren’t so interested – this is so far below their interest level that we all look like ants from there. Personnel from Operations tend not to really care until it becomes their job to help with the implementation. They have enough to do, as it is, so this is entirely understandable – it isn’t even their purchase-decision.

And there’s the key. Who’s paying for it? Who would use it? Whose purchasing decision would it ultimately be? For my own experience, this has been the Marketing or Communication Managers and Directors, but your own mileage may vary, so I have always made sure to phrase my questions in ways that they instantly recognize as affecting their realm of control and influence, directly.

I tend to suggest things like, “Doesn’t it strike you as inefficient for all your departments/franchises to be going to tonnes of different printers, all the time?” Then I suggest things like unified templates, accessible by everyone, editable by anyone with the right permissions and proof-able by anyone with a vested interest. I quip that I, personally, would hate to have to manually process each and every print order that comes through and might possibly prefer death, even. A small measure of empathy can go a long way.

Yeah, but then what?!

So. You’ve narrowed your high-turnover sectors, you’ve focussed on a few good verticals, you think you’ve got some people in mind. Now what?

Perhaps you’ve settled on charities and not-for-profit foundations. Perhaps you prefer the public sector. But you’re worried, because the only orders you’re getting from these mega-corps are business cards or letterheads or meh. Not the gigantic order of 800,000 variably-printed brochures that would totally pay off your car.

Relax. Patience.

There’s a reason why rich businesses are rich – they know how to manage their spend. What they’re most likely doing is testing your mettle as a printers. Are you even capable of fulfilling this order, in the first place? This isn’t something to be upset about – this is your in!

They want to know what your print quality is like, what your turnaround is like; do you just straight-up deliver like it ain’t no thang? Or do you call back constantly and query every single niggly detail? Can you accurately lay down that spot-UV, or is your end-product simply littered with errors?

Does this particular business – you know, the one taking the mickey by only ever ordering business cards – have a high staff turnover? If they do, you’re laughing – they are an ideal candidate for a small-footprint installation of a Web2Print platform, purely to generate new business cards whenever someone new comes on board. Offer it without a monthly fee, if they’re covering your costs, even! You are definitely saving them time, you will definitely be saving them money and once they’ve used the system, you could even offer to walk them through a small marketing campaign. Why not record yourself using it to order 500 business cards in nought-point-four of a second and send the video back to that poor purchaser?

Once they’ve seen it in action, they’ll be hooked.

This means that, as a sales person, you are going to have to be reasonably familiar with the technology, yourself. Take time to study the platform, know its pros and cons, know its capabilities and perhaps even store some edge cases in your head for those classic moments when a customer desperately tries to plead with you how their business is especially unique to any other which you may have dealt with, before. If they’ve fallen within your sights, it’s probably for a reason and the person in question is simply trying to stall you so they can get back to browsing Reddit.

If you’ve done the research, this won’t be a problem. I know I keep saying that, but it’s only because it’s true.

Ali’s Awesome Top Tips!

There is a sea of information to cover, here. I don’t want to bore you, so let me summarise the rest of the things that I have always found it crucial to keep in mind, constantly, in the back of my head.

  • Be realistic.

Not everyone will want – or even need – Web2Print. Good research can help eliminate these prospects before you waste time and energy attempting to court them.

  • Be personable.

While personality only really counts up to so far, it’s still fairly universally agreed that if you can make them like you, you’re probably in for a sale.

  • Be patient and organised.

You will have to contend with longer sales-cycles and convoluted internal bureaucratic processes. Be prepared.

  • Don’t lie or oversell.

Once a customer realizes you are lying – or have lied – you will never regain that trust again. Ever.

  • Get your hands dirty.

Demo the system yourself. You aren’t an IT specialist, most likely, so this will clearly demonstrate that anyone can use the Web2Print platform. Don’t devolve this onto a friendly techie. Make sure you convey ease-of-use and, if you can, show a flyer getting customised and pushed into print, if you can – take the customer on their journey!

  • Cultivate relationships.

Without a proper relationship with your client, if something goes wrong, you run the risk of losing them forever. Make sure you stay in regular contact with them – make sure you have a good relationship that is ongoing.

  • Review regularly.

You get a regular performance review – why would you perform one for the backbone system of your client’s print ordering capabilities? Set a reminder in your calendar if you have to, but do it!

Last Thoughts

This should more or less accommodate just about everyone you encounter. Just remember to bear in mind the fundamentals and you should be fine.

Remember, business cards are a great foot in the door. Don’t be afraid of starting off small – lots of businesses like to test the waters, first. Have a go with your own system before even thinking of trying to sell it to someone else. Don’t forget to regularly check in with your clients. Be adaptable in your pitches and tailor them accordingly.

And do your research!