Web2Print: Tips for Sales Directors Struggling with Sales Crews
You know how people feel about the unknown – fear, loathing, the usual open-arms and welcoming grins, right? You’re going to have to expect this from your own sales crew, when you introduce them to something so new, so different to the stuff they’re used to selling, like a Web2Print platform – a service instead of a product.
Read on and you’ll learn some ideas on this.
You may also have experienced your own frisson of fear as you saw there was no new blog last week. This is because my schedule has taken off into the realms of crazy, lately, so I will now be updating you every fortnight, instead of every week. Let me know what you think – leave a comment for me below, or message me through the contact box!
I Feel Charming… Oh So Charming…
As a Sales Director, you may feel excited about this shiny new service to pitch – it’s a challenge and you wouldn’t be in charge of a sales team if you didn’t enjoy a challenge.
You may feel nervous about making the change from print to tech, away from “proper” project-by-project print jobs. This is understandable, but sales are sales and so remind yourself of the basics of selling and you should be fine, regardless of what it is you’re being asked to sell.
You may feel a little apprehensive about the fact that you’re basically walking into a client’s site and asking them to change all their internal operations for you and your wonder-product. Don’t. Innovation has to start somewhere – imagine early computer salesmen and the uphill struggle they faced, where now it’s common sense and everyone has one. Web2Print is the future of the print industry and you are spear-heading it.
Feel confident, instead, about future client relationships because you are selling a service to a business, not hocking print-job after print-job to anonymous consumers. Now you have a chance to establish relationships, create partnerships and finally start catering to customers in a manner which will enable you and your contacts to remain established for years to come. This is true account management and it is where all end-user interfacing should end up.
Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda
So, as a Sales Director, what should you do? Retain that hunger – you’ll need it to lead your sales team into this new arena and you can only ensure success by providing the kind of stable and clear leadership that can only come from a person who is confident in their product and product knowledge: by a person who knows what they’re doing.
Develop new pitching skills and new selling systems with your team. Do it early and rehearse amongst yourselves frequently. Find yourself an audience so you can get good feedback – it doesn’t matter who, as long as you know they will be honest with you – Neal from Accounting, Emma in Ops, your wife, your children, your dog. Practice your pitch and be one with it. It should sound natural and not stilted.
Make sure your team does the same – in fact, if your team hasn’t been sufficiently trained by now, this may be one arena where you might want to dedicate some time (and budget).
Regardless of experience, however, you should get your team up to speed on Web2Print systems quickly and thoroughly. You may find yourself faced with fearful sales people, all seeing their pipelines lengthen. This is normal – the turnaround on a Web2Print sale is, of course, going to be longer than on a normal print order.
What you want your team to understand is that there are now a tonne of new opportunities in front of them, that weren’t there before – this isn’t a punishment exercise! Rather the contrary – it’s a chance for them to show off their sales skills and prove just how good they really are, which will, of course, be reflected in their take-home commission because Web2Print systems sell for a lot more than your average, normal print run…
If you do this early enough, there should be no appreciable intermediate overlap stage between the old sales model and the new. There should be plenty of time for training and reorganising the sales pipeline. Do it early, or you may be constantly pestered by what you should have done, what you could have done and what you would do if you had more time or money.
Pitch Perfect, Perfect Pitch
What makes a good sales pitch? Why do some customers hear some pitches over others?
Sadly, this is a similar question to “how long is a piece of string?” because it depends on the string, just like it depends on the customer. One size does not fit all – one pitch will not fit all customers, because people are different and have different pain-points and pressure-zones. Figure these out, though, and you should be able to widen that gap and slide your solution straight in.
So, the first rule of creating that golden pitch? Know your customer. Know to whom you are pitching – not just their business and its figures. Don’t even bother to pick up the phone or go to a meeting if you haven’t done your research. You may occasionally get lucky, but mostly it will be pointless.
Who are the major prospects, then? Personally, I aim for the two major players in most businesses: the Business Owner (or Managing Director or however they refer to the person occupying this position) and the Marketing Director (or Vice President or however they want to call themselves).
The core benefits of a Web2Print system have not changed since I started talking about them in my first blog: cost savings, time savings and enhanced brand control being the basic range of attractive features on offer. Beyond this, you are also offering a loosening of authorisation bottlenecks by permitting anyone who’s a part of the office hierarchy to take a look.
In this way, you are not just becoming a solutions provider, you are actually becoming a key part of that client’s business. Time to crowbar the company credit card out of the hands of your credit controller and break out some free lunches for your clients.
But Ali! What are the Business Owners and Marketeers looking for? I am so glad you asked. Let me break it down for you:
Motivations: Growth of the company; Perpetual Profitability; Obvious ROI; Pride in accomplishments.
- “Nobody is complaining about the current processes in place.”
Just because nobody is complaining, doesn’t mean everything is fine and everyone is happy. There is always going to be a better way of doing things – it just might not have been invented yet. Innovation has to start somewhere – if it wasn’t cutting-edge, it wouldn’t be called innovation.
- “Everything runs efficiently already. We don’t waste time.”
Really? Your efficiency is that perfect? Do your operations directors agree? How about your marketing managers? Do they agree that everything is streamlined and perfect? I’m willing to bet this isn’t the case at all.
- “We don’t spend that much on print orders because they tend to be repeat orders.”
You are an ideal candidate for Web2Print technology because of that. Remember my blog where we talked about costs? The overall costs of a Web2Print system is far, far cheaper than ordering individual print runs every so often.
Motivations: Return on Investment; Traceability; Campaign Success, Job Security (like everyone!)
- “Print runs don’t really take up that much of my time…”
Really? Calculate it – show your workings; a lot more time than you think is being taken up by having to adopt the Print Manager role in addition to existing duties.
- “I think our marketing brochures perform very well. We have good people.”
We are not disparaging your staff, nor their ability to perform. Just take a look at the amount of variety that exists across all of your printed matter. Would a unified set of materials not look more professional? How easy is it for you to see what’s being done to your brand? How easy is it for you to evaluate the return on investment on your marketing matter performance?
- “We don’t really do much printed stuff…”
This system can be used to print off anything – mugs, bears, any corporate good you may ever want to hand out for any purpose at all. As a marketing manager, that must be useful to plan an entire campaign and all of its associated costs, in total, surely?
A couple of heads-up warnings – just things you should be aware of, if you want to be successful.
Client relationships become a little easier to manage in the sense that you don’t have to have a personal awareness of each and everything ever ordered by this client, ever again. You can just log into the admin account and take a look at what they’ve been up to and make sure everything has turned out all right.
These relationships may become a little harder, though, due to the fact that they just won’t need you as much anymore – all the things they need have been set up for them on the Web2Print platform already. Make sure you take the time out to call these clients on regular and frequent occasions. Don’t forget.
This is important for your client – less time spent processing orders means more time to spend doing other things – but it is also important for you, because if they have all this spare free time, thanks to you, it should mean they now have more time to meet with you. Make sure they make that time for you, or you can risk losing the relationship with the client that took so much work to build up, in the first place. If everything becomes automated, you will have less of a personal relationship with your client, and that is the kiss-of-death for your average sales person. The important thing to remember is that just because they aren’t calling you anymore to order print runs, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be calling them!
Secondly, this trend is growing. Fast. You will have to learn new skills related to this subject as this is only going to get more popular with time. Being hungry for sales will help here, because if you don’t get up to speed quickly, your competitors definitely will.
Thirdly, don’t be tempted to pitch like a robot. You aren’t a robot. Your clients aren’t robots. That time is coming, but it’s not here yet – so display some adaptability! Remember the motivations of your clients. Remember that these will change, depending on to whom you are speaking. Adapt accordingly.
Bear in mind that some clients are as nervous as gazelles – they like to take their time, think about things, maybe push a smaller print order to you, just to see what you can do and how well you do it. Bide your time, be patient and relax. Remember, deep changes have to be effected in order for this new-fangled Web2Print process to overwrite your client’s existing process and this is Change and change is scary! The point is to build the relationship, instead, which will lead to better things happening in the future. Don’t allow your human interactions to die just because everything is automated!
And if you can remember all of these – no, wait, that’s a poem. But truly, if you can incorporate this advice into your regular sales pitches and activities, you should be seeing at least some success already.