Six Tips for Aligning Print Shop Sales and Marketing Two good ways to improve the productivity, efficiency, and profitability of your print shop are to: 1.) Automate everyday business and production processes; 2.) Encourage your salespeople and marketing team to work more closely together. Aligning sales and marketing activities is more important than ever in a world in which everyone has so many different ways to disseminate and receive information. Synchronizing sales and marketing enables your team to identify qualified leads and ensure that each prospect receives clear, relevant information about your company and services at critical points in their search for solutions to key business challenges. Some advocates of unifying sales and marketing efforts refer to it as “smarketing”. If you are a newer small to mid-sized print shop, your sales and marketing efforts may already be aligned. But if your print shop has been in business for decades, it can difficult to move away from practices that worked well in the past. Why It Matters Easy access to online product information and recommendations have changed the way people research and buy products and services. It has also changed how buyers view salespeople. That doesn’t mean business professionals don’t want to hear from a sales person when buying print services. It just means that the role of the printing salesperson must continue to evolve. A 2018 Miller Heiman Group* survey of business professionals who buy business products confirmed that the majority of buyers don’t regard salespeople as a preferred resource in finding solutions to business problems. About 70% of the respondents preferred not to talk with a seller until they already
had obtained a clear understanding of their needs. Some said they didn’t engage the seller until they were ready to resolve concerns and negotiate terms. So your marketing department must use every possible channel to build awareness of your print shop and its ability to solve marketing challenges. And when your marketing team knows more about the types of clients your salespeople want to reach, they can rethink their marketing strategies. . For example, if your shop has traditionally promoted itself as the lowest cost provider of printing products, your salespeople will constantly find themselves sending quotes to customers who want nothing more than the lowest cost. On the other hand, if your shop markets itself as a provider of custom-designed displays for attention-getting experiential marketing projects, your salespeople will attract calls from buyers at experiential marketing agencies and creative studios who care more about originality, visual impact, and results than rock-bottom production costs. Steps for Aligning Sales and Marketing Make it part of your ongoing business strategy. Make sure your yearly marketing goals reflect the yearly sales quotas and objectives. Get both your marketing team and your sales team involved in discussing how to attract more clients in your current markets and expand into new markets. Collaborate to identify your “ideal buyers.” When your marketing team is clear on what constitutes a qualified lead, they can be more focused in attracting higher-quality leads instead of higher quantities of “leads.” They can develop content to attract buyers who will value your services and influence the buying decision. Let marketing staff sit in on sales meetings. Marketing people need to hear about some of the objections your salespeople hear from customers so they can create content that can help overcome them. Your marketing team can also help keep your salespeople up-to-date on changes that occurring within certain markets, such as retailing, trade shows, events, hospitality, and decor. This will help your salespeople shine when they do meet with prospective clients. Buyers of business services and products expect salespeople who are well-informed about what’s happening in their industry and company. Buyers don’t want to waste time giving your sales team background information that was readily available online. Get sales people involved in developing content. Your marketing team can ghost-write blog posts for your salespeople or create videos in which the salesperson is seen more as an educator than a salesperson. Your marketing team can also help your salespeople develop educational presentations for association conferences and trade shows. If your salespeople are viewed as subject-matter experts, a business professional might be more willing to call them earlier in the decision-making process. Train your salespeople to use social media more like marketers. Marketers know that you attract more followers on social media by providing helpful information instead of constantly being in “sales” mode.
Many business professionals use social media to find trustworthy sources of clarity about complex problems. Make it easy for salespeople and marketing personnel to continuously share information. Some companies have discovered that many salespeople underutilized full-featured, complex CRM systems because updating them is too time-consuming. When a CRM is included in a print-shop-business management program such as Ordant, your salespeople can more easily see the value of updating the CRM. When your marketing, prepress, and production people can all see each customer’s requests and preferences, they can work together to deliver the best possible experience on that job from start to finish. Keeping customers happy on every job will make it that much easier for the salesperson to win future business from those customers. The Role of Automation At Ordant, we believe that when you automate everyday print-shop business management tasks such as estimating, order management, proof approvals, and invoicing, you can devote more time to initiatives that require real leadership - such as aligning print shop sales and marketing efforts. While many marketing tasks can also be automated, your marketing will be less successful if isn’t aligned with your sales efforts. To see how easy it can be to set up and customize a print-shop business management program that included customer relationship management, visit www.ordant.com