The Secrets of Printers Who Profitably Sell Marketing Services
Are you wondering, “Why the heck is it so hard to sell non-print marketing services?”
What it is that separates you from the those who succeed and thrive?
While much has been written about the need for printers to transition into becoming marketing service providers, doing so in the real world is hard. Really hard.
But we’ve noticed there are 3 patterns found rather consistently amongst the top income-producing service providers. While the 3 ‘secrets’ are simple on the surface (and may run contrary to your first instincts), they have shown themselves to be financially rewarding in their application.
These observations come from years of hands-on work with thousands of printer, mailers, and marketing services companies. Over the years, we’ve seen many blossom, and others fail.
We’ve made it part of our mission to discover why some not only succeed but flourish, and others try and then given up. Personally, it’s something that drives me every day. My hope is that these 3 observations bring you a step closer to your own business break-through.
The 3 Secrets
Here’s what the top quartile do.
They Identify, Cultivate, and Compensate a Champion.
In successful organizations, one person is selected to act as the catalyst for action. In some cases, this is the company owner. In other cases, this is an experienced sales executive. Who fills this role seems to matter less than whether a person is identified.
The Champion is involved in every transaction that involves non-print marketing services. Whether it be PURLs, emails, microsites, or campaign landing pages, the Champion involves herself in every sales rep’s pipeline and customer base.
The Champion becomes a subject-matter expert (even if the title is self-given) and becomes increasingly valuable to the organization as her knowledge of how to integrate print and non-print channels together increases.
In the top income-producing organizations, we see that the Champions are compensated on all programs sold by the organization, whether or not they’re involved in the sale.
But simply identifying a Champion is not enough. In the top income-producing organizations, we see that the Champions are compensated on all programs sold by the organization, whether or not they’re involved in the sale. While this may make ownership cringe, it actually serves to lubricate all sales because this person pushes — and pushes hard.
If the Champion sees that the sales rep is incapable of (or unable to) accurately pitch, demo, or close deals that need marketing services, she’ll step in and help because ultimately, she benefits personally as well.
In one very successful case, we saw a company’s sales executive launch a separate company (with the print owner’s blessing), which licensed the required software and then resold it to the print company. Done completely above board, this served to give the sales exec a piece of every Personalized URL sold by the print company. Without question, this model has shown to be extremely effective for both the enterprising sales executive, as well as company ownership.
Everyone is aligned. Everyone is making money. Clients are happy.
They Invest in, Iterate, and Sell a Product.
As it is, selling print and non-print campaigns is difficult enough, let alone trying to come up with a unique solution for each customer. What the top quartile of income-producing companies seem to do is productize their marketing campaign offering, meaning they sell more or less the same thing to each organization with slight variations.
Instead of starting with a blank slate and trying to sell something different each time, they’re selling a solution that’s like what they’ve sold in the past, maximizing organizational learning, efficiency, and margins.
If you’ve launched a campaign before only to find yourself thinking, “Man, this is a lot of work for very little return,” then you’re thinking similar thoughts to these organizations.
The only difference is that instead of giving up, they took themselves a step further and productized their solution. Whether it be marketing campaigns designed to attract more college students, sell more cars, or fund more loans, they’ve found a way to package and sell their expertise many times over, with less variation (ie., costs) as time goes on.
Some printers are afraid of sharing their experiences, discussing strategy with peers, and sharing what’s worked (or hasn’t). In our experience, the opposite tendencies tend to be present in the top producers.
Whereas the laggards are closed, afraid, and unwilling to share with others, the leaders are open, willing to share ideas and best-practices, and aren’t afraid of sharing their insights with others.
Also, they tend to be open towards fostering key relationships with vendors and partners that help them achieve success. Realizing that they cannot do everything alone, they seek out and develop key alliances with developers, designers, and technology providers to provide a foundation for all aspects of campaign development.
Now It’s Your Turn
I want to hear from you. Have you tried, yet failed to offer marketing services? What would happen if you applied these secrets to your print business?
PS: Check this out! Makes our day when we get replies like this!
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