P6 Meeting of the Minds P10 On the Horizon
Developing high achievement in print sales
P22 Attainability in Sustainability P30 Precise Selling P34 Fine Tuning P40 Book Recommendation
Why I Fired My Printer Print buyers tell their stories
Publisher’s Thoughts Do You Know What You Don’t Know?
Meeting of the Minds Top account executives discuss current trends in print, and the future of the industry.
On the Horizon Industry analyst Andy Paparozzi says the print industry should pay careful attention to 2008’s economic outlook.
Why I Fired My Printer Want to know why buyers sometimes tell printers to hit the road? CANVAS posed the question to four print buyers. You may be surprised by their answers.
Attainability in Sustainability Will environmental efforts help or hinder the print industry?
Precise Selling The Princess and Tammy Faye.
McArdle Printing Co.
Consolidated Graphics, Inc.
Litho Craft, Inc.
Lake County Press
MANAGING EDITOR graham garrison
CONTRIBUTORS brian dooling, ryan mcnally, linda bishop
CANVAS, Volume 1, Issue 2. Published bi-monthly, copyright 2007 CANVAS, All rights reserved. Subscriptions: $29.00 per year for individuals; issues are sent free of charge to print representatives. If you would like to subscribe or notify us of address changes, please contact us at 6555 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 307, Duluth, Georgia 30097. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to CANVAS, 6555 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 307, Duluth, Georgia 30097. Please note: The acceptance of advertising or products mentioned by contributing authors does not constitute endorsement by the publisher. Publisher cannot accept responsibility for the correctness of an opinion expressed by contributing authors. CANVAS Magazine is dedicated to environmentally and socially responsible operations. We are proud to print this magazine on Sappi Lustro Offset Environmental (LOE) Dull Cover 80lb/216gsm and Dull Text 80lb/118gsm, an industry-leading environmentally responsible paper. LOE features 30% Post Consumer Waste, FSC Chain of Custody certification, SFI Fiber Sourcing certification and Elemental Chlorine Free bleaching process. 100% of the electricity used to manufacture LOE is generated with Green-e certified renewable energy.
Fine Tuning Suppliers suggest that the print industry needs to be more involved in customers’ success in order to succeed themselves.
“Price Doesn’t Count” Getting customers to want to buy from you.
CANVAS magazine FOR MORE INFORMATION: 678.473.6131 6555 Sugarloaf Parkway Duluth, GA 30097
Do You Know What You Don’t Know?
Isn’t it funny how we can become so enamored with ourselves? When you do a job successfully for a certain amount of time, your confidence grows and you start to think that you’re a star. You get comfortable. The skills you possess have become so practiced, that they become second nature. This idea of “Unconscious Competence” usually is attributed to things such as driving or typing. However,
are you truly “Unconsciously Competent” with the skills necessary to be a top level salesperson? Is listening and communicating second nature to you? And if not, are you willing to recognize the need for help and training? The competency learning model has four stages of development when related to both new and old skills.
• Unconsciously Incompetent is where you don’t know what you don’t know. In other words, there are skills that you currently do not have that you are unaware of.
• Consciously Incompetent is where you begin to realize the skills you need to be successful, along with the corresponding training you must commit to.
Selling is certainly not easy, but it sure is fun. • Consciously Competent is marked by a person reliably performing a skill. They must still think about what they are doing, but they can easily demonstrate that skill to others. • Unconsciously Competent is where the skill becomes second nature with constant practice. I am amazed at how hard your job is and even more bewildered by some of the “Unconsciously Competent” salespeople I have run across the last few months. These people are able to listen and probe as if breathing. Where I may have emotion and self centeredness involved in my sales process, they have calmness and clarity within theirs. For example, Linda Bishop, author of this issue’s lead story, “Why I Fired My Printer,” has continually demonstrated an ability to be curious and empathetic at the same time. Thinking about the person in front of her and his or her goals and concerns seems completely natural for Linda. Selling is certainly not easy, but it sure is fun. When conducting our roundtable with our newly appointed rep council, I was struck with a couple of the intangibles that this group of “Unconsciously Competent” sellers seem to have. They had great respect for their industry, tremendous enthusiasm for their roles within it, and a sincere interest to learn from one another. When we completed the discussion, I remember thinking to myself that there must be more people like this group. People who recognize that they can learn new skills and that are humble enough to understand that they don’t know what they don’t know. But they will!
Mark Potter Publisher
CANVAS november 2007
Editor’s Note: CANVAS is proud to announce the members of our 2008 Editorial Board.
Vice President Litho Craft, Inc. Gary Cone is an industry expert who speaks and writes from a real-world business perspective. Cone is author of “Price Doesn’t Count — Getting
Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Consolidated Graphics, Inc.
Customers To Want To Buy From You” and “Why Marketing? — Building Momentum To Profit,” published by NAPL. Cone has been active in, and past president of Pacific Printing & Imaging, the PIA affiliate in the Pacific Northwest, is a recipient of the Ben Franklin Award for outstanding contributions to
Aaron Grohs is the executive vice president
the graphic arts industry, the Peyton Shaner Award for leadership
of marketing and sales of Consolidated
in the graphic arts industry, was chairperson of numerous PIA
Graphics, Inc., headquartered in Houston,
regional conferences and has been a contributor of articles on
Texas. Grohs joined Consolidated Graphics
sales to a number of publications. He is also an active member of
in 1997 as an account executive for
NAPL, and a member of the NAPL Industry Trends Analysis Group,
Automated Graphics Systems in Maryland. After a successful
a group of 50 senior executives selected to convene annually to
tenure, he was promoted to president of Mercury Printing, a
analyze and discuss critical industry concerns, and is recipient of the
Consolidated Graphics company in Memphis, Tenn. In 2003, he
Independent Printers Worldwide (IPW) Industry Mentor Award.
was promoted to executive vice president of sales and marketing in
Cone is Vice-President of Litho Craft, Inc., Seattle’s Color Printer,
charge of the national sales program, marketing and CGXSolutions.
the leading Seattle commercial printer with a focus on serving the 4-color needs of the graphic designers and marketing departments
Vice President of Marketing Lithographix, Inc. This Southern California native has been at Lithographix for the past 23 years, serving the company both in sales and marketing. After graduation from San Diego State University, where he majored in Graphic Design, he began his career with the
Printing Industry Association of Los Angeles. The transition to the printing business was made in 1982, and ultimately to Lithographix in 1984. With one of the most creative minds in the industry, he is passionate about printing and loves to help designers create imaginative and impactful projects. Over the years, he has worked with many of the top designers across the country. He has also lectured at many schools and universities, spreading his knowledge and enthusiasm to graphic design students. Hobbies include Ad League softball, weight training and watching sports. Married with three children, he resides in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.
of firms headquartered in the Seattle area.
Senior Vice President Lake County Press Peter Douglas has been employed with Lake County Press since 1988. Over his 20-year career with Lake County Press, he has been able to establish a strong client base rooted
in the graphic design community in the Chicago market. These relationships and key LCP sales representatives have been instrumental in helping LCP gain a sizable market share in the high-impact corporate communications market. These relationships have helped to further LCP’s pursuit to become a leader in the production of printed materials on a regional and national basis. In 1999, he was named a member of the executive management team, and heads up the on-going branding and marketing efforts for Lake County Press, Inc. Douglas holds a bachelor’s degree from Drake University.
Lisa Arsenault Executive Vice President Geographics, Inc.
President McArdle Printing Company Having been in the industry for 23
Ron Lanio has been executive vice presi-
years, Lisa Arsenault is the expert’s
dent of Atlanta, Ga.-based Geographics
expert. She launched her career in
Inc. for the last four years. He served as the
sales at McArdle Printing Company
vice president of sales for Geographics
and after selling, Arsenault was
for three years prior to his most recent
promoted to sales manager. Three years later, she was
position. Prior to Geographics, Ron was
announced VP of Sales and Marketing, helping to create the
president of Richmond, Va.-based Spen-
image that McArdle upholds today. Being customer-oriented
cer Printing/Colormark Printing, division president Commercial
and detail-focused put Arsenault at the head of McArdle,
Printing Group of Cadmus, president of Expert Brown Printing
where she persists day in and day out. Currently, she lives
and vice president of sales for WM Brown & Son.
in Fairfax Station, Va., with her husband Jim and three boys.
CANVAS november 2007
Meeting Of TheMinds
Top account executives discuss current trends in print, and the future of the industry.
CANVAS recently gathered seven of the industryâ€™s leading salespeople for a roundtable discussion about all things print. From describing the latest trends among customers to detailing the greatest challenges of the sales process â€” and how to overcome them â€” the discussion covered the entire gamut of print sales and marketing. The vibe was overwhelmingly positive, and the conversation yielded a collection of must-read insights and tips from some of the brightest minds in print sales. The following participated in the roundtable:
CANVAS november 2007
Frank Drolet, an account
Mike McCallion, a senior
CANVAS: First question for the group: How do
rep for ColorGraphics, a
account manager at Daily
you define what you do for a living?
Cenveo company located
Printing Inc. in Plymouth,
in San Francisco, Calif. He’s
Minn. McCallion joined
been with the company for
Daily 14 years ago as a sales
18 years. Prior to working
assistant and has been in full
Josephine Pope: I like to consider myself a
for ColorGraphics, Drolet
sales for the past 12 years.
graphic arts consultant because what we do a
was a production/plant
He graduated from St.
lot of times is get involved with the design pro-
manager at various plants
Cloud State University with
cess and help our customers figure out what they
in the Bay Area.
a degree in marketing.
want to do before they even start. We come in as
Rachel Rush: Communications expert.
a consultant, a lot of designers don’t really know about the process after their art leaves. Robin Perez: I think in our industry, with what we do here, we pride ourselves on being expert solutions for publishers, that’s pretty much what Mark McCombs, who works
Josephine Pope, the vice
for the Covington Group in
president of business devel-
Kansas City, Mo., specializing in
opment at Pomco Graphic
Mark McCombs: I say that we relieve pain,
short-run, bound publications. A
Arts. She started out as a
there’s a lot of stress that print buyers have, they
12-year veteran of the industry,
designer, and then worked
may or may not have the title position of print
McCombs started as a photog-
as a print buyer/market-
buyer, they’re involved in a lot of things, There’s
rapher for a catalog production
ing director for a financial
often a lot of uneasiness once they send their
company in Chicago, but also
company before landing at
project out to print, so what we do is we relieve
did pre-press and customer
Pomco, where she’s been
stress and we relieve pain.
service before moving into sales.
working for six years.
our target focus is.
Jim Moriarty: I am a service provider who happens to be in the print industry. My success depends on the high level of service I can provide “day in and day out.” Mike McCallion: I always joke and say that I am Robin Perez, an account rep
Rachel Rush, who works for
a “relationship cultivator.” Really, though, most
with Branch Smith printing,
Quartier Printing in Syra-
of my job is not just to sell print, but service
located in Fort Worth, Texas.
cuse, New York. She started
has been the main focus lately. Also, consult-
She’s been in printing 14 years,
off 20 years ago as a graphic
ing on projects has become huge, especially
including 10 years for Branch
artist, went to stripping,
for consistent customers.
Smith and eight years in
helped in customer service,
outside sales. Perez graduated
and then transitioned to
from Texas A&M with a degree
sales. She has been with
CANVAS: How is selling print and the ancillary
Quartier since 1995.
communication services in 2007 different than in 1997? How have you seen a change in the
Jim Moriarty, a senior account executive for PBM.
last 10 years?
His passion for print began almost 12 year ago when he transitioned from the textile industry to
Rush: I think back in 1997, most of your clients
the graphic communications industry. As a senior
knew what they wanted. They weren’t so con-
account executive today, Moriarty is helping to
fused because of the information highway and
lead PBM’s growth into new markets. He truly believes there is value
how they should get their product out there,
to service at a high level and differentiating the person, the com-
their advertising or their company. Nowadays,
pany and the products is the key to successful sales today’s sprint
there’s just so much thrown at them that they
industry. He has a bachelor’s degree in textile chemistry from North
have no clue as to how they should market
Carolina State University.
Meeting Of The Minds
Perez: I think also 10 years ago, it was a little bit
tivity gains have resulted in less buyers and sellers; both buy-
more laid-back atmosphere in the printing in-
ers and sellers are asked to do more, work longer hours, and
dustry. Now, it’s how fast can you do it and how
take on more responsibility; generally speaking, there are
cheap can you do it. It’s having to differentiate
fewer print dollars to chase; run lengths are smaller; there are
yourself and your company and how to find a
less paper resources today, and allocation on certain stocks
special way to get that customer to look at you
make for a challenge to acquire new business; digital print
and print the project with you. But I think it’s a
technology offers new markets; the speed of change in tech-
much more price-sensitive market than it was 10
nology demands buyers seek out the most knowledgeable
salespeople and companies; salespeople today have to be good managers, business consultants, strategic orchestrators
McCallion: [It’s changed] completely. With the
and a business ally.
many advances, people can get a hold of you 24/7/365. With cell phones, faxes and e-mail, you don’t even need a phone. File exchange has
CANVAS: What’s the most difficult aspect of the sales process
really been exciting with all the new file formats.
Now every customer wants their job faster. Frank Drolet: A lot of times, the Internet hinders us as sales reps, Moriarty: Today vs. 10 years ago, productivity
because it doesn’t allow for us to actually be in front of our clients
gains are due almost exclusively to technology;
as much as we used to, so I think that’s a challenge right there, how
the Internet has made it easier to acquire
you develop relationships is the human aspect of it, the face-to-
information and do business; realized produc-
“Sometimes you have to say this is not in your best interest to do it this way and be honest, because this type of project doesn’t fit you, you have to be able to walk away, and that builds trust.”
— Josephine Pope
Rush: Finding the time to do it all. McCallion: Not enough hands or enough time in the day to get everything done. Pope: I think the toughest part in our area, the Northeast, we have a lot of good printers, and the ability to differentiate yourself quickly, sometimes you don’t have a lot of time, even if you’re in front of somebody. It’s hard enough to get in front of someone with all of the voice mail and the Internet. I think it’s always about being able to get in front of people, and it’s definitely changed with voicemail and the Internet. People can just delete you. I think you have to mix it up and spend a lot of time out where buyers are, and be in front of people and be involved in industry organizations and become specialists in the industry, so people see your face, and when they think of specialists in that particular industry, they think of you. McCombs: I think the hardest thing for any of us, because everyone’s got a printer, is having someone jump from the incumbent. Because our industry is so competitive, generally people are pretty well taken care of.
CANVAS november 2007
Perez: Because of our product mix down here, it might be a little
in the loop of changes and not always look for a
bit different, we’re not so much of a commercial printer. One thing
better price quote. The communication for both
I personally run into a lot, because I like the repetitive monthly
parties is effortless.
stuff, unfortunately is a lot of contracts — when is that going to be expired. Unfortunately, the sales I’m doing, it’s not a 30-day sale. It can be 30 days, but it can be up to a couple of years that I’ve
CANVAS: How about intangibles for selling? What
worked on something. It’s “when is that contract going to expire?”
are some of the intangibles that come to mind for
That’s something I run up quite a bit against.
successful selling in the print industry? McCallion: Consulting, honesty and service.
CANVAS: What kinds of things are happening with your best customers that have caused you to behave differently? What’s going
Rush: For me it’s attitude. If you choose to have
on at the end-user level that’s changed your behavior?
that joyfulness every day, not much else can go wrong in your day.
Pope: For me personally, we’ve seen such an interest in digital printing for short runs, and that’s not something that we were do-
Drolet: I think to throw in the mix there too is you
ing. It’s causing us to look at projects, people have other options
have got to have some integrity.
now. Sometimes you have to say this is not in your best interest to do it this way and be honest, because this type of project doesn’t
Pope: I think in this particular industry, from a
fit you, you have to be able to walk away, and that builds trust. Cus-
sales perspective, the salespeople that we are,
tomers today — buyers today — are a lot more educated, and they
we have to know a lot about a lot of things. We
expect [a] consultant, not just somebody coming in and asking “do
have to be experts in paper and processes and
you have anything to quote?”
digital files and the actual mechanics of the equipment. There’s so much that we have to
Moriarty: Their time is less discretionary; therefore, phone contact
know, and in order to be successful in this indus-
and face-to-face time is less frequent, and I have to plan further out
try, I think all of us would probably agree that you
for client visits. Email has made it possible for more information
have to be passionate about this business, you
exchange; however, it has made the relationship less personal. All
have to love it, because you could never do it
of which has truly underscored the importance of how one must
if you didn’t. We’ve hired salespeople who have
communicate efficiently and effectively.
been very successful in other areas, and when they came into printing, they just don’t get it. You have to want to solve problems and you have to
CANVAS: Give me a couple words on the definition of your best
want to be a consultant and you have to love it.
relationships. What do your best relationships look and feel like? Moriarty: Passion, hunger, first impressions, McCombs: My best customers, I’m the one that they call first. Even
if there’s some written rule there that they have to take three bids, I’ll help them write the spec to my advantage, and they talk it up for me. One of the things, they refer me to others, and I can ask them for referrals. Moriarty: Long-term ally. Common goals that place a high value on product and service at a fair price. Non transactional and not opportunistic, more partner-oriented. The structure is triangular with management, sales and service providers forming the bond between companies. Secure. Drolet: I like to be a collaborator on projects; people call you in to get information from you. Some people don’t like to do that, but I love it, because it gives you a foot up on the competition. As much as clients say it’s not about price, it usually is, they’ve got their constraints. What Mark said, the referrals are just priceless. McCallion: The best relationships with customers take the worry out of the work. You and they feel comfortable that you will take their interest into account always and they will keep you
Horizon Industry analyst Andy Paparozzi says the print industry should pay careful attention to 2008â€™s economic outlook. By Graham Garrison
P10 CANVAS november 2007
The numbers matter. When the print industry wants to look at forecasts for the coming year, it needs look no further than the economy itself. “The industry serves the entire economy,” says Andy Paparozzi. “You can’t name an industry that doesn’t buy printing in one form or another. Certainly, it’s hard to find a household that doesn’t subscribe to a magazine, newspaper or something that is printed, so it really is a case where the industry truly does serve the entire economy, from the largest corporation to the smallest household. As the economy rises and falls, expands and contracts, as profit margins that support advertising budgets rise and fall, the printer finds out about it pretty quickly.” And what the industry, and print sales reps, will find in 2008, is a need
to not just keep up with the economic trends, but stay ahead of them.
The numbers Paparozzi is vice president and chief economist for the Nation-
al Association for Print Leadership (NAPL). He directs the asso-
The housing market takes some of the responsi-
ciation’s Printing Economic Research Center, which monitors and
bility for the excesses, as well as the subsequent
reports on the graphic communications industry’s performances.
slowdown. With home buyers overextending on
The center also produces the NAPL’s “State of the Industry Report” and
finicky subprime loans and mortgage companies
“Printing Business Conditions” both well read throughout the industry.
all to willing to reel them in, 2007 has been the
According to Paparozzi, the economy as a whole was robust and
year of foreclosures on a massive scale. Credit
jogging along from 2004 to 2006, which meant increased sales op-
markets in general can play havoc with growth,
portunities for printing companies. In 2007, however, the motor
and 2008’s success or failure will be tied to how
slowed, especially in the first half, growing about half the rate it did
the economy rebounds.
in 2006. The industry should take note of this trend, he says.
“In essence what’s happening is we’re un-
“The reality is where the economy goes, print soon follows,” he
winding excesses in credit markets that took a
says. “We’re expecting the industry to grow somewhere between
long time to build up,” Paparozzi says. “One way
2 to 2.5 percent his year, down from 5.3 percent (in 2006), and
or another in market economies, the excesses,
somewhere between 1 to 2.5 percent in 2008. We don’t expect
whether they’re in housing prices or in the as-
any significant increase in activity until late next year because that’s
sumption of risk, or in Internet stocks or capital
how long it will take to unwind the excesses that were created in
investment, one way or another, excesses must
the early part of this decade.”
On the Horizon
Paparozzi says the correction can come in one of two ways — in an orderly fashion, or a col-
line growth, but not enough of that growth is getting through to the bottom line.”
lapse. “So far the correction has been orderly,
In the past, printing companies could expect that if the mar-
in the sense that it has been a slow down. A sig-
ket grew that they would, and that top-line growth would equal
nificant slow down, but a slow down, rather than
bottom-line growth. That’s not the case anymore. Paparozzi says
that the industry is getting more competitive, despite consolidation, and more complex. So there are more and more factors that
chip away at top-line growth, and drain top-line growth before it
Even in economic upswings, the print industry has
gets to the bottom line, if the print industry lets it.
seen new trends develop in recent years. New
“The primary question everyone has got to ask is ‘What am I do-
technologies have led to new product offerings.
ing to fortify that bottom line?’” he notes. “There’s more pressure
They’ve also led to new competition. Many print
than ever because competition is more intense and diversified than
All of those new technologies, if packaged correctly as programs and not jobs, can give sales reps an edge in gaining a new customer. companies are consolidating. However, the key is-
ever despite consolidation. That seems something of a contradic-
sue has always been profitability. Printing compa-
tion, significantly fewer printing companies, but significantly more
nies increasing profits comes down to something
competition, but that’s the reality.”
Paparozzi has coined “A Tale of Two Gaps.” “You’ve heard of ‘A Tale of Two Cities,’ well,
the industry’s story is a ‘Tale of Two Gaps,’” says
Competition has always been tough in the printing industry. What’s
Paparozzi. “The [first] is the growing gap between
changed is the origin of that competition. Sales reps should no longer
the industry’s best performing companies and the
be looking across town for its competition. Even regionally, the game
industry at large. The leaders are pulling further
has changed. Paparozzi says that printers in Washington D.C., for
and further ahead of the industry at large. They’ve
example, who were used to competing with printers in Baltimore
been able to redefine themselves, and been able
now have to broaden their base. They may get competition from as
to, quite frankly, grow at the expense of others.”
far as Richmond and Atlanta — or even farther, like China.
“The other gap is what we call the ‘Top Line,
Paparozzi says everyone is facing new competition. He says one
Bottom Line Gap,’” he says. “We’re seeing top-
of the keys to beating the competition is by helping customers
P12 CANVAS november 2007
be more successful. Part of that approach involves perspective.
you develop a database for them that they didn’t
For years, many in the print industry have considered themselves
even know they had? What did you do to make
in simply the “ink-on-paper business,” Paparozzi says. That has
that client more successful? Don’t assume that
they recognize your contribution. Document it.”
“We’re in the communications business,” he says. “The beauty of it is, we have more ways than ever to help our clients commu-
nicate more effectively, whether it’s through lithography, digital
Despite the new challenges, the role of the sales
printing, variable content, web-to-print, one-to-one marketing,
rep remains virtually unchanged, it’s just that
mailing, database management; we can do more things than ever
the tools have improved. Effective prospecting
to help our clients communicate more effectively, get ourselves
that used to go through cold calls and hours at
out of the commodity trap.”
the library can now be trimmed through Google
The other element to success in the new marketplace is to find a way for the customer to recognize the services provided.
searches. All of those new technologies, if packaged correctly as programs and not jobs, can
“All of the leaders get that, but what even the leaders are strug-
give sales reps an edge in gaining a new cus-
gling with is the second part of it, making sure that the client rec-
tomer. Paparozzi says it comes down to research-
ognizes your contribution,” he says. “Being able to document that
ing the right clients and following through with a
for the client, and not being shy about it. What did you do for that
client? Did you increase the return rate to their direct mail cam-
“It’s a matter of identifying the right kind of
paign, maybe by using variable data? Did you drive prospects to
clients, and picking an industry and being knowl-
their Web site? Did you save them time and money somehow? Did
edgeable about it,” he says.
The Third Economic Revolution The new challenges the industry is facing aren’t just speed bumps in the grand scheme of things. They’re part of a revolution, Paparozzi says. If taken into context of world history, one could consider it the third great economic revolution. Paparozzi put the developments in perspective to previous revolutions.
Agricultural Revolution “The first one really was the development of modern agriculture where people now could stop being nomads,” he says. “They could settle in and develop towns and villages, the agrarian revolution where we learned how to farm and domesticate animals.”
Industrial Revolution “The second one of course was the one we all learned in school, the industrial revolution, where we replaced human and animal power with machine power.”
Communication Revolution “The third one is very much the advent of the internet, digitization and computer power. I don’t know exactly when a historian would date them, but they have redefined the economy, and certainly the printing industry just as much as the industrial revolution or agrarian revolution. It has redefined how we live, where we live and how we worked and how we spend our time. We don’t realize it, because we’re living through it. But 50 years from now, kids will be reading about how this third great revolution occurred. It is as profound as the two that proceeded it.” Paparozzi says that the discussions shouldn’t be on an industry that is changing. Instead, think bigger. “We’re talking about an industry that is being redefined,” he says. “It is becoming something fundamentally different than what it was. That is creating historic opportunities for the prepared, and profound threats for the unprepared. I don’t care how established and successful those companies have been in the past. You either understand how this industry is being redefined and you’re able to do the kinds of things we’ve described or you’re limiting yourself to commodity markets that are going to get more and more competitive. A lot of it is how you define your business.
P14 CANVAS november 2007
Want to know why buyers sometimes tell printers to hit the road? CANVAS posed the question to four print buyers. You may be surprised by their answers.
By Linda Bishop
The reply came within seconds. A print buyer, dubbed
administration to get three bids on every job. We talked by
“MAF,” to remain otherwise anonymous, responded to my
phone and she told me her story.
query on why buyers decide to fire printers. What might
“‘Art’ (yes, it’s a fake name) worked with my predecessor.
have been considered a touchy subject turned out to be
He was used to dropping in whenever he was in the
an open book.
neighborhood.” MAF said. “I stopped that because I’m
“I just fired one and I’ll be happy to tell you why,” MAF wrote.
too busy to deal with unannounced visits. I told Art if
MAF buys print for a large Northeastern university. She
he wanted to see me, make an appointment. After that I
spends millions of dollars annually and is required by her
hardly ever saw him.”
Why I Fired My Printer
“But you still gave him opportunities to quote?” I asked. “Yes. I liked the company. I’d known the owner for years and they did a good job. Art got plenty of chances, but his prices were consistently high.” “Did he call to discuss the situation?” “Once in a great while he’d call wanting to go
“That’s right. I don’t want reps bringing me donuts or flowers. I want a rep who brings me a proof that’s right.”
over 20 old quotes. I would have been happy to go over one or two, but I wasn’t going to waste my time going over every single quote he’d done in the past three months. It was ridiculous. Those jobs were long gone.” “Would you have told him where his pricing fit in if he’d asked sooner?” “Sure,” MAF answered. “Everyone knows I have to bid, but I’m fair about it. I bid printers against others with similar capabilities so they have a real chance of getting work.” “But Art never followed up.” “No. Then one day he calls me with an attitude.” MAF said, laughing. “He informs me that his company is in business to print, not quote. If I don’t start sending him some business soon, he’ll ask that the account be reassigned.” I laughed in turn. “Now that’s a threat,” I said. “What did you say?” “I told him reassigning the account was a good idea, and asked him to have the owner of the company call me.” “Did the owner call?” “No, Art never told him about the conversation. But one of the jobs Art had quoted finally hit the mark and he’d won it. After that conversation, I wasn’t interested in working with him, so I called Art’s boss and told him what had happened.” “What did he do?” I asked. “He reassigned the account to a young salesperson. This guy is still learning but he’s got lots of energy. He came in and we had a heart-toheart talk. I explained that I’d be happy to do business with him and his company, but the pricing had been high.” “Did he adjust?” MAF said, “Yes. He talked to the owner. Since then he’s won six bids.”
Winning ways Going from getting nothing to winning six bids is a significant improvement for any company. So where did Art go wrong and the new guy go right? That compelling story illustrates three important points on selling. • If you’re bidding lots and getting little, then it pays to have a conversation with the buyer and find out what’s going on.
P16 CANVAS november 2007
• Even in bid situations, the salesperson plays a
now. “My work is difficult. I don’t like it when print salespeople
large role in determining how much work flows
do the yes-yes head nod while they’re quoting. Then they get the
into a plant.
job. If yes-yes turns into ‘oops-we can’t-do-that,’ I’m not happy.” “Do you fire printers for issues like that?”I said.
• Are your customers buying because they like
“I have a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy. I’ve done this for a
you or because they like your company? If you
long time. I know there are problems. I expect printers to fix them.
assume it’s because of you, maybe it’s time to
If they don’t . . .” She shrugged.
find out for sure. Art was lucky the business stayed with his company. His fumbling of an account, though, is not unique. Three additional print buyers offered lessons from past jobs and how the salespeople they worked with could improve.
Three strikes policy “UF” works for a boutique design firm that produces complex projects. Her jobs often require color correction, serious prepress expertise and
“You better know what equipment you have, and what sheet sizes you can do. And you should be able to tell me what your house stocks are.”
intensive press checks. We had lunch together in downtown Baltimore at a Thai restaurant. “I don’t deal with printers who have ‘hearing problems,’” UF said.
“So you don’t fire printers because they have problems. But you do fire them if they don’t get the problems fixed?” “That’s right. I don’t want reps bringing me donuts or flowers. I want a rep who brings me a proof that’s right.”
I laughed. “I love that line.” UF smiled back at me. “There’s no sense ex-
No patience for order takers
plaining something complicated to someone
UF sees her printers as partners. So does “HK,” who works for a
who won’t listen.” She leaned forward, serious
major corporation in the marketing communications department.
Why I Fired My Printer
“I don’t want you to tell me you can do everything, because I don’t believe it. Besides, if I wanted to deal with a broker, then I’d call a broker.” “I don’t usually have to fire printers,” HK said. “That’s because I’m careful about who I choose to work with. I want my vendors to be my partners. They’re an extension of my internal team. My work has tough deadlines. I need the salesperson to take an active role, and I don’t have much patience for order takers.” It was another lunchtime learning conversation. I met HK at a restaurant in an Atlanta suburb. “Define an order taker,” I said. “They have no depth of knowledge. They don’t know how my stuff gets produced in their shop. They don’t understand my pain — particularly when it comes to quick turnarounds.” “If a new printer calls on you, what do you want them to know?” “You better know what equipment you have, and what sheet sizes you can do. And you should be able to tell me what your house stocks are. It would be really nice if you showed me paper samples.” HK paused before adding, “I don’t want you to tell me you can do everything, because I don’t believe it. Besides, if I wanted to deal with a broker, then I’d call a broker.” We talked a little more. Then HK returned to the office to put out the afternoon’s fires.
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Why I Fired My Printer
Never underestimate word-of-mouth The last person who gave me input was “LK.” She does freelance project management. Often, she works with printers chosen by her clients. For that reason, vendors occasionally underestimate her influence and treat her poorly. Big mistake. LK has the power to refer salespeople. If you’re a salesperson looking to build your business, then you want positive word-of-mouth. LK is good at what she does because she’s efficient. Before I had a chance to speak with her in person, she responded to my request for information in an email. She wrote: I fired my last printer because:
You sold your company’s capabilities to me, and then had me deal primarily with your CSR, stepping in only when crises occurred as if doing me a favor. Even so, I wondered if the crisis would’ve occurred if you — and not your CSR — had been paying closer attention to my project! You kept showing me examples of print work not in line with our work or budget, or telling me how lavishly your other (bigger) clients treat you. Sure, I like knowing what else a printer can do, but are you telling me you’ve got bigger fish to fry? You did not call me when a simple call to double-check might’ve prevented a problem from becoming a disaster. And when everything hit the fan, you were quick to describe why it wasn’t your fault, and what I coulda/ woulda/shoulda done. Frequently interrupting, you assume control of the conversation when I try to describe upcoming projects — the specs, the unresolved concerns — thus you get your production sheet completed, but I’m not sure you ever heard me! Then, days later, you call with queries about the very details I tried to discuss with you. You have no ideas. You’re not consultative. You’re a glorified messenger in a nice suit and expensive car. The only time you look energized is when the issue at hand concerns you (your weekend, your car). When I have a query or concern, you step back from owning the issue and say, “Let me have you talk with prepress. All that software stuff is gobbledy-gook to me anyway. Hold on and let me transfer you to that department.” You don’t return my phone calls. My emails are unacknowledged. I CAN’T fire you. Every day you remind me in ways big and small that you’re “bullet proof.” But if I were the decision-maker, you’d be the LAST person I’d hire to print my jobs.
LK may not have the power to fire this sales rep, but she certainly won’t recommend him. And she certainly won’t go out of her way to make him look good to her client. If I was still selling printing, I’d share this article with my clients using it as a way to open a discussion and find out what I could be doing to service them better. As UF said, “Why assume when all you have to do is ask a question?” Good advice from a smart print buyer. Act on it today.
AUTHOR’S BIO: Linda Bishop has spent over 20 years in sales and marketing. She was previously vice president of marketing for IPD printing, presently owned by RR Donnelly. In 2005, she started Thought Transformation, a national firm dedicated to helping clients add sales dollars by developing an educated and professional sales force.
Sustainability Editorâ€™s note: This is part one of a two-part series
Will environmental efforts help or hinder the print industry? By Brian T. Dooling
P22 CANVAS november 2007
t’s a jungle out there! At least it could be if
will move from a concern of those in the policy realm to a topic
sustainability policies continue to take hold.
of household conversation. Given that 30 percent of greenhouse
Sustainability has become an important top-
gas accumulations result from land-use-change, including defor-
ic in the industry, and there is an increased
estation, responsible forestry is now about more than just forests.
global desire for a sustainable environment.
“Healthy forests are a vital component of a comprehensive strate-
Sustainability from an environmental perspec-
gy to combat and adapt to climate change,” Washburn says. “This
tive refers to the longevity of natural resources.
gives new visibility to forest conservation issues.”
The term is also used to describe various social, economic and environmental goals put in place
Effect on the industry
to manage forests. However, the quest is really
What does sustainability mean for the print industry? Rick Hunt-
about quality of life and maintaining that quality
oon, vice president of marketing for National Envelope, says it can
for future generations.
actually be a positive thing.
The extent to which this quest is achieved will
“The fact is sustainability is a very good thing when managed
depend on many factors, some of which include
properly,” says Huntoon. “It doesn’t mean stopping the use of re-
public opinion, public policy and the interaction
sources, it means managing them as we use them so they are there
of humans with their natural systems. According to Joseph C. Lawson, director, sustainable forestry for MeadWestvaco Corp., managing the world’s natural resources, in the context of a growing population, is one of the most important sustainability issues. He says that sustainability policies and programs are imbedded in successful businesses. However, one challenge is integrating such policies into developing markets. “Regardless, implementing and improving sustainable practices has become a requirement for market entry and I expect this trend to continue,” says Lawson “Society is struggling to define exactly what sustainability means and how we actually measure progress toward established sustainability
“Everyone throughout the supply chain, from foresters to publishers to the consumer, is becoming more educated about environmental issues and there is a growing knowledge base about the full life cycle of products.” — Laura Thompson, Sappi Fine Paper North America
goals,” says Dr. Michael Washburn, president of Washburn Consulting, a practice dedicated to
for future generations.” Huntoon says that the next big thing that
advancing the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
will hit the print industry will be the need to reduce the carbon diox-
He is the former VP of brand management at FSC
ide associated with products and operations. As companies look to
US, and a former director of Yale University’s Pro-
reduce their carbon footprint, they will be looking at everything they
gram on Forest Certification. Looking forward,
use to run and promote their business, of which paper and
Washburn says that climate change
print play a major role. “There will be an expectation to run companies clean and efficiently and have the ability to offer carbon neutral products,” Huntoon says.
Attainability in Sustainability
Green house gas emissions, renewable energy, and a desire to understand carbon footprint are all topics receiving more discussion. Climate change in particular is a key topic for many
“With only 10 percent of the world’s forests certified, it is important that we embrace all credible and internationallyrecognized certification programs.” — Jason Metnick, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc.
people. “Everyone throughout the supply chain, from foresters to publishers to the consumer, is becoming more educated about environmental issues and there is a growing knowledge base about the full life cycle of products,” says Laura Thompson, director of sustainability, Sappi Fine Paper North America. “While the current emphasis is on energy and emissions, we would consider the next global environmental concern to be water quality and consumption.” “Responsible paper and wood purchasing is just one tool that can contribute positively to conserving our forests,” says Jason Metnick, director, market access and product labeling for the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc. He agrees that environmental issues are becoming very mainstream. With consumers having a rising awareness, these issues are being widely discussed, debated, and reported around the world. Metnick says that illegal logging in developing countries, climate change, carbon reduction and conservation of biodiversity are key areas of increasing concern that will continue to attract attention. The industry appears to be taking an active role in driving change. The business community is taking responsibility, rather than waiting on legislation to force compliance. Companies are forming partnerships and alliances with various non-government organizations to effect change. “There is a growing recognition that in working together, instead of against each other, both parties have a better chance of succeeding and implementing change,” Thompson says. Opinions may vary on how best to handle it, but one fact is certain: Sustainability is going to continue to be at the forefront of public concern.
Living with independent certification As environmental awareness and a demand for businesses to be more socially responsible has grown, so has the development of third-party certification bodies to independently evaluate and report on both the environmental and social performance of companies and their products. Independent organizations have developed standards that define good forest management, and independent auditors review operations and determine compliance. Currently, there is no single accepted forest management standard worldwide. There are more than 50 certification
P24 CANVAS november 2007
standards that exist today. Some common certification standards include: • Canada’s National Sustainable Forest Management Standard (CSA) • Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) • Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) • Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes (PEFC) Certification programs help verify that the forest and the products that come from them are managed well. “Certification programs are the most important things that have happened to sustainability. By using certified papers, the user is assured that the fibers in that paper come from well-managed forests,” says Huntoon. With regard to selecting a particular certification, companies should do their research, as there are most likely similarities and differences with all of them. For example, The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has generic standards for sustainable forest management that are adapted to meet regional needs based on stakeholder input from industry, communities and environmental organizations. The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), although
Third Party Certifications
a similar organization, differs from the FSC in that it has a single standard application across all jurisdictions. “The major certification bodies essentially cover the same key issues, and are designed to improve the management of forests and to create better awareness about environmental and social issues related to forest practices,” Thompson says. Liza Murphy, senior manager, marketing and business development, Sustainable Forestry for the Rainforest Alliance, says that regardless of what goal companies are trying to achieve, “independent third party verification is really the only reliable way to measure against a standard.” She says that sustainability is a process in which companies need to continually look at the priorities of their organization and the potential impact of their decisions. A best practice today may not be one tomorrow due to innovation. Chain-of-custody is a formal management system, often third party certified, that provides controls to trace materials from their origin in the forest to the final product. Lawson says that “although chain of custody certification is increasingly being required in the marketplace, the need for chain-ofcustody should be tied directly to the degree of “risk” associated with procurement of raw materials. Risks such as illegal logging,
Attainability in Sustainability
unacceptable environmental controls and improper social practices do not occur uniformly across the supply chain, and some regions of the world carry greater risk than others.” “With only 10 percent of the world’s forests certified, it is important that we embrace all credible and internationally-recognized certification programs,” says Metnick. “SFI, FSC, and all PEFC-endorsed systems are credible
The answer to “which paper is better?” depends on the perspective of the buyer.
P26 CANVAS november 2007
standards that promote sustainable forest management and provide assurances to the end user that the product comes from wellmanaged forests. Customers should reward those paper companies that have taken a leadership role in sustainability issues.” Lawson agrees in saying “With respect to one system being better than the other, only 10 percent of the world’s forests are certified. Rather than debate which system is better, we should reward the 10 percent who are certified, regardless of the system, and direct our energy at certifying the remaining 90 percent.” In the simplest of terms, it comes down to balance. The industry needs to seek out a balance between the needs and demand in the present, while also preserving the biodiversity and
Attainability in Sustainability
natural ecosystems for future generations to come. These independent organizations will help verify that the industry’s taking the proper steps to achieve this balance.
Paper and the environment There is a growing demand for products that have the least impact on the environment. Environmentally Preferred Papers (EPP) have become the first choice for many purchasers in recent years because they have developed into high performance, competitively priced products with the added value of protecting the environment and public health.
Commitment to FSC • FSC Recycled – Buying paper with post consumer content achieves reductions in wood, water and total energy use.
“There are many factors to take into consideration when judging the environmental impact of paper products,” Thompson says. “The key areas include: responsible fiber sourcing, the impact on air and water quality, and solid waste generation.” She says it is important to recognize that not everyone shares the same level of concern about every issue. The answer to “which paper is better?” depends on the perspective of the buyer. To that end, Metafore’s Paper Working Group has
• FSC Pure – Choosing paper made with FSC certified virgin fiber protects trees and vegetation that reduce global warming.
developed the Environmental Paper Assessment Tool (EPAT), which allows users to score products based on 27 different indicators. The tool also allows the user to weigh factors based on relative importance of a given indicator. “In addition to certification, systems exist to address the inclusion of recycled content, elimination of chlorine from processing, and more and more companies are addressing their car-
• FSC Mixed – Papers made with FSC certified mixed sources contain FSC certified virgin fiber along with FSC controlled fiber and/or post consumer content.
bon footprints,” says Washburn. All of these attributes are taken into consideration as the customer tries to balance their own values with selecting the best paper at the right price point for the particular job. When specifying a product, Huntoon agrees, “It usually boils down to either a company’s sustainability policy or the individual buyer’s knowledge on the subject.” The biggest change in the evolution of thinking today is that “the entire product lifecycle is considered rather than acknowledging a simple attribute such as recycled content,” affirms Lawson. In the end, companies will likely make decisions based on the research they perform and the values they have established. Actually, they will most likely make choices and decisions based on customer needs. There is an abundance of material that can assist in the formulation and implementation of a plan. It truly is a jungle out there, however, one that is now more closely watched and managed!
Princess and Tammy aye F Why we are all afraid to take a risk.
By Brian Sullivan
“Stay focused! … Please! … No, not like that! … I thought you would do so much better. … You need to color in the lines ... Why are you doing it that way! ... Don’t you want it to be perfect?”
Those were the words I heard as I sat in a tiny blue plastic chair beside a fellow parent at Kansas City’s Pottery Playland. This was no typical Saturday at the “Playland.” Oh no ... In fact, there was a Princess Pottery Party going on, and I found myself surrounded by a pack of 5 year olds dressed as Cinderella, Snow White and Belle. Unfortunately, I was also surrounded by a pack of parents who, without trying, were playing the parts of the Evil Stepmother, the Wicked Witch and the Beast.
P30 CANVAS november 2007
As I listened to these evil characters do their best to help their children create and paint the perfect piece of pottery, what I realized was that to these parents, their kids were like their own pieces of pottery. And as they encouraged their kids to create perfection, it was actually their kids that they were trying to make perfect. Now I don’t claim to be Dr. Phil, and I don’t expect any Father of the Year Awards anytime soon, but I learned a lot that day with my daughter by my side and a paintbrush in our hands. When I saw one little girl “paralyzed” with that brush, afraid of coloring outside the line, terrified of taking a risk and petrified at the thought of disappointing her mother, it hit me. Will that little girl dressed up as Cinderella ever be willing and able to be confident, take a risk, and be creative? I wonder. Tony Morrison, the first African-American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, tells us: “I want to discourage you from choosing anything or making any decision simply because it is safe. Things of value seldom are.” This is a lesson that we need to be reminded of regularly. So ask yourself, what do you want to happen for you and your career as the year draws to an end? What new accounts are you longing
Grab that brush, pick the wildest color you can find, and unleash that creativity that makes you stand out among all other salespeople. for? What promotion are you dying to win? What position on the sales list do you want to appear in? If you truly value those things, then your time has come. But only you can make it happen. And it won’t be easy. And why should it be? You see, the great thing about getting to the “Top” is that it is NOT for everybody. Not everybody will enter the 4th quarter willing — or able — to take the risks necessary to get to the top. Many will tentatively grab their paintbrush,
and afraid to pick the wrong paint, color outside the lines, and disappoint their manager. I say let it go. Grab
pick the wildest color you can find, and unleash that creativity
that makes you stand out among all other
Lesson for sales managers
salespeople. Nobody notices the piece of
Just last week, I took my daughter to pick up her pottery creation
potter y (or salesperson) that “looks” like all
after they “cooked” it for a few days. While the ceramic bear she
the rest. They will, however, take note of the
painted was born a shade of powdery white, after my daughter was
one that shows creativity. So do something
through with it, you would have thought that Tammy Faye Baker had
in the final quar ter to thank your best cus-
created it in her own image. The arms were pink, the nose purple,
tomer in a way that gets you noticed. And
and the head had a mix of green, red, black, opal, and the eye shad-
think of that one customer that you have
ow was horrifying! But to her, it was awesome, because she did it.
been longing for but can’t get in the door
Is there any doubt that if I had told her exactly how to do it,
and do something “risky.” Send a cake with
criticized her for not doing it the “right” way, and then grabbed
your phone number on it, dress up for Hal-
the brush and did it myself, not only would she have a horrible
loween and make calls … whatever! Just let
time, but I would have risked making her afraid to make mis-
it go. And take comfor t in the fact that the
takes? And worse, that would be the last Princess Party I would
other “kids” will be afraid to take the risk
ever be invited to (bad thing?). Salespeople, like daughters, are
necessar y to increase their business.
going to do it their own way some time. Sometimes as sales
Salespeople, like daughters, are going to do it their own way some time. Sometimes as sales leaders we need to just “let it go,” because once we stifle our people’s willingness to make their own hard, fast decisions, we risk “paralyzing” them. leaders we need to just “let it go,” because once we stifle our people’s willingness to make their own hard, fast decisions, we risk “paralyzing” them. And a “scared” salesperson will never reach their full potential. As I sit here in my office, staring at my daughter’s creation, I am reminded just how great our profession — and life — can be if we just live a little. And I can almost hear that Tammy Faye Bear saying, “I made a living painting where I wasn’t supposed to. And let me tell you, it can be pretty lucrative.” So grab the brush, “let it go,” and let the 4th quarter Princess Party begin! Tammy Faye would want it that way. Sullivan is a member of the National Speakers Association and an internationally known expert on sales and leadership. He delivers high-energy, no-nonsense, interactive seminars on his PRECISE Selling Formula to companies looking to become famous in their industry. He has been quoted in magazines such as Selling Power and Business Week. Sullivan also hosts a talk radio show on Hot Talk 1510, based in Kansas City, Mo. The show, called “Entrepreneurial Moments,” is dedicated to helping business people of all types.
P32 CANVAS november 2007
Suppliers suggest that the print industry needs to be more involved in customer’s success in order to succeed themselves.
Tuning During the last decade, the print industry has become more complex, and for printers, that means customers have become more demanding. “Ten years ago it was possible to succeed by simply fulfilling the opportunities required by clients,” says Kevin Joyce, managing director at Eastman Kodak Co. “There was a well-defined need and definition of what products they desired, and we simply fulfilled them. Today, this is simply not good enough. The top-performing individuals and/or companies must first help the client create the opportunity, and then fulfill it.”
P34 CANVAS november 2007
By Ryan McNally
The print industry is changing rapidly, and the successful players will be those who make the proper adjustments. CANVAS magazine spoke with sales and marketing leaders from some key suppliers to the print industry about current trends, best practices, and some suggestions on how salespeople may need to adapt. They paint a picture of an industry moving quickly ahead.
Changing times In today’s marketplace, printers are expected to do more than just sell raw materials. “We’re more solution-oriented, working with our customers to determine what product fits best into their business mix,” says Susan Baines, director of marketing for Komori America Corporation. “We’ve had to adapt to an industry that has changed to become multi-media — traditional offset print, digital print, variable data and Internet communication are working in tandem in many commercial printing environments.” Kevin Clark, vice president of sales for Meadwestvaco, agrees that becoming more integrated
with customers’ businesses is a key to success in today’s printing environment. “You dedicate more of your company’s resources to helping customers solve their business challenges,” says Clark. “End users are faced with tighter promotional budgets, which requires any project to be more effective in getting a buyer to react. This puts pressure on the printer and paper distribu-
“We have a sales force that specializes in consultative selling. They really work with our customers to determine the best product for their particular environment. We try to provide as much information and education to our customers as we possibly can to help them stay competitive and profitable.” — Susan Baines, Komori America
tor to pick the right papers and design that allows for the most impactful work. For us, we are much
press manufactures have adapted to the current market. For many,
more effective at leveraging our market research
one of the biggest areas of focus is developing strategies to stay
to design products that deliver what is important
ahead of customers’ needs. “We are constantly looking at ways to
to each aspect of the customer chain.”
improve the performance of our equipment and also how we can help our customers leverage our equipment to help them grow
Growing business — for the customer
their businesses,” says Baines.
With consolidation and offshore printing result-
nies finding that the dearth of skilled personnel across all segments
ing in a shrinking marketplace, and digital me-
of the industry is a real challenge. According to Ken Winterhalter,
dia and the Internet eroding the
president of Unisource’s paper business segment, the industry needs
Labor is another hot issue for the industry, with many print compa-
to invest in itself by adding talented new personnel. “One change moving forward would be to add some youth, start recruiting young individuals that help replace an aging sales force,” says Winterhalter. But even for those with a full staff, there are still labor-related challenges to deal with, such as training. “Whether we can train
our existing people to adapt fast enough to the market is an area of concern,” says Joyce.
Communication is key Traditional communication avenues such as tradeshows, advertising, direct mail and customer events remain key ways for print companies to connect with the industry. Companies are also looking beyond these core elements to help build synergies. According to Clark, it starts with education. “We educate and inform our distribution partners so they can reach a wide range of printers,” says Clark. At Komori America Corp., the sales team plays an important role in the communication process. “We have a sales force that specializes in consultative selling,” says Baines. “They really work with our customers to determine the best product for their particular environment. We try to provide as much information and education to our customers as we possibly can to help them stay competitive and profitable.” Opening the lines of communication can also have benefits for the print industry in general. “Kodak believes that as one of the industry leaders we must take a lead position communicating the value of our industry as a whole to the business world,” says Joyce. “We must accelerate the use of new technologies and processes to help the users of print media extract more value.”
“The focus of the best relationships is on metrics that drives profitability for both parties. And what you find is if it’s profitable for both parties, it tends to be the most profitable for each individual.” — Ken Winterhalter, Unisource
Collaborating customers What makes a great business relationship? For many print companies, developing a true collaboration with clients is key. “Our best relationships are those with customers who we truly partner with,” says Baines. “These customers thrive on sharing information, have a thorough understanding of the technology available on our equipment and use it to the max.” Clark agrees that partnership is a recurring theme among his strongest customers. “Our best relationships are more like collaborations than a buyer/seller relationship,” says Clark. “We work together to improve our market position and produce the best work.” Although these special relationships can be hard to establish and cultivate, since they require faith in sharing by each party, both sides can reap great returns. “Our best relationships are ones where we are highly interdependent on each other’s success and
P36 CANVAS november 2007
“For sales and marketing people, it’s important they do not assume they understand what’s important to their customer. They need to ‘start over’ and interact with more people than they traditionally have to really explore what will improve their customers’ businesses.” — Kevin Clark, Meadwestvaco
are proactive in identifying hurdles and willing to address them,” says Joyce. “They are deep relationships that cut to core issues within each respective company.” Of course, at its heart, a great business relationship must increase revenue for each side. “The focus of the best relationships is on metrics that drives profitability for both parties,” says Winterhalter. “And what you find is if it’s profitable for both parties, it tends to be the most profitable for each individual.”
Points over pricing? Business begins and ends with the customer. Getting in tune with what’s important to the customer is key, according to Clark. “For sales and marketing people, it’s important they do not assume they understand what’s important to their customer,” says Clark. “They need to ‘start over’ and interact with more people than they traditionally have to really explore what will improve their customers’ businesses.” According to Baines, a firm understanding of one’s company will help a salesperson offer the best tools to their customers. “We think that successful print salespeople will be the ones who can help their customers find the right communication vehicle for their needs,” says Baines. “Critical to that success is understanding the full
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capability of the equipment their company offers — everything from prepress through bindery and fulfillment. Targeting customers that fit the sweet spot of what their equipment and their company can offer is also a good driver for success.” When approaching a client, focusing on sales points other than price — such as product offering and delivery mechanisms — is another tip suggested by suppliers. “Print sales people should focus on new ways to differentiate themselves,” says Winterhalter. “’Me too for a penny less’ is a way that makes it very difficult for all of us to succeed long-term, but the differentiation and the specialization can help take salespeople to the next level.” Specialization means knowing your product and new technologies. Fortunately, print salespeople today are more educated than ever, according to Joyce. “From the perspective of speeds, feeds, price and functionality as it’s defined in today’s world, I would say salespeople are more educated about print and communications,” says Joyce. But while expertise in these areas is a definite plus, a strong understanding of where the industry is headed is also important. “I see print salespeople looking to us for the next widget that will make it easy to sell, but this will not happen,” says Joyce. “The days of the widget as a differentiator are over. Understanding the new business applications available is the key.”
The 5 Intangibles Of Selling When it comes to selling print, certain key intangibles can be the difference between a good salesperson and a great one. Here are five intangibles that suppliers suggested may be critical for successful selling in the print industry: • Motivation — The best salespeople have the drive to make cold calls, build relationships, and otherwise do whatever it takes to create more business. In other words, they have a strong sense of mission and are relentless about growing sales. •K nowledge — Having a strong understanding of one’s company and print technology can help salespeople better communicate with their customers. The result is higher levels of satisfaction all around and the building of trust that’s key to developing a good relationship. On the flip side, a strong understanding of the customer’s business challenges is also critical to building a satisfying partnership. • Adaptability — As the industry changes to become more multimedia-driven, salespeople must adapt their sales techniques to address the changing needs of clients. Today’s rapidly changing technologies make it even more essential for salespeople to constantly evolve. • Creativity — Understanding a customer’s needs, and then developing creative ways to align a print company’s projects and strengths with those customer needs, is a key to success. It’s a good idea to periodically brainstorm new ways to build these synergies. • Organization — You can’t reach your goals if you don’t know what they are. The best salespeople have a well-organized plan for attaining their objectives.
“Price Doesn’t Count” Getting customers to want to buy from you.
o you want to build long term, profitable relationships based on repeat business? Build steady customers who will contribute toward your growth and profitability?
Get customers to want to buy from you? “Price Doesn’t Count” will show you the way. Gary Cone, Vice President of Litho Craft, Inc., Seattle’s Color Printer and member of the CANVAS editorial board, has written a thoughtful sales guide that applies
Gary comes from our industry and talks about the types of accounts we call on, the issues we deal with and specific challenges we have associated with creating value within the printing industry.
print sales. Most sales books give you general sales techniques that apply across a wide array of industries. Gary comes from our industry and talks about the types of accounts we call on, the issues we deal with and specific challenges we have
creating value within the printing
most impactful parts of the book are the sidebars that contain case studies. They are both interesting, and oh so true to our business. Gary
has some fantastic ideas about selling beyond price, real world scenarios and specific suggestions of how to deal with the price buyer. This is a great read and reminds us all that the value is within us and not the costs we quote.
You can purchase “Price Doesn’t Count” at www.NAPL.org or call 800-642-6275
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P994 CANVAS november 2007
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Marketing magazine detailing print buyer's horror stories, economy outlook, and how going green will effect the print industry.