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Jan 20, 2014 12:00 AM
BY SID CHADWICK
Educational programming at PRINT 13 was the best I can recall in years. (One complaint: There just weren’t enough great educational programs being offered more than once to accommodate attendees’ schedules.) The show’s organizers (the GASC) finally appear to get it. It’s all about how new technologies are allowing us to develop our own business performance as we work to understand how to improve our customers’ business and revenue performance regardless of our positions in this great industry.
I’m repeatedly startled when an organization does not have a systematic education and training program for its business development team. Such organizations tend to be revenue and volume driven. Such organizations also tend not to have much in the realm of written direction regarding what profile of customers to pursue and what profile to avoid—and why.
DO OR DO NOT (THERE IS NO TRY)
The challenges of today’s technology-driven markets can certainly be overwhelming, particularly if we don’t study what to do and not do. For instance, having a written profile of who to pursue and who not to pursue—including an understanding of why—can be critical to not only the productivity of a developing sales rep but also the future performance of that sales rep’s supporting organization.
Most customer organizations don’t need another printer. They already have one or more of those. What they do need, however, is guidance and direction on how to increase their revenue stream(s) and the performance of their business model regardless of its design (e.g., nonprofit, higher education, restaurant chain, auto supply chain, medical practice).
EDUCATE YOUR CUSTOMERS
In effect, each organization in our great industry should be in the business of educating its customer contact team and its customers on how to use combinations of its services and products (and suppliers’ services and products) to increase each customer’s business performance.
That’s a very different intellectual challenge from “delivering correctly printed product, on time, at a competitive price.” Thinking through and understanding the almost unlimited options this challenge presents allows us to change our recruitment and training models for business development professionals—which drives our companies’ performance.
REACTIVE SUPPLIERS ARE DUNCES
Understanding this challenge requires us to relentlessly do our homework about major customers’ changing business conditions, their sources of pain, and their priorities. Without this information, we are reduced to being a “reactive supplier.” Armed with this information, we can become proactive and effective—providing suggestions and options for improving customers’ performance.
Sid Chadwick is president of Chadwick Consulting and an associate editor for GreensheetBIZ.
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