Don’t Be Afraid to Repeat Yourself
Total sales in the commercial printing industry (from all sources, not just ink-on-paper) are expected to only show a marginal gain this year. However, as shown in the recently released NAPL State of the Industry Report, Eleventh Edition, which is sponsored by KBA, some companies are taking off. In fact, the most telling result of the research is the dramatic variation in sales performance from company to company. Sales were up an average of 21.1% during the first half of 2013 for the top fifth of our survey group and down an average of 14.8% for the bottom fifth. Furthermore, while 17.3% of the companies report sales were up at least 10.0%, 21.1% of the group report sales were down at least 10.0%. Thus, it is important to note that the companies that are growing aren’t growing with the market; they’re taking market share.
How are these companies getting on the right side of market redistribution? Based on available results from our ongoing Leaders research, they’re not all doing it the same way. But, success in our new industry doesn’t begin by waiting for a better economy or further shakeout; it begins by having our employees understand facts like these:
• We are in a constant battle for market share. No account—no matter how long term—is secure anymore unless we provide greater value to the account than the competition does.
• Having a great relationship with clients isn’t enough anymore. Our clients now have to justify every dollar they spend because their margins for error also are shrinking. That doesn’t mean that we should pronounce customer loyalty dead, but it does mean if we can’t help them increase sales or decrease costs, they can’t afford to be loyal.
• We can’t allow complacency to creep back into our organization. Lock complacency out by regularly asking these questions:
– What are we doing better today than we were six months ago?
– What will we be doing better in six months than we are today?
– How are we making ourselves more valuable to our best clients?
Repeat these and other facts of life in our new industry as often as possible, until everyone gets them. And then, keep reinforcing what they’ve learned.
Andy Paparozzi Joe Vincenzino