Hurry, Press Go!

By Mike Philie
In April 8, 2015

I see it all the time – the client emails the sales rep to say the project is a go. Rep forwards the email (without reading it all) to the CSR with a notification that says, “HOT JOB!” The CSR begins to muddle through the email trail, often many pages deep only to discover that there’s so much missing that it really shouldn’t be entered yet. No worries says the rep, let’s just go to proof stage and then we’ll get the balance of the information we need. OK, great. I know this has never happened in your company but for those who have seen this movie, you know what’s coming next.

This project usually doesn’t stand a chance of being successful without the sales rep, the CSR and anyone else that they can get to “chase” this job throughout the production process – all the way until it ships or mails. And then you have to bill the job. No wonder your shipped-to-bill days are so high. As run lengths continue to decrease and the total number of projects increases, you don’t have the luxury of mothering these jobs through production. Plus, it’s just not a good idea. In my opinion this is one of several reasons reps hang around the plant – so that they can guide their projects through or be right there should a question arise.

To someone outside of our industry this would be akin to telling the FedEx driver to go ahead and take those packages today, I’ll phone in the rest of the address information tomorrow. How well do you think that would play out? If your goal is to meet your client expectations by making it easy for them to do business with you, it could pay dividends to not hit the GO! button right away. By explaining that if we get all of the critical information on the project up front that we’ll be able to expedite the schedule and deliver a great project – just like they expect. I know that this may not be realistic in all cases but you’ve really got to move in this direction as the additional touches and unproductive time will be a curse.

Am I dreaming this or have you seen this happen in your company? Let me hear your situation and how you overcome it. Contact me at mphilie@epicomm.org or (201) 523-6302.

Mike Philie

Mike works with printing companies that are not satisfied with their sales and business development performance, and are looking to get objective advice and strategic direction on how to improve the results of their business. His engagements can range from providing input on the overall sales strategy to building business development pipelines while training the processes of “selling” in today’s marketplace. Mike quickly establishes himself as a trusted resource and advisor to the owners and senior staff of his client companies through his personal involvement, and very quietly and effectively becomes an extension of their staff.

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