In our last Quick and Small Commercial Printers Trends Survey we asked participants to rate various actions related to this question, “How are you going to grow revenue over the next 2 to 3 years?” The rating scale ranged from 5, for “most important to our plans to grow revenue,” to 1 for “not important to our plans to grow revenue.” The results can be characterized as being client-centric. Almost three-fifths (59.0%) of respondents cited “attract new clients” as being most important to grow revenue. Two-fifths (39.8%) rated this action as being important. Thus, essentially all the companies view the ability to gain new clients as a cornerstone to grow revenue. Getting a bigger share of existing clients was not far behind. Almost nine out of 10 companies rated this action as being either most important (25.3%) or important (62.7%).
How are companies planning to execute these actions? Here’s how they finished the statement, “To grow our revenue over the next 2 to 3 years, we will have to …” Topping the list with a citing by 63.1% of the companies surveyed was, Market more effectively to clients so they know we can do more for them. Right behind with a citing by 60.7%—Market more effectively to our markets in general so more people know who we are and what we can do. Tied for third with a citing by almost half (48.8%) of the companies were:Learn more about our clients so we can become more valuable to them, and expand our client base so we aren’t so dependent on a few key accounts. Almost half of the companies (46.4%) also cited:
• Improve our sales staff, selling methods/strategies.
• Learn to sell non-traditional services (services other than print/copy) more effectively.
In order to execute these and other actions effectively, certain skills are required. Companies were asked, which skills do you view as most important to your success going forward? Their responses were highly consistent with the results of the previous questions and highlight areas that will distinguish companies from the competition. The top three skills cited were as follows: sales (77.4%), marketing (76.2%), and customer service (59.5%). Other skills cited as important to success: external communication (41.7%), operations/production (38.1%), information technology (33.3%), database management (27.4%), and internal communication (25.0%). Of course, companies need to match the right mix of skills with their particular circumstances and goals, and according to their responses, they still have some work to do. Less than 1 in 10 companies believe they’re very well prepared in terms of the skills needed going forward. We suspect much of the same also is true for larger companies. As we have frequently stated, the issues impacting the commercial print industry are largely universal across company size categories—the similarities usually outweigh the differences.
Andy Paparozzi Joe Vincenzino