No Shortcuts to Sales Leadership

By Mike Philie
In February 28, 2010

During a discussion on The Hybrid Sales Reps of the Future that I facilitated at NAPL’s TMC we learned that more print managers are taking control of the sales process for their business. They are stepping up their marketing efforts and beginning to look at CRM systems to help track and enhance the process. They’re striving to make the sales process a more repeatable event. As sales cycles continue to lengthen, particularly when they are selling both print and print related services, these leaders focus on how they go to market, their value proposition and how it’s delivered to their prospects and customers.

They are no longer leaving the sales process to chance and are making it a key management or boardroom issue. With the same intensity and passion as determining the strategic plan, the appropriate workflow system or evaluating a key capital expenditure for the company, these managers are now tackling the changing nature of the marketplace. This becomes a full time endeavor, as a transitioning industry needs the vision, strategy and tactical execution that can only come from the top.

  • Taking risks with the status quo;
  • Leadership priority focused on strategy, execution and
  • Hiring the right people (Top Grading, Caliper, hiring
    committees, situational presentations)

The real answer though is more complex than buying a CRM or sending out more marketing stuff. It’s about challenging the status quo and sorting out the legacy sales issues inherent in the business. Many managers will tell you that they would like to expand and strengthen their client relationships. This would include addressing both the strategic and the transactional needs of their clients as they use print and print related services to drive their business. The first step in this process begins with calling on the right customers. They examine their current best clients and develop profiles that help them articulate what a great client might look like.
This task helps to minimize the resources allocated to clients and prospects that may not lead to a profitably relationship. Next they enhance their go to market strategy by leveraging the strength of a selling team. These teams are made up of new business specialists, technical resources and great account management resources and join together to fully understand the goals of their clients and propose the solutions that will answer their needs and further differentiate themselves from the competition.

These leaders are working to take advantage of the structural changes and redistribution of market share within the industry. They understand that there is risk in trying new approaches but they also believe that doing nothing is not an option. Continued success!

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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