Where's the Business…Where's your Team?

By Mike Philie
In August 24, 2011

There’s no question that the economic recovery, as sporadic and transparent as it can seem is not treating everyone equally. I speak with some companies and learn that their business is up 20% over the prior “pretty good” year and the next company I speak with has not seen much if any improvement to their business. These are sometimes in the same general market, same basic equipment configuration and the same basic talent pool.

What’s different? One observation is that the attitude and vision from top management is very different. Please don’t misunderstand, it’s not as if the struggling company has given up, not in the least. They all want to succeed but a differentiator is in the areas that they focus on. The leaders seem to focus on client acquisition, not just the projectacquisition. They place an importance on understanding their markets and play a role in developing a strategy to attract, persuade and win the business. They have a sales force that is generally a mix of legacy reps along with a few outliers – those that don’t focus their conversations on ink and paper. These sales outliers discuss ROI and business strategy with their clients. They are passionate about their clients business and understand how they make money and sometimes may only focus on one or two targeted vertical markets.

When they go after new business or try to expand their presence with existing clients they think it through and deploy their business development team to manage the process. This skill sets that this team brings to the table often includes marketing, strategy, print, mail, database analytics and represents all the disciplines necessary for the applicable situation. Make no bones about it, they are selling and selling hard. But, they are selling by first diagnosing the situation, meeting with the right folks, understanding how the client wins, developing a solution and in the end, making it clear that they are the best ones to implement the plan.

As an owner told me yesterday, “the business is out there, we just got to go get it.” Get your team together and hit the bricks. It’s out there but probably won’t look like what you’re used to seeing.

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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