Friday, August 26, 2005

Print sales superstar - con'td

Applying the wisdom shared with me by a trucker I worked with back in the day,
Do One Thing First.

The one thing to do first is number 6 - listen. The philosopher
Wittgenstein is quoted as having said "Don't Think. Look." In the case of sales, it could be usefully modified to read "Don't talk. Listen."

A potential prospect, customer or client can usually describe what they want. If they can, job one is to respond to that, first. But the real opportunities come from understanding what they need, not just what they want. To get a fix on what that might be, and how what you can do can help them there is no better approach than to look and listen - very carefully and actively.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Designers and Digital Print contd.

The brief, as explained by Goggin:

My plan for the workshop is to investigate the visible and tangible parameters of graphic design — type specimens, halftone screens and, in particular, colour tests and calibration charts — and make a book of our own self-produced tests which we will send to print on Friday afternoon using the online print-on-demand system Lulu.

The book project will therefore act as a colour/type/pattern test of the very system with which it is produced.

"Print-on-demand" is an increasingly important production system which can serve to make us designers rethink the impact our profession has on the environment and to question the often wasteful print volumes and production methods requested of us by our clients.

Graphic designers, and especially students, have a chance to use and subvert these relatively new (and fairly cheap) technological systems to our advantage.

What are you paid to do - cont'd.

Found this today at The Business of Print It's managed by Mike Philie, a vice president and consultant in the Print Consulting Services Group of NAPL,
We spoke about expectations; as the new sales managers, what does your boss, owner, management team expect from you? Only two of them felt somewhat comfortable about knowing the expectations that lie ahead. Not a good thing.

Alignment in all that we do is a critical component of successful companies. How can we work together as a team if we don't fully understand our goals and objectives?
The problem is that sometimes no one in the company has a goal more than "Get more.. work or customers or money" or "We've got to improve our customer service or marketing or production efficiency or most often "People have got to work harder!"

That's fair enough. But without knowing who has to do what, when to achieve those goals, it's just time wasting bs.

The job of a sales manager is to oversee the sales process and make sure the team has what they need to succeed. But it takes time to do and time to think and time to listen. And time is the thing we don't have plenty of.

Here's what to do to create a revenue stream -cont'd

I found this at Total Sales Success. It's a blog managed by Tom Hackelman, a Graphic Communications Growth Consultant for Xerox in the Triad area of North Carolina. There is a detailed power point at his site that gives much more detail. It's definitely worth the click. In the meantime, here's what Tom says you have to do. It sounds about right to me.

1. Identify and communicate a consistent and specific value
that your business brings to your customers.
2. Based on the characteristics of your top twenty percent
of accounts, create your ideal customer and focus your
efforts on securing more of those accounts.
3. Create and implement a sales process that is
measurable, has expectations and is consistently
4. Stop recruiting subpar talent. Only hire superstars. Hire
the best, hardest working talent. And let go of the
5. Create a goal-oriented sales organization that is
committed to growing, changing and reaching new levels
of performance."
My only quibble might be to move number 2 to the number 1 position. If a suboptimal sales process exists, number 1 is actually the hardest thing to do. If sales could really "identify and communicate a consistent and specific value that your business brings to your customers," they probably are already in pretty good shape.

The easier thing is to identify their 20% top customers. It means making a list from accessible information. If it were me, I would measure activity/revenue/and culture (are they good people to work with?) Then figuring out the threads that unite them is pretty straight forward. Then focusing on getting more like them is not that hard.

If you are a hunter, you have to know whether you are hunting for geese, whales or mice. If you are a farmer, it's good to know how to fertilize your crops.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Lean Sales

To implement Lean Sales you have to do this:
. . . learn how a philosophy of avoiding waste of time, empowering CSR's and production people and getting more customers with an efficient, sustainable and well defined process can make their printing companies much healthier.
Here's what I mean:
Imagine that there are 5 bins: suspects, prospects, customers, clients and community of clients. The job of sales is to move people from one bin to the next one. The creative part is figuring the easiest way to get them to move.

What has to get done:
1. Find Suspects.
2. Move Suspects into the Prospect bin.
3. Move Prospects into the Customer bin.
4. Move Customers into the Client bin.
5. Nourish a Book of Business based on a Community of Clients.

Then come the real payoffs.
1. You (either a person or an organization) get a little breathing space to enjoy the fruits of the investment of your business time. Then you have either business or personal time to do what you really want to do.
2. Once you have a community of clients, you're in a much better position to figure out new things that are easy for you and hard for them. That should be a pretty easy sell.

How do you know you are on the right track?
You need clear definitions that tell you which person is in which bin.

1. Suspects are anyone that you can easily reach.
It could be new businesses within 2 miles of your plant. It could be a specific industry like pharms or publishing or non profits or designers. It could be buyers in the education, health or government space.
2. A prospect is someone who has asked for an estimate.
3. A customer is someone who has given you a job.
4. A client is someone who has given you a couple of jobs over some defined time period.
5. A book of business is a community of clients for whom you are the trusted go-to person when they need to make a printing decision.

What you should do:
1. Divide your present customer list into prospects, customers and clients.
2. Figure out the most efficient ways to move everyone from a lower bin to a higher bin.
3. Look at the indicators EVERY day to figure out what is giving you the highest ROT. (Return on Time was coined by Dr. Joe Webb). Be flexible and creative with your tactics. If a tactic isn't working, try another one. But don't change the strategy - do something every day to move individuals from a lower bin to a higher one.

What are the hard parts?
1. You have to sell stuff that people want to buy.
If you are selling the ability to communicate in print, better, faster, cheaper with a minimum risk, every person or entrepreneur or business needs that. If they are not buying, don't blame them. Figure out what has to change in your product to make it valuable.

2. Who has the time?
Sending and answering emails and phone calls, getting the specs right, going to useless meetings (either internal or external) and then chasing jobs that are in the plant does not leave alot of time left. That's why this is not about investing more time. It's about investing LESS time in activities that have low ROT, to find the time for activities that have high ROT.

3. How can I get real time information?
If you have an active customer facing web site, it's pretty easy. If not, there are lots of workarounds. It's mostly about focusing on customer exchanges. Blogging helps.

4. Why should I bother?
Situations change so unexpectedly that even a client from your book of business can disappear. People get fired or move to a new job. Companies can get bought and your contact network loses the power to buy. So, you have to keep the pipeline filled.

No doubt, it's all easier said then done. But then so is everything. A few really blessed professionals do it naturally. The rest of us have to practice and need some help. But you can't do the right thing, if you don't have a clear idea of what the right thing is.

Saturday, January 8, 2005

NY State of the State January 2009

Yet this is no time for fear. This is a time for action. . . . We in government need the courage to balance our budget as well as our priorities.

First, we must balance the budget. It will be painful but our state law demands it and so we shall do it.

Second, we must strengthen our health care system; improve our schools; create jobs; rebuild our infrastructure; clean up our environment; and begin a clean energy revolution.

And third, even in these difficult times, we must make sure we respect one another, serve one another and protect one another.

This year we will partner with Washington to cover an additional 400,000 New Yorkers. We will pay for this by asking Washington to let us use the Medicaid savings we have already achieved. . . . I will propose a bill allowing families to cover family members up to the age of 29 in their family coverage plans at their own cost.

While we have made some progress, we still incentivize the wrong care in the wrong setting at the wrong price. Where we are overpaying for inpatient or institutional care, we must shift funding to primary, preventive and community-based care. . . . This is why we should aggressively address the greatest threat to our children's health today, the epidemic of obesity.

Our five-point plan includes the Healthy Food/Healthy Communities Initiative, which offers a new revolving loan fund that will increase the number of healthy food markets in underserved communities.

This year, through public-private partnerships, we should work together to establish new early college high schools throughout New York. And we must expand the SAY YES program, which offers free college tuition to students who meet educational standards.

When private lenders refuse to lend to our students because of tight credit markets, we must step in. That is why I propose we establish the New York State Higher Education Loan Program, which will provide more than $350 million in affordable loans to students in need.

I further call upon our federal partners to quickly reform our system of financial regulation. But let me be clear - if the Federal government does not act, then I shall. We need sensible regulation to oversee our financial industry so that the savings and retirement funds of New Yorkers will not be at risk.

We should complete signature projects all across our State including the Peace Bridge, the Tappan Zee Bridge, the Second Avenue Subway, and the East Side Access. And we should implement the Ravitch Commission recommendations to improve an essential piece of our infrastructure, the MTA.

Most importantly, we must lower the cost of doing business in New York. Property taxes are too high. We should cap them. State mandates are too burdensome. We should relieve them. Local government is too costly. We should help it become more efficient. We should act on the recommendations of the Commissions on Property Tax Relief and Local Government Efficiency.

We should also understand that our current Empire Zone program does not work and we need to reform it. Companies that receive tax breaks from the state must be held accountable for creating jobs and investing in their facilities.

We must also reaffirm our commitment to specific programs and projects targeted at revitalizing Upstate, including the Upstate Revitalization Fund. I have tasked the Empire State Development Corporation with identifying transformational projects in our upstate communities, from enhancing the tourism infrastructure around Niagara Falls to investing in biosciences in Buffalo.

Today, I announce one of the most ambitious clean energy goals in America. By 2015, New York will meet 45 percent of its electricity needs through improved energy efficiency and clean renewable energy.

To reach our goal of "45 by 15", we will need to create a clean energy economy - that includes retrofitting homes and businesses. I call on the Public Service Commission and other public authorities to provide financing mechanisms to help New Yorkers invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy now to lower their costs and our energy burden.

The key technology needed is a rechargeable electric battery that can drive a car longer distances for less money. New York, particularly upstate New York, already possesses the research infrastructure and the manufacturing base to help develop these batteries and drive the U.S. auto industry into a cleaner and competitive future. . . . we will create an upstate research consortium on hybrid electric batteries and energy storage technologies

I call upon all parents to increase their efforts to teach their children respect for all people -- no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability or national origin. And we in State government must strengthen our school-based curriculum to reinforce the critical message of acceptance and tolerance.

. . . we must go one step further. Not only must we respect one another, we must also serve one another. Here in New York State, nearly 3 million adults volunteered 397 million hours of community service last year, contributing an estimated $7 billion to our economy through their service.

We will work with our partners in the non-profit sector to recruit, train and retain more volunteers. To accomplish this, we must fund an increase in the number and capacity of Regional Volunteer Centers throughout the state. I also encourage all New Yorkers to visit to learn what they can do to serve their neighbors in need.

. . . we must implement a comprehensive strategy to support returning veterans and their families - a strategy that should include access to counseling in rural areas. . . . I urge our federal partners to fulfill their promise to provide health benefits to the first responders who acted so heroically on September 11th, 2001.

We will move forward with Operation IMPACT, a program that uses the intelligence-driven policing strategies that have been so successful in New York City to target violent crime in high-crime areas in Upstate and on Long Island. Last year, violent crime in the 17 IMPACT counties decreased by 10 percent.

Few public safety initiatives have failed as badly and for as long as the Rockefeller Drug Laws. These laws did not work when I was elected Senator in 1985, and they do not work today. At the end of this month, the New York State Commission on Sentencing Reform will deliver its report.

The question is not who is hurting the most but who is best prepared to emerge from it. We are - because we have some of the best human capital in the world. Our workforce remains strong, and our vibrant university system will continue to produce high quality graduates for decades to come.