Monday, September 15, 2008

What was, is.

Printing salespeople usually live in the moment. Or at least until the next sales goal has to be reported. Then, they are told they have to build long term relationships with their customers. Then they are asked every couple of days "how's it going?" which usually means "Did you bring in any new jobs/money/customers today?"

To top it all off, everyone knows printing is bought, not sold. A salesperson does not control when the print purchase event is going to happen. Unlike a supermarket, there are no impulse buys.

No wonder that salespeople are so stressed in a shrinking market. The job definition is a prescription for failure. There are alternative job descriptions. But that's for another post.

One thing that helps is to get a prospective on what was, so that a salesperson can define what is. The real competitive sales advantage for non commodity sales is figuring out what a customer needs, not just want they want, before the competition does.

Below is something I found at the DG3 website. From everything I can tell, DG3 seems to have figured out how to thrive in this 21st century world. While it may not seem to have anything to do with selling , it might give a sense of what I'm trying to get at.

The long tail - one of the marketing buzzes du jour - is really the forward long tail. But there is also the backward long tail.

First who DG3 says they are:
"We have been a leading provider in the printing and communications market for over thirty years. Today, our clients include some of the world's largest companies, as well as discerning small and medium sized businesses active in different sectors from financial services to pharmaceuticals.
Then the long tail that got them to where they are today. It's little long. But that's the thing about the backward long tail.

(Note it seems that they started as a printing broker which is just an independent salesperson, who knows how to get things done.)
Roda Print was founded and developed to produce fast turnaround printing services for the investment banking community in London

Cunningham Graphics International Inc. was founded in the USA as a print brokerage, specializing in printing for the financial services industry

Workable was founded in Hong Kong. The company quickly established itself as the printer of choice for Hong Kong’s finance industry and within ten years, the workforce leapt from 4 to 120 employees. CGI moved into manufacturing to meet the need of the industry for quality overnight printing in the New York area

Cunningham Graphics International Inc. formed a strategic alliance with Roda in London and Workable in Hong Kong in order to form World Research Link™. WRL™ specializes in multi-time-zone printing and the servicing of global clients

Cunningham Graphics International Inc. acquired Roda Print in London and Workable in Hong Kong and is floated on NASDAQ

Cunningham Graphics International Inc. makes two further acquisitions in the UK: Apollo UK Limited, a research printer and Goldhawk Print Services Limited, a digital reprographics specialist

Cunningham Graphics International Inc. is acquired by Automatic Data Processing Inc. (NYSE: ADP)

CGI Europe Limited and CGI Asia Limited replace Roda and Workable as the company name in London and Hong Kong respectively

CGI Pacific Limited and CGI Japan Limited are opened to service the financial and research market in Sydney and Tokyo

CGI Asia Limited acquires IFP, a local research printer in Hong Kong

Peter Furlonge acquires CGI Europe Limited, CGI Asia Limited, CGI Japan Limited and CGI Pacific Limited from ADP Inc. in a Management Buyout to form The CGI Group

CGI Group acquires 3D Digital Limited, the largest London based digital printer to broaden the range of services to offer to clients

CGI Group establishes CGI Squared, a technology-focused creative communications business to offer clients a seamless one-stop communications solution

CGI Group acquires ADP Graphic Communications, Inc. to form CGI North America, Inc., extending the Group's global footprint and expanding the range of services available in North America

CGI changes its name to DG3- Diversified Global Graphics Group and welcomes back Dr. Michael Cunningham as Group Chief Executive Officer

DG3 receives a major investment from Arsenal Capital Partners, appoints Larry Bloch as Chairman and executes the acquisition of PharmAid Industries, a leading supplier of communication services to some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms. The link to DG3 website:
Now, if I were trying to sell something to DG3, which I'm not, this is the kind of information that might help me figure out the appropriate offering. And if I were designing some transpromo something, this is the kind of information that might help to find just that right offer to be made to the right person at the right time.

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