Written by Dharminder Biharie
Business Development Manager
Xerox Graphic Communication, The Netherlands

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It’s a new year. Take a look around. You’ll see that the business landscape is changing everywhere, for everyone. So if business mythology is changing, shouldn’t you consider making changes to your strategy, sales, marketing and website…you know, to survive? Makes sense, right?  Sounds easy, right? Just remember, change is never easy and unlearning is always more difficult than learning.

A customer of mine took notice of the changing times and wanted to discuss web-to-print opportunities.

It was a cold and rainy Thursday here in Holland and I was driving to visit with the customer, listening to 10CC Live in Japan. Great music for driving. To fight the cold, I had the heat turned on in my VW Golf Bluemotion. Talk about going green.

So as I’m driving along, I’m thinking about this customer. He sounded interested in web-to-print, and I will believe him if he can present a good marketing and communication plan showing how he will market the business. Once in the office, I get a decent cup of tea and we start discussing the business case.

It doesn’t take long for me to start having doubts. Web-to-Print? Why on earth would he consider this? The customer states that he wants to compete against online price choppers who have lean and mean print factories. I openly question this strategy, stating that I don’t think it would be the best idea to survive. He doesn’t have a clue about online marketing, doesn’t have a budget for Google AdWords, and lacks a content manager…yet he still want to compete against online printers with the lowest price?

So, what happened, you ask? Well, after two weeks of research we found that his inbound sales was suffering from a syndrome commonly known as: we help the customers because they pay the bills, but we don’t have a clue if we are making a profit ….

The inbound sales was always very busy helping customers. And busy is good, right? But what they were actually doing was spending their time helping customers with what we call commodity-based revenue streams. And commodity revenue streams can vaporize or transfer to Internet print brokers in a click.

So what we did was help the customer to transfer the commodity revenue stream online to create space and room for developing customer relationships with better profit and revenue opportunities. The customer managed to transform about 25% of their order intake stream to the web. They are now in the driver’s seat and helping themselves, as opposed to being at the mercy of the customer.

The advantage? This customer offered a ‘clicks and bricks’ business model. Order through the internet if you want the cheapest price, but come to our office if you want personal contact, advice and project management.

Was it bold? Yes. Was it difficult? Yes and no. What was the biggest challenge? Humans. Like we discussed, unlearning is always more difficult than learning.


DharminderBiharieDharminder Biharie is a Business Development Manager with Xerox Graphic Communication in The Netherlands. To get in touch with Dharminder, please contact Dharminder.Biharie@xerox.com, + 31 (0) 6 2020 499 42.