Do you know the true cost of running a job?
Naturally, there are some very obvious elements such as equipment costs, materials costs, machine time, etc. But how do you measure lost profits from running non-standard jobs? And how do you measure lost profits from “inefficient” customers?
As pricing becomes an area of even greater interest and scrutiny, so too does the importance of making sure you are producing the right jobs. Earlier in this series of articles we discussed choosing the right customer. This is one way to help ensure that you are producing the right types of jobs. Targeting the right customer bases can make the life of your production department a lot easier.
The other way is to make sure that you are producing the sort of jobs that suit both your equipment and your company culture. Companies that specialise in magazines, for instance, are well suited to handle the rapid changeover times to produce general commercial print efficiently. Likewise, companies that specialise in direct mail have the right variable data and design software in place to efficiently handle this work.
It’s important that your sales team understand the types of job that you want to win
The trouble is, many sales teams are not given sufficient guidance on what to sell. They are simply left to “fill the presses”. However, this leads to your clients dictating the work that fills your facility. If you aren’t careful, it can also lead to commodity pricing. Profit margins can be severely reduced in trying to win jobs that are not really suitable for your business.
So how do you decide the right jobs?
The first task is to review what your best clients require. Is your facility set up to produce these jobs efficiently? Can you remain profitable despite avoiding the types of work that gets in the way of your ideal jobs?
The next stage is to sit down and decide what type of jobs you would really like to focus on. Does your company excel at highly bespoke pieces of print that require a lot of intervention? Or do you work best at standard items of print? Which of your offline finishing processes are most, and least, efficient?
Naturally, the production team should be involved in this process. However it’s important to think of profit margins and not just ease of production.
At the end of this exercise you may also wish to review whether you are still focusing on the right type of customer. It may be necessary to go through the process of choosing a new target audience after uncovering some production pains and inefficiencies.
Finally, there is one more important job to carry out.
Make sure you brief your sales team on the type of jobs you want
It is important that the sales team understand that they are being tasked with winning specific types of work. You may even consider changing levels of commission according to suitability of the job. It may make their jobs easier if you produce some profile sheets that detail exactly the sort of jobs that you wish to focus on.
However, sometimes salespeople will come up with good opportunities that don’t quite match the ideal jobs of your production capabilities
What do you do with jobs that are not right for you?
It is always dangerous to turn away a job from a willing customer. They may end up taking, and leaving, their business in the hands of a competitor. Therefore, it is worth considering setting up partnerships with other printing companies that specialise in different types of work. If you create a small network of suppliers, you will all be able to help each other.
If you have carried out the advice in this series of articles, your sales team should now have excellent guidance to help achieve the right results for your company.
Let’s review what we have covered in this series
We started by highlighting the fact that many sales teams do not receive sufficient guidance. This can lead to poor results for your company. We therefore focused on three areas which you should consider helping educate a sales team on:
- Choosing the right type of customer
- Understanding the business challenges that your prospects and clients face and how you can solve them
- Ensuring that you are targeting exactly the right type of work from these clients
Congratulations! You are now well-placed to build a high performing sales team.
Editors Note: This post is part of a larger series on how to help your sales team boost your company’s bottom line through:
- How to Create Bigger Print Profits for your Sales Team
- Avoid the Commodity Trap by Choosing the Right Customers
- Helping your Sales Team Develop a Successful Sales Message
- How Choosing the ‘Right’ Jobs Can Maximize Print Profit Margins
If you’d like more ideas on how to engage with today’s buyers, download my free e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors and What To Do About Them.” You’ll also receive my regular “Views from the print buyer” bulletin, full of ideas on how to sell print effectively.