Does your Sales Team Need Special Training to Sell Digital Print?

They’re like chalk and cheese
That’s the common perception of digital and litho. Two completely separate print processes. Two distinct workflows. A big difference in the types of product that each process is suitable for. Many companies even go so far as to set up separate litho and digital departments or divisions.
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With all these distinctions, shouldn’t we be looking at a very different type of sales person for digital print?  Don’t they need a completely separate training programme?
Let’s take a step back for a moment and look at things from the customer’s perspective.
Most customers don’t see any difference between digital and litho
Remember, the average person that buys print these days doesn’t really understand print. They don’t know that there are different print processes. They don’t want to know about this.
Therefore printing companies shouldn’t make a distinction between digital and litho for their customers. There don’t need to be different departments. You don’t need separate training for digital sales people.
A good sales person can sell both digital and litho
That’s because their skills are not focussed around selling print. They realise that the sale does not depend upon the print process. Their skills are focussed on the customers’ needs.
A good sales person will:

  • Understand exactly the profile of customer that will work best for their company.
  • Understand the typical pain points of these customers and how the solutions and products of their printing company can solve these pain points.
  • Understand what makes their company different from the competition and why this should be important to their customers.

This should apply to all sales people, whether they are in the printing industry or not. It should apply to sales people no matter what sort of printing company they represent.
So should a digital sales person be treated exactly the same as a litho sales person?
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There are two areas that may differentiate digital sales people from others. The first of these is in product knowledge. Clearly, digital print has a much broader range of solutions. Many of these are more complex than litho solutions. A digital sales person will need a better knowledge of digital products and services.
They will need to know how these processes can help their customers. So they should have a good understanding in areas such as:

  • Personalised print
  • Data handling
  • Print-on-demand
  • Automated workflows

Naturally, not all of these will apply to all companies. It depends on the products and services that you wish to focus your sales on.
Secondly, you may want to think about compensation arrangements. As digital print is typically based on a larger number of smaller print jobs, commission might be structured different from litho.
Chalk and cheese?
When it comes to selling digital and litho, the basic principles are not that different.

P.S.
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.

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