Have you ever received a marketing message so on target it was almost like they were speaking directly to you? In an age where targeted marketing has become the norm, customers expect companies to understand what they need and help them move forward. If yours is one of the many businesses struggling to grow sales as a commodity printer, John Leininger has a piece of advice on how to get your foot in the door—51 pieces to be exact.

A Professor of Graphic Communications at Clemson University for 28 years, John regularly presents at industry events around the country. After talking to many print and graphic arts professionals and getting to know more about their sales strategies, he was surprised by what he found. A number of these business leaders had little understanding about the important dynamics of their vertical markets.

What did he do? He developed a hugely successful course at Clemson University that focused on sales prospecting. One of the assignments he had the student work through was to analyze 180 integrated marketing case studies. With the help of his students, he composed a list of 51 proven prospective sales objectives that you will be able to hear at the 2014 Print Leadership Summit.

But first, here’s how he did it.

Learning the ways of a Successful MSP

John created a new course that taught his Clemson University students prospective sales strategies to sell targeted integrated marketing services in the graphic communications industry. With intense focus on using online tools to research potential customers, this class showed them how to understand a client and uncover new vertical markets to pursue.

In other words he was preparing them to become successful MSPs.

Uncovering the Answers

His students read through a total of 180 PODI Case Studies. After analyzing each case, breaking down their main campaign objectives, and recording the overlaps, they came out with a list of 51 objectives.

This list is pure ammo for print sales reps who research their customers and can now pinpoint the objectives to target their specific needs. It provides the ice breakers to open new doors and reach niche vertical markets.

Some of these objectives your sales professionals can use include:

1.            Maintain and develop a brand image, both on a national and local level (different concerns for versioning and personalization at these two levels).

2.           Provide a completely automated system to create a print campaign online and automate the postal prep and mailing.

3.           Reduce the costs (by reducing time, effort, storage and waste) and improve turnaround time involved in producing and distributing marketing collateral and support documentation (through the use of a Web-to print portal or managed fulfillment services).

 4.           Create an automated lead generation program to build and manage prospecting.

 5.           One element of the campaign was designed to drive people to the Web to create an interactive customer experience.

Applying these Objectives

Once you’ve researched and identified your customer’s needs, what do you do next? There are a number of ways you can make your sales pitch to a company, but John recommends that the first communication be a personal phone call followed by an email or even (gasp!) a hand-written letter. That’s right, folks. Sales professionals everywhere are saying that the letter is making a comeback, which is certainly music to printers’ ears.

If you want to learn more, John is presenting a session at the 2014 Print Leadership Summit, “Get Your Foot in the Door: Strategies to Target Your Top Verticals.” Registration is open for this event, happening June 2–3 in Dallas, at www.printing.org/PrintLeadershipSummit.