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How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

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  • How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

    Hi, not sure if this is the correct forum or not. But we are having a problem motivating our sales people, we dont have a single sales person who is selling enough printed materials to cover what they cost the company in terms of salary and commission (10% in most cases). We give them lists of 100's companies to contact but come up empty handed. Can anyone shed light on this situation? All help is greatly appreciated.

    Edited by: Ernie on Jan 28, 2008 9:45 AM
    Ernie

  • #2
    Re: How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

    That's an extremely broad question. If anyone had the answer to it they'd
    probably be able to make millions as a consultant. I've found that in the past
    it's a good idea to look at the way you're trying to motivate them. If your company
    is doing all the right stuff, then it's time to evaluate the actual sales reps. There's
    a chance they just aren't great sales people. There's a chance that your pricing
    and/or product isn't competitive in your region. There's a chance that whoever
    is trying to motivate them is a poor motivator. There's a chance the lists of SIC
    codes, or whatever your using, is out of date, or is scarcely better than the
    Yellow Pages.

    Just some thoughts. Good luck finding the correct answer to your company's
    situation. You'll probably need it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

      Thanks for the reply, i understand that its kinda a broad topic. I was just looking for a example of what a user here may have observed/implemented for their company's sales team. Im just a prepress supervisor and looking for some knowledge i could pass on to my GM. I feel our sales staff has the potential to be great, but lack motivation. They dont even appear to try very hard as they bring in very few jobs to even quote. And the majority of the jobs might bring in a few thousand a year.
      Ernie

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      • #4
        Re: How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

        Start by looking at the black and white set of goals the GM has in
        place for them. If they aren't able to meet them, but are putting in
        the work, the GM should re-assess the goals. If they are realistic
        and the reps can't hit them, or don't do the work to hit them, clean
        house.

        If the GM doesn't have a set of black and white goals for the sales
        team, the GM is doing them a disservice, and it probably doesn't
        matter who fills the positions. Steak knives for second place might
        work in the movies, but real life motivation is a bit trickier.

        For what it's worth, I've always thought that it made more sense
        to pay a fixed base for 3 months, then switch to a commission %
        only thereafter. They'd weed themselves out using that pay scale,
        or they get pretty motivated by food and electricity.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

          Ernie
          What you have to think is what would move YOU away from your plate supplier or proofing paper supplier.You are happy with them, they tick all the boxes - you get on with the sales guy well . They sort you out when you have problems , So what is going to make you move,

          When you can answer that then you will know how to advise your sales guys.

          Peter

          I would think it wouldn't involve paying you money - or entertaining you - so what would he do .

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

            Yes that is the eternal quetsion, why does production run at full tilt and the sales guys seem to lack the same drive. I've worked in litho, web, gravure and now digital...nothing changes except the technology. I long for the day that the salesman role is automated, small, functional, attentive robots that sell, sell, sell. Then we may only need to work for maybe 10 or 20 hours a week and spend the rest of of waking hours dealing with the true spiritual problems of modern living. Amen!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

              Your question taps into a theme common in any sales organization, but it seems to be particularly acute in the printing industry due to the pressure to broaden capabilities via new technologies (digital). The answers to the following questions can help shape a high level strategy for creating greater efficiency in your sales process:

              1. What business are we in?
              2. Who are our best customers and why do they do business with us?
              3. What are the common attributes in our customer base - industry, employee size, budgets, etc.
              4. How do we successfully sell today?
              5. How do our best sales people do it? (Hopefully you have at least one to examine!)
              6. Are our expectations of sales valid and have they been effectively communicated?
              7. Is the compensation structure in alignment with those expectations?

              This list can easily run for pages, but hopefully you get the idea. The good news is there are many ways to create sales efficiency in your organization, the first step is to take stock of exactly what's going on now. If you have more questions, email me at rich@micromarketing.com.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

                I always liked the solution based selling approach. I want to be a part of helping my clients be better at anything they desire to do. That approach transends many industries. Buyers buy from people they know and trust. What about doing a brainstorming session with your salespeople to see where they are all at? What are their objections, reasons for low sales..

                Find out what they think. Ask what their obstacles are in making their sales? Is it in making contact? Getting permission to keep in contact with the prospect? Making quotes? pricing? lack of product to sell? or quality of product? It's good for a manager to know all this...

                Here's a few ideas for them to do:

                Have them join local chamber of commerces, BNI groups, and network....With advertising and marketing all businesses are your prospects. Perhaps one or more of your salesmen could put on free seminars on "How to promote your Business with Effective Marketing and Advertising". (you could choose a dozen other topics as well) You are therefore making your advertising salesperson an 'expert' in the area advertising and marketing. When businesses recieve free/helpful information thats when the trust starts to build.

                Consistant communication (newsletters,email,phone) and keep that consultive approach with asking questions and trying to find out what they can do in relation to their prospects issues. Whether by phone or in person then you see where your products fit with the prospects pain. The salespersons goal should be to become a part of the process and STRATEGY to make the clients needs met.

                Just a few ideas, I hope they may be useful!

                Kindest Regards,

                Michelle Embs

                Edited by: Konica Girl on Mar 14, 2008 4:34 PM

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

                  My experiance as a sales manager has taught me that one of the worst things you can do is give your sales staff "Hundreds of leads" I would suggest giving them 5 or perhaps 10 leads at the most along with a time table to contact the potential clients. Have the sales manager prepare a strategy for approaching these new potential accounts, handing a salesman a name and address isn't really a team effort. Request a written analysis of the results. Good luck.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

                    Sales people are the enemy.

                    The customer wants to get the job printed, the pressmen and prepress want to do a good job printing the job, the owner wants to deliver the job as quickly and highest quality he can. The sales person could give a crap for anything that happens after the PO is signed.

                    Whether the job is a Rembrandt or barely legible, the salesman gets paid and thier interest ends at the signature on the PO. I can't tell you how many times salespeople have said they don't care, they can go and sell used cars tomorrow. I believe them; Life is a scam to them, and we are suckers for them to take advantage of. They only sell because it's easy and they don't want to be bothered actually +knowing+ anything about what they are selling.

                    The only way to motivate sales is to publicly execute the poorest performer and give all of thier accounts to the best performer. If you are forced to layoff production personel, at least give them the satisfaction of knowing a crappy sales person was fired for poor performance. Don't worry; Sales are a dime a dozen; there is always a used car salesman who hates his job enough to come work for you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

                      dcraig2122, I really got a good laugh when I read your post and I agree with just about everything you said. Ideally you would get a salesman that has prior print experience, train them on what you offer and motivate them properly to excel. Unfortunately that is not always an option. One thing that holds true though is that they need to know the business in and out in order to do well. I always do my best to make sure they understand what they are selling before we let them loose.

                      One problem is that there are not many quality sales people out there in the printing industry. The ones that are good often need incentives to stay or they end up starting their own company. Luckily we have a great group that produces consistent sales.

                      Rick Elwood
                      Sales Manager
                      Sac Digital - [Full Color Printing|http://sacdigital.com]
                      http://www.sacdigital.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

                        All I know is that I've never seen a printing sales person with even an ounce of visible stress on their pointy little heads. They're always smiling because they've actually figured out how to get paid for doing NOTHING!

                        Our sales schleps are so lazy that they don't even call the client to get printing specs anymore... just send the files to prepress and have them preflight it and tell us what's on the disk. Refresh my memory, but what the hell does a sales rep actually do? They don't pick up files anymore, they don't deliver proofs now that their atrophied brains have figured out what a PDF can do, they don't do press checks unless they're right after lunch which is usually when they drag their lazy carcasses into work, and they don't deliver the printing when it's done! Call me crazy, but I think I could do that too!

                        Here's the business model for the print shop of the future. A state-of-the-art web based quoting, ordering, proofing, job status and customer to company interface that client's ENJOY using, instead of a web site with hours of operation, a phone number and how many years in business. Cut out the sales people and hire a cute college intern with nice legs for the occasional delivery (Salaried position of course. Male intern in San Francisco.) and watch the profits soar!

                        Or, to cut costs even more, forget the cute intern and just find a chimp with a suit. At least the client's will understand WHY their sales rep doesn't know jack $#@%!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: How to motivate sales people in the printing industry

                          After reading your previous posts about all the problems you are having in the press area I am not so sure that lack of a motivated sales staff is the problem. I would start by giving your staff the tools they need such as a quality product on the floor, if you do not have the people that can produce that is where you start. That may be your Press Manager if he is not willing to step up but by reading your posts it sounds as if you have multiple areas that should be addressed . I have walked into similar situations and issues like you have described do not happen overnight, chances are this has been going on for a long time and morale is probably at a low and that is not easy to fix.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LoweringTheBar View Post
                            All I know is that I've never seen a printing sales person with even an ounce of visible stress on their pointy little heads. They're always smiling because they've actually figured out how to get paid for doing NOTHING!

                            Our sales schleps are so lazy that they don't even call the client to get printing specs anymore... just send the files to prepress and have them preflight it and tell us what's on the disk. Refresh my memory, but what the hell does a sales rep actually do? They don't pick up files anymore, they don't deliver proofs now that their atrophied brains have figured out what a PDF can do, they don't do press checks unless they're right after lunch which is usually when they drag their lazy carcasses into work, and they don't deliver the printing when it's done! Call me crazy, but I think I could do that too!

                            Here's the business model for the print shop of the future. A state-of-the-art web based quoting, ordering, proofing, job status and customer to company interface that client's ENJOY using, instead of a web site with hours of operation, a phone number and how many years in business. Cut out the sales people and hire a cute college intern with nice legs for the occasional delivery (Salaried position of course. Male intern in San Francisco.) and watch the profits soar!

                            Or, to cut costs even more, forget the cute intern and just find a chimp with a suit. At least the client's will understand WHY their sales rep doesn't know jack $#@%!
                            I'm going to have to disagree with your observation here. I am with a print company and there are a total of 4 sales reps that work here. All of them get into work at 8am sharp, make cold calls and customer calls, take customers on tour of our facility, check with the production team to see how their jobs are doing, go out to locations for proof approvals, send off quotes, negotiate contracts and so on.

                            All of them work very hard because if we do not have them we do not get any print jobs. We do have house accounts, but the big money is with their investment in their time they take each day to push jobs through our company. All of them are great people and have a lot of experience within the print industry. One of the sales reps has been with the company for 26 years, and the only position he HASN'T done in the company is pre-press.

                            I can understand some sales reps have a specific mindset that you might see, but what I see is sales reps working hard to make money for the company.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Man, i sure wish we had reps here like the ones you spoke of. Count your blessings.
                              Ernie

                              Comment

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