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Industry Insight

Breaking the Grip of the Status Quo

If you'

By David Dodd
Published: March 6, 2011

If you're a provider of marketing asset management/distributed marketing/web-to-print solutions, your toughest competitor is usually the status quo.  The prevailing attitude of most of your prospects is to keep plodding along with things as they are even if many of those prospects recognize that the status quo is far from ideal.

This inertia results from both a deep-seated aversion to risk and a scarcity of time.  Most business buyers are highly sensitive to risk, and any significant change always involves risk, either for the buyer's business, or for the buyer personally, or both.  Therefore, many prospects will perceive that the safest choice is to do nothing.  As the old saying begins, "Better the devil you know. . ."

Buyer inertia is magnified by a lack of time.  For the past several years, many companies have been "streamlining" management structures, giving more responsibilities to fewer people, and the recent recession accelerated this process.  The marketing, sales, and financial executives you need to engage are incredibly busy.  Their time is their most precious commodity, and they guard it closely.  Therefore, they tend to ignore all but the most urgent issues, and if dealing with an issue or problem involves risk, it's even more likely to be ignored.

In order to sell web-to-print solutions in this environment, your first major challenge is to persuade potential buyers to "open their minds" to the need for change.  Many popular sales methodologies  provide techniques for "selling against the status quo," but here's the catch.  These techniques are designed to be used by salespeople in personal interactions with potential buyers.

The problem is, today's business buyers increasingly prefer to gather information and learn about issues, challenges, and possible solutions on their own, and they are delaying conversations with sales reps until late in the buying process.  So, it's getting harder and harder for your salespeople to be consistently successful at creating engagement with new prospects.

The solution is to provide marketing content that is specifically designed to loosen the grip of the status quo and persuade potential buyers to begin considering the possibility of change.  This type of marketing content doesn't eliminate the need for effective personal selling, but it can lay the groundwork and "prime the pump" for meaningful sales conversations.  Marketing content for this stage of the buying process will focus on a few basic questions.

  • Why should I change?

  • What are the ramifications if I don't?

  • What are the possible solutions?

I've written a white paper that performs this important marketing function.  The primary target audience for this paper is marketing, sales, and financial executives, and it contains an interactive "scorecard" that's designed to get executives thinking about whether a web-to-print solution would be a good fit for their business.

If you'd like to review this white paper, just send me an e-mail at ddodd(at)pointbalance(dot)com.

G. David Dodd is available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. To get more information contact us here.

G. David Dodd is a principal of Point Balance, LLC ( www.pointbalance.com ), an executive education and management consulting firm. Point Balance provides cutting-edge management education programs designed for printing and publishing executives. The firm also provides management consulting services involving business strategy development, strategic marketing, cost management (including activity-based costing), business process management, and balanced scorecard performance management systems. Dodd is a co-author of Activity-Based Costing for Printers: An Implementation Guide, the authoritative resource relating to the use of activity-based costing by printing and publishing firms. Dodd also co-authored Making Value Added Services Work, a comprehensive reference tool for printing company managers who are just beginning to consider diversification or who have already added new services and are not receiving the benefits they expected.

David Dodd can be reached at ddodd@pointbalance.com,931-707-5105.



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