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Business Development Is Not a Sales Lead Qualification Process

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: November 26, 2012

In Part One of this two-part column, Dr. Joe explains how the changing dynamics in the printing industry are dynamically changing the sales process. It used to be that a sales call didn't need to start with explaining print-everyone already knew what it was, and the needed it. Not so much today…successful businesses are increasingly turning to business development practices. This is much more than sales lead generation and that will be the topic of Part Two.

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Dr. Joe Webb is one of the graphic arts industry's best-known consultants, forecasters, and commentators. He is the director of WhatTheyThink.com's Economics and Research Center.

What do you think? Please send feedback to Dr. Joe by emailing him at drjoe@whattheythink.com.

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Discussion

By John Johnson on Nov 26, 2012

Very well put. Let's not forget that so many of those cash flow conscious sales teams are out promoting their company as a cross media player by simply adopting a new vocabulary. All the while, the company they represent hasn't changed one iota. When they do find an existing customer willing to listen, they have nothing more to sell them than feeble attempts at VDP, PURL or perhaps a social media play that is poorly thought out if at all. These attempts don't affect the bottom line at all. PSPs cannot simply inherit the new business. They must hire from outside and bring in those who are already up to speed on just what is working and where the industry is headed with regards to marketing. PSPs must stop taking advice from iron manufacturers and those other vendors who live in the print silo and whose revenues are solely in the sale of that iron or related services. As spoken, print is just one of the many by products of marketing and only one. Due to its high cost and very dismal returns (statistics don't lie), other forms of marketing are replacing nearly all of print's applications. Print won't die, but it will never produce the revenues PSPs have grown to expect. There is no new blood in the print industry. There is only recycled blood. Print has become nothing more than a commodity in the eyes of the marketplace. This process, no matter the industry, forces the best and brightest to move on to complementary verticals or get creative within their own in order to reinvent if they stay in the industry. Unfortunately all this leaves in the traditional vertical of print are the lazy, those who refuse to accept change, false confidence players (glad handers is a great term!) and least resourceful hang on for dear life as their ships sink. The print industry has to wake up and figure out what it's going to become because only a few players will be left to deliver quantity and they are already well on their way to obtaining control by entrenching themselves deep within the largest print buying clients. The small to middle sized firms cannot continue to do business as usual. Their ships will continue to list and will never be upright again without major overhauls.

 

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