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Commentary & Analysis

How Sales Creates Web-to-Print Disasters

The sales process sets up the critical transition period from lead to customer. Customers remember what was said in the sales process and they often use this to guide their approach to implementation. Don’t inadvertently focus your soon to be customers in the wrong direction.

By Jennifer Matt
Published: April 30, 2014

If you're a printer selling web-to-print solutions to your end customers, please take this sentence out of your pitch.

"You can make the solution look any way you want it to."

Remove this sentence from your pitch, I don't care if you think its true its a sentence that reeks havoc on the whole point of web-to-print. I know you learned this from the web-to-print vendor who sold you the solution but they shouldn't have used this sentence either. What this sentence does is focus the customer on something that doesn't actually produce results. By stating this sentence with vigor and confidence you are giving a clear message - hey customer this is where you should focus you attention!

There is something about this sentence that customers tend to remember and take very literally. Suddenly the discussion isn't about what are the most important products to put up first or how fast we can launch, no we've moved on to way more important things like "can we change the color of that button to a lighter shade of green?" Urrrgggg.

You, the sales representative in your exuberance to state yes in a categorically strong fashion have set our project down a path towards maximizing activity and minimizing results. The people in charge of implementation will now be fielding questions about the software like its a made to order program where everything is on the table for discussion.

Instead of focusing the customer on the looks of the solution, focus instead on what drives business results:

  1. Build an actual launch plan: In a B2B environment this means having a sustainable marketing/communications plan around getting the word out about this site and most importantly being presented on the intranet where other services are offered and internal traffic is already showing up there.
  2. Launch fast with the most popular products first, don't get talked into getting all the products configured without understanding historical order volumes. Too many printers have wasted lots of labor configuring "complete" sites without understanding that many of the products were never ordered in the past.

Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions.


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