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Top 3 Challenges to the Print Software Sales Process

Mistakes get made during the print software sales process because there is a lack of common understanding, a pressure on the vendor to say yes to every challenge presented, and a tendency to focus on solutions rather than the problems.

By Jennifer Matt
Published: October 5, 2016

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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. You can reach her at jen@whattheythink.com.

 

Discussion

By Jim Drisler on Oct 05, 2016

Yet another great article. Thanks, Jennifer.

 

By Mark Myers on Oct 06, 2016

Defining the problems with software sales by: Mark L Myers CEO EstimatorCloud.com

Jennifer I wholeheartedly agree with your analysis of the difficulties in selling print software but would like to add some additional qualifying areas that we hear at EstimatorCloud.com have found to be quite challenging.

Computer project management tries to get to the base core of the problems the printer is trying to solve but most often is met with a barrage of “can you do this” questions which does not address the true problems. When I started in this business 21 years ago there were only a handful of print software solutions while today there are literally hundreds which I believe in looking at all the available choices have done more to confuse the printers wants from his needs.

Most solutions have become terribly complex to install and learn and can only be used effectively to their full extent by maybe one person in the company who has devoted his time to learning the intricacies over a great period of time. As such I would estimate that more than 50% of most print software solutions today or underused or parts totally ignored and therefore most likely unnecessary.

I think we can all agree that without sales there is no business therefore the most important item a printer should focus on is creating and delivering fast accurate estimates in the shortest period of time possible. A good example would be our sale to RR Donnelly after they purchased the first two Igen digital printers. They discovered with their complex Hagen system that it was in many cases costing more to create the estimate that they received for the job. What we provided was a super-fast estimating program that easily had the quote in their customer’s hands in minutes, and if they received the order they then entered it into their corporate system. Amazing as it may seem there lead estimator in one 8-hour day completed 852 estimates by himself on our system and yest that included building many multiple grids which was very easy to accomplish.

After that experience we decided to focus on creating the easiest to learn and use, and the fastest estimating and MIS program available anywhere, with the hopes that printers would recognize that for about the cost of an iPhone they could have unlimited users access and deliver customer quotes from any Mac, PC, tablet or smart phone. We also provided the ability to export the data into an existing complex system that gave them a giant leg up on their competition.

 

By Joe Fedor on Oct 06, 2016

Jen, it's spooky accurately you're describing so many of my calls, it's like Julian Assange is sending you transcripts! Alright, it's not that spooky, I know it's just because you've been there, on both sides, so many times.

With your 3rd item, not describing the challenges, you might also call this "Asking for features instead of solutions." I've actually noticed a trend over time where printers (in-plant OR commercial) are getting better about this, but I still find myself in so many conversations where the printer I'm speaking with or the salesperson coming to me for advice asks "does your solution do ?" Sometimes, with a straightforward feature that meets a straightforward need, you can get by with a simple yes or no. But it's so much more common that a buyer asking a vendor for a specific feature rather than describing the challenge doesn't get the job done. I know it can be difficult to do, but to a point, you need to trust your vendor specialist to use the experience they have talking with so many printers day in day out to listen to your challenges, dig deeper to help you uncover things even you have not thought of, and compare it their solution. True - not all vendors people will do this, but speaking as one, we don't want a buyer coming back and saying "you said it this, but instead it does that" anymore than buyers do.

This is such a challenge in technology buying and selling, I'm glad you wrote about it. Things can go wrong even when everyone thinks they did everything right. I think a major key for buyers is to not ask for features, ask for solutions to a specific challenge, and throw a red flag if your vendor is not saying "Tell me more about..." before answering "Yes, we do that."

 

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