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Pricing Software Tools That Enable Print Programs

Your print sales team has to evolve to understand and be able to sell the value of the software that enables print demand from business processes. Every printer should have a direct revenue line for their software.

By Jennifer Matt
Published: June 26, 2019

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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 Gina Danner on Jun 26, 2019

Sing it sister!!!

Please don't blame the sales team exclusively. This is often let by owner mentality -- Some PSPs will do anything to keep those print engines running.

PSPs and their sales teams often fail to understand the entire opportunity around these systems and hence still only see them as optimizing "the print".


It's hard stuff and the individuals, teams, and companies that get it will continue to thrive. Those that don't will struggle to survive.

 

By Jennifer Matt on Jun 26, 2019

Gina,

Thanks for the enthusiastic response. In a capital intensive segment, it is natural to want to keep the presses running. I get that. The irony here is that software is the differentiator that drives more predictable print.

Software investments have to be sustainable b/c they just keep costing you money; unless you're willing to go off maintenance and risk your business on unsupported software (i'm talking to you guys who have Print MIS systems that ended their life five years ago ;-)

jen

 

By Gina Danner on Jun 26, 2019

Jen... the other point that is important to note -- through the years we have "lost deals" because another vendor "gave away the software". The challenge for those clients is that when we do our follow up, it is the norm that the solution never came to fruition. If the client isn't paying, there is no skin in the game. The PSP keep chasing the dream and the client keeps delaying waiting for perfection. If the client is paying for it -- they will work harder to see the reality and get the solution fully implemented.

 

By Jennifer Matt on Jun 26, 2019

Gina,

Agreed. Both sides of the coin need to value the contribution the software makes for the customer's business process. I like to compare the value provided by software in equivalent FTE's (full time equivalents). Some software can decrease labor and time at the customer to the costs of 4-5 FTEs at the level - it should not be too hard to get a monthly subscription out of them to keep moving the software forward.

 

By Robert Lindgren on Jun 26, 2019

The price should be as much as we can get but still get the order. If the software creates perceivable value to the customer and is not available from other printers, that's a pricing opportunity that should be taken.

However, saying "the first thing that the rep discounts is the software" is missing the point. The software is just another cost like the paper. It isn't the cost that's the issue, it's the value and the competitive advantage. if the customer seems them as real, they should be in the price. If they don't, you don't get the order and sales revenue is zero.

Profits are not produced by zero sales.

 

By Jennifer Matt on Jun 26, 2019

Robert,

A sales persons job is to impact the customer's perception of value. Sell value.

If the print sales rep sees no value in the software - their is NO chance of positively impacting the customer's perception.

Jen

 

By Gina Danner on Jun 26, 2019

Robert... you are correct... profits aren't produced by zero sales. The difference in the value proposition of software enabled print is that the real value isn't the print.

Due to numerous unsophisticated print sales reps AND extremely sophisticated buyers we have seen profits in the print industry erode. Software is one area where we can recapture those profits.

Clients see the print - it is the tangible. What we have to educate them about is the "cost to acquire and manage the print". This is the soft cost and this is where the real value is. Solving that problem for a client is where the honey (and the money) gets made.

 

By Chris Lynn on Jun 27, 2019

Jennifer, I sympathize with your cri de coeur. But the key problem here is that the software must have been unbundled in the quote so that it can be discounted. The PSP should be quoting (and the rep selling the value of!) a turnkey service, and not enabling the customer to pick it apart line-by-line.

The issue (which you identified in a good article here exactly 5 years ago) is one of poor sales training and misaligned incentives. A NAPCO study last November is worth a read in this context: https://www.piworld.com/article/top-print-sales-challenges-secrets-sales-rep-success-high-growth-printers/

 

By Mark Myers on Jun 28, 2019

Jennifer... The real problem with most new software is the developers attempt to include almost every request to satisfy each printers unique way of looking at what he wants from the product...and as such have created monsters that need extensive training and dedicated personnel to understand its complexities... in creating these monsters they have forgotten about the basics to keep it simple and be able to give an accurate competitive price which could be delivered by a CSR who has a basic understanding of the printing processes. This complexity has a real dollar cost to the printer as well as reducing his response time in getting the price quickly delivered and in many cases causing the client or potential customer to seek less effective pricing from on line shopping cart solutions... A fast easy to install and use estimating system will always be more valuable in producing sales then almost any complex to operate MIS system... Mark L Myers President Estimator Cloud

 

By Robert Lindgren on Jun 28, 2019

As I understand this discussion it's about getting the customer to pay for the value created by the software which presumably makes the product more valuable. This works if the sales rep explains the value to the customer and, most importantly, the customer believes it.

It's not clear that the estimating system has any role in this as it's internally focused while value is external and a function of the customer.

 

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