• The challenge of developing a focused strategy for sales growth is that it requires PSPs to think just as hard about where they don’t want to sell as where they do want to sell.
  • The best sales reps will focus their efforts on stakeholders that can generate consensus and mobilize others to act.
  • To differentiate themselves with a focused strategy, savvy PSPs are ensuring that their salespeople understand the printing and service requirements of their customers and industries.

By Eve Padula


Finding the right mix of best practices to increase sales staff performance is a key challenge for print service providers (PSPs). Although many firms are focused on improving profitability through manufacturing efficiencies, establishing the right processes to increase sales growth may often go unaddressed. Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends has determined that PSPs must follow a focused strategy to expand sales within existing accounts and uncover new business opportunities. This article provides a brief overview on how PSPs can leverage a focused sales growth strategy to position themselves for future success.

The Benefits of a Focused Approach

Following a focused sales strategy involves targeting offerings toward customers that need and want those services while setting aside the customers that do not fit that profile. The challenge for PSPs is that this strategy requires them to think just as hard about where they don’t want to sell products and services as where they do want to sell. The benefits of embracing a focused approach are clear:

  • You get more attention within your market space: When you market your offerings to a specific group, it is much easier to get their attention with a message that resonates. After all, you are talking about the challenges and issues that they face every day.
  • You can become an expert within the segment: Becoming an expert within your field is a differentiator. The world of print is crowded, so expertise is equated to differentiated value-add in the minds of customers and prospects.
  • More effective marketing to a targeted base: Once your marketing efforts become focused, your messages will simply “sound right” to the market segment. Prospective customers will view you as a partner that clearly understands their needs.

The most successful service providers take a focused market approach, have strong business acumen, and understand the challenges of the end customer. These business owners look at market trends and consider the directions that the industries they service are taking. They collaborate with clients to clearly define business objectives and determine what they hope to accomplish.

Key Attributes of Customer Stakeholders

Today’s most successful salespeople engage a specific kind of customer. According to The Challenger Customer by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, there are seven kinds of customer stakeholders that successful salespeople must understand in today’s complex business environment. The attributes of these stakeholders are outlined below.

Table 1. Customer Stakeholders from The Challenger Customer




All about organizational improvement

Evaluates how reps’ ideas can be turned into realities for their companies


More focused on the “why?” behind the proposed change

Holds the bar high for establishing burden of proof


Loves sharing insights, passionate about ideas

Wants to get colleagues excited about a new vision or direction


Readily accessible, makes time to meet with salespeople

Will happily network reps with other stakeholders across the organization


Good at helping salespeople understand who’s who in a company

Will introduce salespeople to others within the organization


Opportunistic; Focused on advancing his/her career

Will strive for personal gain at the expense of others


The “anti-salesperson”

Wired to avoid change, staunchly defends the status quo

The best sales reps will focus their efforts on the Go-Getters, Teachers, and Skeptics because these stakeholders are better at generating consensus and can mobilize others to act. Conversations with these mobilizers are easy because they are focused on driving productive change. They want to talk about their companies, not the sales rep and his offerings. Focusing on features and benefits will fall short with these people.

These mobilizers are seeking reps who can share insights about what their company should do, so you will need big, disruptive ideas to get their attention. They will all ask the tough questions for different reasons—Go-Getters because they want to do great things, Teachers because they want to share insight with others, and Skeptics because they want to test the idea and pick it apart before moving forward. Whereas most reps will be intimidated by mobilizers, star performers live for these types of conversations.

Embracing a Vertical Market Focus

Embracing a vertical market approach is another way to develop a focused strategy. This involves focusing on a specific type of businesses within a single industry.According to a survey that InfoTrends completed in 2018, high-growth commercial PSPs were considerably more likely to have a vertical market focus.

Figure 1. High-Growth PSPs Are More Likely to Have a Vertical Market Focus

N = 149 Print-for-Pay Respondents
Source: Winning in an Evolving Print Services Market, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends 2018

To differentiate themselves with a focused strategy, savvy PSPs are ensuring that their salespeople understand the printing and service requirements of their customers and industries. Product and service marketing efforts must also address these requirements.

The Bottom Line

Selling in today’s market is more difficult than it has ever been before—buyers have far more knowledge earlier in the sales cycle, and they often use this knowledge to drive even complex solutions to commodity status. By developing a focused strategy for sales growth, PSPs can generate demand, minimize price-driven battles, and set their sales teams and companies up for future success.

Eve Padula is a Senior Editor/Writer for Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends’ Production Services with a focus on Business Development Strategies, Customer Communications, and Wide Format. She is responsible for creating and distributing many types of InfoTrends content, including forecasts, industry analysis, and research/multi-client studies. She also manages the editing cycle for many types of deliverables.