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Articles by Pat McGrew

Pat is a well-known evangelist for inkjet productivity. At McGrew Group, she uses her decades technical and marketing experience to lead the industry toward optimized business processes and production workflows. She has helped companies to define their five-year plans, audited workflow processes, and developed sales team interventions and education programs. Pat is the Co-Author of 8 industry books, editor of A Guide to the Electronic Document Body of Knowledge, and a regular contributor to Inkjet Insight and WhatTheyThink.com.

Displaying 1-99 of 153 articles

You Should Join a Printing Industry Association

Published April 16, 2024

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. Print industry associations are like that. Once you become involved, you find a vast group of people to talk and trade ideas with. You enter a hive where you are not alone facing challenges. If you haven’t considered joining, or you looking for more groups for networking, this is the year to jump in!

Selling Print Where You Live!

Published April 9, 2024

Governmental and institutional buyers—including print buyers—are often required to source products and services locally. They buy a lot of print, but it can be challenging for print providers to find a path to them. Pat McGrew explains how to get on the list of preferred suppliers. 

Moving Past SWOT Analysis for Deeper Insights

Published March 26, 2024

If a SWOT exercise is a regular part of your yearly strategy, and it doesn’t produce the results you expect, it may be time to change your approach. Try adding a dose of VUCA to your SWOT to build a holistic view of how your company, products, and services fit into the changing world.

Are You Ready For the Hackers and Phishers?

Published March 12, 2024

Today, it takes more than some commercial firewall tools and virus protection license to keep your business safe. If you haven’t done a comprehensive security review in the last six months, take the time to do it now. If you are held for ransom, there may not be a road back.

My Father’s World Expands Home Curriculum Production with Affordable Color

Published March 4, 2024

In this article, sponsored by Kyocera, Pat McGrew looks at content publishing in the educational market, and how it comes with challenges that are not faced in most other markets. The demand for high-quality print is the same, but the print runs can be very short, and the requirement for substrates ranges from light to heavy across production needs. Add the need for engaging color, and it is clear why more content publishers like My Father’s World are turning to the Kyocera TASKalfa Pro 15000.

3 Considerations When Buying Software

Published February 27, 2024

There is a cycle to software development that is intended to capture market or customer needs, develop solutions that meet those needs, and then launch into customer use. As more workflow automation tools and platform integration options come to market, consider having a different type of conversation with your vendors to understand the mindset behind the offering. The goal is to learn if their design and architecture are consistent with the needs of your shop.

More Privacy Laws Mean More Disclaimers!

Published February 13, 2024

No one goes into the print business, or the eDelivery business, to become a lawyer, but it almost takes a law degree to keep up with the growing body of legislation impacting the industry. Here is a quick look at new legislation from Illinois! Remember, always consult your legal counsel before making decisions!

State of the Cloud: Zero Trust Workflows in 2024

Published February 5, 2024

It’s time to abandon your Trust but Verify approach to security. The changing legislative and technology landscapes demand a new approach to securing your shop, whether you print, e-deliver, or produce output across multiple channels. Zero Trust is the modern approach to your cloud-enabled workflow architecture.

Three Projects to Start 2024

Published January 30, 2024

The life of a printer is a whirlwind of incoming jobs, production, and delivery. It’s hard to find time to look for new ways to conquer production demands. Here are three projects you can execute with your team to identify new options to set your business up. We know that 2024 will be a big print year. Get your share of the business!

Planning for Change, Succession Style

Published January 16, 2024

If you have watched the TV show Succession, or you have a vague understanding of it, you know that it is a tragedy. It is the story of a family trying to figure out how to move forward as the aging patriarch’s health fails and there is no clear path forward for the family business. If you own and operate a family business, even if you aren’t part of the family, succession planning should be reviewed every year. Things change. Here are some things to consider!

Has Your Best Promotion Failed You?

Published January 9, 2024

Have you ever seen a promotion that is so intriguing that you fall for it? We’re all professionals, so it is a bit harder to draw us into a campaign and convince us to participate. But it does happen. We go along with the story and often we are enriched for it. And we get ideas that we can apply. Websites are built and supported with QR codes and triggers. But what happens to those digital assets after the campaign? Let’s talk.

2024 Is Going to Be A Big Print Year!

Published November 14, 2023

Follow the bouncing ball in the print industry as we head into 2024. It’s going to be a big year! There is on-going demand for print across most segments, with personalization expanding into every nook and cranny. There are faster machines, new technologies, and solutions for every business footprint. And there will be shows. Lots of shows. Including the big one—drupa 2024.

Print Marketing: The Power of Open Houses!

Published November 7, 2023

There are a many elements to print marketing. Well-designed websites that are tagged appropriately for search engines and more than a laundry list of equipment can be very effective. Well-placed signage and outbound marketing campaigns are also excellent for visibility. In the pantheon of options, there is one more thing to consider. An open house! Here’s why!

You Can’t Automate What You Don’t Know

Published October 31, 2023

Think about how you prepare for certification tests or giving a presentation. Most people spend time arranging their thoughts and thinking about their approach. The preparation helps to identify gaps in knowledge and set expectations. Updating or adding automation to production processes in your shop requires that same thoughtfulness. Here is how to get ready before you launch your next automation project.

Where Do We Find the Next Generation Print People?

Published October 23, 2023

When it comes time to find new talent for your business, where do you go? The local temp staffing agency? Local schools? The national recruiting sites? You may find that pitching a job in print doesn’t bring the responses you would hope. Let’s change that!

Adopting Vendor-Neutral Workflows: No Hassle Job Management and the Cloud

Published October 23, 2023

Cloud-based solutions can provide a tremendous benefit for in-plant and print-for-pay printers, especially small to medium-sized operations. In this article, sponsored by Ricoh, Pat McGrew explains how offering automated, vendor-neutral, rules-based workflow technology that provides simple, easy-to-use tools in a SaaS environment removes the requirement of a heavy infrastructure and IT expertise. The key to overall workflow profitability all starts with job onboarding.

It’s Fun to Play with the T-C-O-P!

Published October 19, 2023

It takes a Village (People). Pat McGrew looks at how understanding the way that different maintenance strategies affect your Total Cost of Operations and your Total Cost of Print involves ensuring you are capturing the correct data in a normalized way.

Who Are You Hiring?

Published October 10, 2023

Every print shop is in the hunt for new team members. They are harder to come by these days as schools pivoted to teaching more courses focused on online delivery and fewer covering color management, prepress skills, and print operations. It begs the question, where should you be looking? Who should you partner with to find a flow of talent? Here are some ideas!

eProductivity Software’s MarketDirect Platform: A Complete Solution for Print Businesses

Published October 10, 2023

The team at eProductivity Software has been adding features and functions to their entire range of workflow and marketing management solutions. Their MarketDirect platform is a comprehensive solution that helps print businesses sell more online, improve customer engagement, and streamline operations for printers in every segment. And it's a perfect fit for shops of every size.

Tool Time Versus Club Med

Published September 25, 2023

Do you rely on maintenance contracts to keep your equipment running? Or are you more hands-on—or perhaps adopt some kind of hybrid approach? Contributor Pat McGrew looks at your options for equipment maintenance.

We All Live in a Maintenance World

Published September 20, 2023

There are many costs associated with running a print shop. There are machine costs, consumable costs, labor, building, and utility costs. Another cost that is sometimes buried in the numbers is the cost of maintaining the equipment. Pat McGrew explains how maintenance practices and schedules should be part of the company’s Standard Operating Procedures.

How to Work a Trade Show!

Published September 19, 2023

Sometimes it helps to have a refresher! Trade shows are wonderful opportunities to catch up with industry friends, learn about products, and get ideas. The challenge is making sure you bring back the information you were looking for! Everyone needs to put their best foot forward! Here are considerations for printers and vendors as the next set of shows gets underway!

10 Steps to Survive a Crisis

Published September 5, 2023

If your company declares a disaster, what happens next? Who do you call? Where do you begin the process of business continuity? Depending on the type of disaster, the answer will vary. There are physical disasters that can be localized to the building or disruptive to a region. There are cyber disasters. And there are other issues that can disrupt your business, including vendor bankruptcies and supply chain disruptions. Are you ready?

Building Your Crisis Recovery Playbook

Published August 22, 2023

Our industry has a lot of names for the process of cleaning up when something happens that disrupts the normal flow of business. Disaster recovery planning is a common term, along with business continuity planning, emergency response planning, and crisis recovery. We have learned that the need for a planned response evolves from events of every size. Are you ready?

Get More from Your Print Operations

Published August 15, 2023

By optimizing costs and resolving bottlenecks, the print industry can bring more efficiency to its business, resetting print economics and getting more from its print production. Let’s do it! Process automation increases productivity, helps to control bottom-line costs, and can add hidden capacity. In this article, sponsored by Baldwin Technologies, see how Baldwin solutions are based on decades of experience bringing insights to printing companies with data and automation. See how they can help you conquer today’s challenging print industry economics.

Social Profiles Are Forever

Published July 11, 2023

Estate planning, succession planning, and getting our affairs in order are part of life. If you run a business, the process of planning for the next generation or next owner is part of the process. In our personal lives, we tend to look at the big things to make sure assets are identified and that there is a plan for how they will be handled in the future. We’re talking about what happens when someone dies, whether it is anticipated or unexpected. Here are some things to add to your list.

Product Spotlight: Getting Product Personalization Right with LiveArt

Published June 28, 2023

Consumers are no longer satisfied with only buying mass-produced products. Online and brick-and-mortar print shops have offered B2B and B2C buyers the ability to customize printed products, but the process is sometimes complex and hard to understand. Pat McGrew looks at LiveArt’s web-to-print services which address the gap between off-the-shelf web-to-print solutions available in the market and the growing needs of printers requiring more custom-tailored solutions for their clients.

Product Spotlight: Getting Product Personalization Right with LiveArt

Published June 28, 2023

As part of our Product Spotlight series, Pat McGrew talks with Volodymyr Yatsevsky, CEO of LiveArt, about the Ukraine-based company’s origins and its full range of web-to-print products and Services.

Why Consider Professional Services for Your Mission Critical Projects?

Published June 27, 2023

The temptation is always there. How hard can it be to handle a new project, an assessment, a business plan, or strategy development on your own? Why pay a consultant or another organization to come in and do work that you know you and your team can do? Clearly it will be less expensive to handle the requirements between the production work, maintenance, and client care! Or, is it? Let’s investigate!

ICYMI: Zen and the Art of Software Maintenance

Published June 13, 2023

At its essence, software is a tool that is based in science, but has artistic manifestations. The style of coding, the elegance of programming expression, and the user interfaces that join the user to the software capabilities create a yin/yang relationship. Software does require care and feed, however. Here is some guidance on living with software, whether it was created in your shop, downloaded for free, or purchased from a vendor!

AI Is Here! Fire Everybody?

Published May 30, 2023

Welcome to the rise of the robots—or at least chatbots! Businesses in every segment are looking at how artificial intelligence can help them grow. The anecdotes are becoming part of the mainstream—eliminating staff positions and replacing them with chatbots is a common theme. That begs the question: what happens if you fire everybody and let the bots do the work? Let’s explore that.

Where Do You Get Your Print Industry Learning?

Published May 16, 2023

We hear from printing companies that they have trouble finding new staff that are already trained and ready-to-go. We hear from vendors that they have the same problem. It isn’t a new problem! It has been with us for decades, but the problem grew as we emerged from pandemic restrictions. Not only is it hard to hire experienced people, but it is hard to train people inside your four walls because many subject matter experts are either overwhelmed with their jobs or they are plotting their retirement. Let’s talk about paths to an educated workforce.

Three Easy Steps to Great Embellishment Projects!

Published May 2, 2023

Not every print project needs embellishment! Foil on my credit card statement seems over the top. But there are so many projects that deserve the pop and sizzle that is achievable with a bit of foil, some texture, a hologram, tinted or clear spot varnish, or float coats. But before you get excited, let’s do some planning.

Print Begins with Finishing

Published April 18, 2023

There is an old adage in the print industry that “print begins with finishing.” The story is that you can print just about any design, but if the design is not matched to the finishing, you will add time and effort to trying to bring them together. But take it a step deeper! Today’s finishing options are more diverse than ever before. Are you taking advantage?

Bronte’s Francesco Crotti on Book Production

Published March 29, 2023

Pat McGrew talks to Bronte’s Francesco Crotti about the recent changes and new developments in book production.

Ultimate TechnoGraphics’ Andrew Bailes-Collins on Smarter Workflows

Published March 29, 2023

Pat McGrew talks to Ultimate TechnoGraphics’ Andrew Bailes-Collins about the sea changes taking place in print production workflow—and making workflow smarter—and how Ultimate is responding to those changes.

Yale Goldis on HP’s Latest Hardware and Software Introductions

Published March 28, 2023

Pat McGrew talks to HP’s Yale Goldis about HP’s most recent hardware and software introductions and the market forces driving new features in those products.

Why You Need a Website Assessment: Every Page is Your Home Page

Published March 20, 2023

Websites are the company face to the world, but they often miss the scrutiny that our workflows get when it comes to efficiency and optimization. Start the year with a plan to assess your website to see if it still meets your needs and works for your visitors.  

Rob Boumans on the Rebirth of Crown Van Gelder

Published March 9, 2023

Pat McGrew talks with Rob Boumans of Crown Van Gelder at last week’s Hunkeler Innovationdays about the company’s recent business travails—and how the company is relaunching itself. He also shows off some samples of Crown Van Gelder’s new papers.

Hunkeler’s Daniel Erni: “We Are Hunkeler. We Are Going to Stay Hunkeler.”

Published March 8, 2023

Pat McGrew talks to Hunkeler CEO Daniel Erni about how he sees the trade show environment playing out over the next few years, and the future of Innovationdays.

Thinking About Websites: Every Page is Your Home Page

Published March 7, 2023

When was the last time you looked at your website? How easy was it to find information? Were the pages formatted consistently. Was the information current? In this missive the focus is on the value of regular reviews of your face to the world. Next time the focus is on how to approach a website assessment project.

Three Inkjet Workflow Pain Points and One Answer—Part 1: Labor as Friction, Automation As Lubricant

Published February 21, 2023

In this series we look at three of the top inkjet workflow pain points and paths to reducing the friction they cause with one technique that pays off. It starts with data but doesn’t end there. Data requires analysis and interpretation.

Who Manages Print Industry Standards?

Published January 31, 2023

We are starting the year with standards to embrace a year of optimization, automation, and growth. The focus this time is on the groups that help us manage the standards. These are the groups to watch because they are managing the processes that lead to changes in existing standards as well as new standards.

Three Reasons to Adopt Standards

Published January 17, 2023

This year, we are going to explore a wide range of trends, thought-provoking ideas, concerns, and the role of hardware, software, workflow, automation, and standards in how we communicate to clients, customers, and constituents. That is a mouthful. It’s ambitious. But it would be a fascinating ride. The starting point is the role of standards—something our industry tends to honor in words, but not deeds. =

Help Your Sales: Update Your Website

Published January 3, 2023

You know what they say about cobbler’s children? They never have good shoes because the shoes go to paying customers. We have the same challenge in the print industry. Even companies that offer website design as part of their services offering struggle to create a compelling website for their own services. Let’s talk about that!

Three Transition Trends for 2023

Published December 13, 2022

Did your business change over the last couple of years? What have you done to cope? Did you hire new people, add automation to workflows, buy a company, sell a pieces of business, or find new ways to navigate supply chain issues? If any of these items look familiar, you are on the same ride as most of your peers. Let’s find the learnings to get ready for 2023.

Pleasant Air “Made it Happen” in Recent AlphaGraphics Contest

Published November 30, 2022

Pat McGrew talks to David and Bryant Crawford from N.C. HVAC company Pleasant Air, one of the winners of AlphaGraphics’ “Make It Happen” contest. As a result of its efforts in giving back to the community, the long-time AlphaGraphics clients were awarded an AlphaGraphics business brand makeover.

Is the Company Being Paid for What They Print?

Published November 29, 2022

Once a sale is made the job is not done. Not only does the work have to be performed, but the customer must be invoiced, and the money collected. There are many steps on the journey to ensuring that what was sold is what gets billed, but let’s start at the beginning.

Looking Back to Sell Forward

Published November 8, 2022

Sales professionals know how to calculate sales margins vs. contribution margins. They are handy with calculating job pricing, and proficient in sales methodologies. At this time of year it’s worth taking a moment to look back to lay plans for next year!

Where No Sale Has Gone Before…

Published October 25, 2022

Salespeople aren’t mind readers. Whether they are in-house or working remotely, they won’t magically know when new equipment is on the shop floor, or when incumbent technology exits. Let’s talk about how to ensure that everyone is current on what you can product so that everyone is working to fill the machines with the highest margin work.

Print Software Product Spotlight: Web-to-Print Solutions that Adapt to Your Needs with Customer’s Canvas

Published October 13, 2022

Sometimes the hardest part of taking advantage of the available marketplace is having tools that work they way you need them to. One size does not fit every situation. That is where Customer’s Canvas comes in. The team at Aurigma work with their clients to craft the web-to-print solution that will work most efficiently for their business.

How AlphaGraphics Makes It Happen!

Published October 11, 2022

What happens when an international franchise network makes it their mission to give back to the thousands of communities they serve? In this article, sponsored by AlphaGraphics, Pat McGrew takes a close look at AlphaGraphics’ “Make It Happen” campaign, a contest in which three deserving businesses won new branding, graphics, signage, décor, and marketing programs.

What’s Your Sales Backstory?

Published October 11, 2022

What’s the story you tell customers about your business? Do you have a narrative that everyone in the company uses or is everyone inventing their own? Here are the reasons to have a company backstory and for salespeople to have their backstories.

What Print Sales Job are You Looking For?

Published September 20, 2022

While hiring sales team members requires art and science, at the same time, candidates for sales positions also need a strategy to make sure a particular job is aligned with your abilities. Pat McGrew explains how job-seekers can ensure that they are the best fit for a given position and company.

Who Are You Hiring for Sales?

Published September 6, 2022

Hiring sales team members requires art and science. Pat McGrew talks about adopting a hiring strategy that is in sync with your sales goals.

Selling to Lapsed Customers

Published August 30, 2022

Do you have accounts who used to be profitable, high-volume customers but haven’t ordered from you in a while? Pat McGrew explains how to bring lapsed customers back into the fold.

Let’s Fire Some Customers!

Published August 16, 2022

Your sales plans should reflect what you sell, how you sell, and your target customer profile. A deep dive into your customer list is the only way to evaluate which customers help you produce a profit and which may cost you money. Pat McGrew explains how to sort the good customers from the bad—and how to fire those that may be costing you money. 

How’s Your Sales Plan Working? Buyers and Discounting

Published August 2, 2022

We are well into the second half of the calendar year, and to ensure a profitable end to your year, take a few minutes to look at what is in your pipeline, what has been onboarded, and what is in production. Is it what you expect? In part two of a two-part series, Pat McGrew takes a deep dive into the costs of doing business with customers and how you apply discounting strategies.

How’s Your Sales Plan Working? Calculating Profitability!

Published July 19, 2022

We are well into the second half of the calendar year, and to ensure a profitable end to your year, take a few minutes to look at what is in your pipeline, what has been onboarded, and what is in production. Is it what you expect? Pat McGrew offers some tips for evaluating your YTD performance.

Are You Selling with the Wrong Data? Part 2: External Data

Published June 28, 2022

You should be using data to guide your sales planning, and you should be revisiting the data you collect on a regular cadence because things change. In part one of this feature, Pat McGrew looked at how to gather and evaluate internal data. In part two, she looks at how external data can influence your sales plans.

Are You Selling with the Wrong Data?

Published June 14, 2022

You should be using data to guide your sales planning, and you should be revisiting the data you collect on a regular cadence because things change. But there is a lot of potential data—some of it is useful in helping to set sales plans, and some of it could be considered noise. Pat McGrew helps you determine which is which.

How Not to Sell Software at Trade Shows

Published May 31, 2022

Expos and exhibitions are interesting opportunities to sell, but the event alone is not enough to generate leads or close sales. Selling at trade shows takes a strategy and preparation. In part two of a two-part series, contributor Pat McGrew offers some do’s and don’ts for selling print software at trade shows.

How Not to Sell Hardware at Trade Shows

Published May 16, 2022

Expos and exhibitions are interesting opportunities to sell, but the event alone is not enough to generate leads or close sales. Selling at trade shows takes a strategy and preparation. In part one of a two-part series, contributor Pat McGrew offers some do’s and don’ts for selling print hardware at trade shows.

More Green Grass for Sales

Published April 26, 2022

Sales is a numbers game, but sometimes the focus on numbers derails thoughts of having creative conversations that can lead to higher-value sales. In Part 2 of her “Where is the Sales Grass Greener?” series, Pat McGrew explains how to go beyond the “Always Be Closing” mentality and develop deeper relationships with customers.

Pat McGrew Talks Data

Published April 21, 2022

"If you’re running a business and you don’t know your cost of goods sold, you’re not using data properly." WhatTheyThink contributor Pat McGrew discusses the emphasis on data collection and analysis at the recent Dscoop, and how, when used properly, data can help businesses grow.

Where is the Sales Grass Greener?

Published April 5, 2022

No matter how deeply you believe they rely on your services or how perfect your solutions may be, the road to successful sales begins with a relationship. Pat McGrew explains how to create an environment where the sales team operates at the highest levels.

What D’Ya Know About Your Software Investments?

Published March 22, 2022

Software is the hidden infrastructure in every business. Without a common understanding in both the business and production teams that installed software tools are to be used and not circumvented, the business cannot have a clear understanding of inbound orders, scheduling, work-in-progress, bottlenecks, shipments, and invoicing. Pat McGrew explains how to get everyone on board.

What D’Ya Know About Your Hardware Investments?

Published March 8, 2022

New equipment investments are wasted if the devices are not put into production quickly. Set the team and the business up for success. Pat McGrew tells you how.

Smart Surveys Expand Sales Options

Published March 1, 2022

Surveys can be a great tool to keeping up with customer needs. Contributor Pat McGrew offers some do’s and don’ts for constructing effective surveys that will give you the data you need to better serve your customers.

Three Strategies for Keeping Up with Customers

Published February 15, 2022

Just as your own business changes, so, too, have your customers’ businesses changed to meet their own market needs. They may have stopped selling some products or services and added others. They may have had staff turnover, bought additional companies, or sold pieces of their business. Pat McGrew offers some strategies for staying updated on where your customers are and how you can best serve their changing needs.

Top Three Sales Mistakes to Avoid for 2022

Published January 25, 2022

The coming year will be one of rebuilding for everyone in your supply chain, including your most regular customers. They may be taking time to look carefully at all their relationships and their budgets, so you need to be visible to remain in consideration as they update their plans. Pat McGrew offers some tips for ensuring that your most loyal customers stay that way.

Top Three Software Sales Strategies for 2022

Published January 11, 2022

We were hoping that 2021 would bring stability and the end of lockdowns and quarantines. While we had some respite mid-year, we’re beginning 2022 with similar challenges. The good news for software sellers is that there is a continuing market for solutions to automate, optimize, and streamline at every step of the workflow. Contributor Pat McGrew offers three software sales strategies to kick off 2022.

Your Business: Looking Back and Looking Forward

Published December 14, 2021

As we come to the end of the year, Pat McGrew encourages us to reflect on the choices made over the past year and set goals for the coming year. Think about how to evaluate what we have experienced and make a practical plan for 2022.

Time to Talk Turkey about Sales—Part 2: Remembering to Invoice

Published December 7, 2021

Of course, you are invoicing, but are you invoicing the correct amount? Your customer will let you know if you overcharge, but they aren’t as likely to come to you with undercharges. Pat McGrew explains why now is an excellent time to look at your invoices for the last quarter to see if you have a chronic problem.

Plan for Profitability with PlanProphet

Published November 29, 2021

This Product Spotlight looks at PlanProphet, a specialized, complementary solution to your print MIS that acts as your business virtual assistant. Powered by the industry-leading Salesforce CRM, PlanProphet is a cloud-based subscription software that analyzes customer data and behaviors to identify trends and automate touchpoints.

Time to Talk Turkey About Sales—Part 1: Firing Customers and Avoiding Discounts

Published November 16, 2021

We use the phrase “let’s talk turkey” when Thanksgiving is just over a week away…or we want the other party to know that it’s time to get to the bottom line. As you look forward to 2022, Pat McGrew talks turkey about why this is a good time to think about the bottom line for your sales teams and how they interact with customers.

PlanProphet’s Lemay Sanchez on Print Business Optimization

Published November 15, 2021

Pat McGrew and Ryan McAbee talk to Lemay Sanchez, managing director of PlanProphet, about how PlanProphet helps printers optimize their businesses by automating small but critical tasks that are involved in the day-to-day administration.

Don’t Get Spooked by Salespeople!

Published November 9, 2021

There are two sides to every sale: the buyer and the seller. Each party usually has the support of teams that help to solidify the requirements of the sale. hardware and software acquisitions are the result of long relationships with specific salespeople or the companies they represent—but that closeness can bring bias to the sales cycle. Pat McGrew explains how not to get spooked by the friendship.

Haunting Tales of Sales

Published October 19, 2021

As we enter the final months of the calendar year, companies are wrapping up their fiscal year and trying to get sales to close—which can lay the infrastructure for misunderstandings and mistakes. Pat McGrew identifies two common scenarios that can haunt you for a long time after the sale.

Do You Have a Sales Dashboard?

Published October 5, 2021

Sales teams are under increasing pressure to handle more accounts, grow those accounts, and deliver on margins. As a result, sales performance software has become a huge business. Pat McGrew rounds up some leading sales dashboard applications.

Do You Need Data to Sell?

Published September 21, 2021

Sales teams want leads, but they also want to know what the state of the market is. There is a sense that having data in hand will make the selling process easier. It might, but it might lead you astray, especially if it reflects a market of the past. Pat McGrew explains how to use data effectively to plan for the future.

Four Tips for Your Sales Succession Plan

Published August 31, 2021

Printing companies, already struggling with staffing in the office and in production, have a new concern. Sales team members are resigning, too. Sometimes without much notice, precipitated by requirements to return to an office or return to travel. Pat McGrew offers advice for developing a sales succession strategy to ensure that new salespeople quick acquire the knowledge of someone who is leaving.

What’s Your Sales Succession Plan?

Published August 17, 2021

One consequence of the pandemic has been an increase in employee turnover, especially in sales. Pat McGrew talks about how print businesses can cope with top sales talent exiting the company.

The Five Steps to Managing Pricing—Part 2

Published July 27, 2021

If you are struggling with setting prices or trying to decide when it’s time to change prices, Pat McGrew offers some starting points with this two-part series on five steps for managing pricing. This second part involves looking not just as the products you sell, but the services, too, and then reviewing and executing your pricing plan.

The Five Steps to Managing Pricing—Part 1

Published July 13, 2021

If you are struggling with setting prices or trying to decide when it’s time to change prices, Pat McGrew offers some starting points with this two-part series on five steps for managing pricing. This first part involves understanding your costs and your current pricing.

Know Your Privacy Laws

Published July 1, 2021

In the latest edition of the “Things That Are Legal that You Probably Need to Know” series, Pat McGrew talks to University of Colorado Professor Linda Fried about the recently passed Colorado privacy act—and similar acts in other states and potentially nationally—and what they mean for the printing industry and direct mail.

Let’s Do a Sales Team Tune-Up! Here’s Your Checklist!

Published June 8, 2021

Companies that have been in business for more than a few years usually have well-oiled sales machines, but mergers, acquisitions, changes in production capabilities, and market fluctuations could push the plan out of sync. That puts the business at risk. Sales needs to sell to the current capabilities and help set the strategy for future investments to support what customers are moving toward in their purchases. Contributor Pat McGrew identifies what items should be on your sales assessment checklist.

Court Ruling on Debt Collection Communications Puts Printing Companies on Notice

Published June 7, 2021

April came with more than showers for any PSP who prints for debt collectors. It also came with a ruling from the 11th Circuit Court that prohibits collection companies from using the services of PSPs to print and mail debt collection letters and related notices. If you are one of these PSPs, listen to this video with Pat McGrew and Dr. Linda Fried (University of Colorado Business School) before you have a conversation with your legal team. If you aren't printing collection letters, you still might want to listen. Linda tells us that this puts many other types of communication printed by service bureaus at risk!

Are You Buying the Wrong Software? Valuable Tips to Tell!

Published May 25, 2021

It is very possible that the software in your workflow is not the best fit for your business! Business workflow suites and production workflow suites can be found for every size and type of business and at every price point. You can even find freeware for some of your common tasks. But just because it looks good and meets your budget doesn’t mean it’s the software for you. Pat McGrew explains how and why.

How to Keep Your Customers with Software

Published May 17, 2021

As part of our preview of next week’s Technology Outlook Week, Pat McGrew looks at how your workflow infrastructure and the software that supports it can foster customer loyalty.

What’s Your Visibility Quotient?

Published May 11, 2021

Whether you are a printing company, a marketing services company, or a vendor who serves them with hardware or software, potential customers can only find you if they see you, and today it takes more than a Facebook page or website. The odds that your Instagram page or LinkedIn page will attract attention independently aren’t very great in today’s crowded market. You need a visibility plan. Pat McGrew explains what that is, and how to create one.

Three Capabilities You Should Be Selling!

Published April 27, 2021

In competitive industries like print there are so many options for a print buyer that you can find yourself undercut, even if you believe you have a good customer relationship. To differentiate your company and offerings, think about your people, your processes, and your technologies. What makes you different? What can you offer that would be hard for your competitors to mimic?

Three Things to Know About the Workflow Behind Variable Content

Published April 6, 2021

Variable content can add value, streamline supply chains, and create engaging customer experiences, but it takes some work. There is more complexity to the creative process, more steps to proof and approval, and more challenges in delivery. Contributor Pat McGrew looks at the current state of variable-data technology with an eye on where it’s going.  

Three Buyer and Seller Rules: Feedback Worth Sharing on Selling Your Software!

Published March 9, 2021

Pat McGrew responds to feedback she received from a recent article on selling software, shares some ill-fated buyer stories, and draws up  “three rules for software buyers” and “three rules for software sellers.”

So…You Want to Buy Some Software!

Published March 2, 2021

More and more printing companies are engaging with workflow automation solutions, which tend to bring better margins and often increase available capacity with current equipment. This is a path open to all companies—but walk carefully. In this feature, Pat McGrew explains how to evaluate your current software environment and what areas can offer the biggest returns.

So…Someone Wants to Buy Your Software

Published February 16, 2021

Selling software is not like selling hardware. Pat McGrew offers tips and suggestions for acquiring the skillset needed to successfully sell software solutions.

Are You Ready for Compliance?

Published February 2, 2021

Since the emergence of the original European Data Protection Act and the follow-on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), building a privacy protocol has been a topic in companies around the world. The codification of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), however, changed the trajectory of the conversation. It is far-reaching and touches all of us. Pat McGrew interviews University of Colorado Professor Linda Fried to provide background and guidance.

Pat McGrew Talks to Linda Fried About Compliance

Published February 2, 2021

Pat McGrew talks to University of Colorado Professor Linda Fried to provide background and guidance on the topic of compliance, or building privacy protocols following the original European Data Protection Act and the more recent California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Three Things to Start Doing in 2021

Published January 5, 2021

Pat McGrew offers her list of three recommendations for print businesses to start doing that will help them grow and thrive. The print business may continue on a roller coaster as we move through the first half of the year, but that makes it a great time to tune your workflows and ensure you are getting the most from each of your systems.

“Do You Want Fries with That?”—Consider Incremental Selling, Part 2

Published November 17, 2020

Take a look at the product mix you offer. What products can you pair up or also offer to increase your offerings to customers? In part 2 of a two-part feature, Pat McGrew helps you identify the “fries” you can offer customers.

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