Print Management Blog
Thu, 12 Nov 2009
Survival of the Fittest
The print industry is evolving while the number of printers contracts. Competitive pressures are driving prices down.
Put bluntly, the working practices that made you money five years ago won't now. You used to need better production to compete. Now, every sales opportunity has to count, It's survival of the fittest.
This means minimizing quotes that go nowhere, your relationships with your customers are paramount and your overheads need to be minimized. Now you need a process for managing sales, not just production, because this will give you real advantage over your competitors and help you close more sales of a better quality. Businesses fail because they don't sell enough.
Business Builder for Print isn't an add on to an estimating system or a half thought out prospecting system bolted on to an older MIS package. It is a proven, web based CRM and business process management system, supported by sales and marketing professionals, which can stop "quote and hope" and put at your fingertips the information needed to close more sales. Of course you can rent it so you minimize any capital outlay. Of course it links to what you have, but it is a modular system and depends on what you actually need right now to drive more value from your sales activity.
Darwin said the strongest survive. Be the strongest and fittest. Contact Us for a no obligation chat about your sales processes and how a system may help.
Wed, 05 Aug 2009
It is glaringly obvious that business success is not about having the best production kit, but about having a process to manage sales.
More sales of a better quality drive profit, not better machinery.
Yet we still speak to businesses that think nothing of spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on production kit but baulk at systems for a fraction of the cost that will make more difference to their business than anything else they spend money on.
What do you think?
Mon, 20 Jul 2009
Most people accept that existing customers don't buy anywhere near as much as they could do from you. But selling more to existing customers is far less dificult than finding new ones in the current economical climate. The difficulty is knowing how to track and manage this opportunity.
We currently have three printers or print management companies turning over less than £5million, and, independently, each feel there is in excess of £200k of new business in their existing accounts.
Problem is, nobody wants to spend a penny more than they feel they have to at the moment, but businesses are still happy to splash out on an accounts package to tell them about yesterday, when you need to be looking to tomorrow and the future.
With a CRM system you can do this, 'Business Builder for Print' (tailored specifically to the Print Industry) gives you a return on investment in weeks not years, helping you see the gaps in your existing customer base, identifying key accounts and weaknesses and giving you a view of the big picture. Still want to splash out on an accounts package?
Think knowledge, think business builder for print.
Fri, 26 Jun 2009
It's a depression ridden, volatile and ugly financial climate. Heck, even President Barack Obama can't spare the cash for a pair of new shoes.
If you have the feeling that something isn't quite right with your process for closing sales.
- You are worried you must be missing opportunities in customers you already know
- You're stressed that you can't manage or prioritize hundreds of quotes a month (you may be in "Quote and Hope")
- You don't know early enough when key accounts are going to miss forecast until its too late
- You are getting angry at expensive salesmen that don't deliver or...
- You just feel your sales team needs help but don't know where to start
You can plug those holes. The solution to more business doesn't lie in better machinery.
For industry specific knowledge of how to fix these problems once and for all, contact us for nothing more than a confidential chat.
Wed, 18 Mar 2009
Apologies to all those honorable software vendors out there, but we have had a few instances lately where prospects have understood enough about CRM to think it would be good to join their new system to what they already have in other parts of their business, but have had a problem.
Although most suppliers are great and honest, the problem can come when you speak to the existing system supplier about what's involved to link them to a new system.
Some responses have been "It's expensive to link systems together", "it's complicated and takes a long time" or even "It simply can't be done".
Usually these are all wrong. The issues are actually as follows:
- You are a business owner not a software tekky, so you don't know when you are being fed a line.
- Some vendors have a vested interest in you not using technology that they haven't got yet, because they worry they will lose you for their system as well.
- They would rather push you to their part developed technology and use you as a test bed. Stories like "We have CRM (for example) coming soon and can do you a great deal" which stops you thinking about whether their CRM does what you need and starts you thinking that all CRM does the same job. It doesn't.
- They see an opportunity to charge you over the top for simple work so make it sound complicated.
The reality is that if your sales and marketing system is web based - not PC or network based linked to the web - 99% of the time linkage is cheap and easy because web based systems are designed to link to PC based systems. Of course languages like XML are better, but in reality your only question for your existing systems is "can we get data into Excel or import data from Excel".
At worst, virtually all systems still use an old fashioned file language called .csv. If you can get files into Excel you can get them to and from other systems. The people supporting your other systems might make a charge for writing an import routine, but it's normally a few hundred pounds tops.
Anyone suffered from this?
Fri, 06 Mar 2009
Like a shiny new car, or a delapidated old banger, you'd be surprised how much you are judged on your website. We all do it, who can honestly say that haven't checked out a few competing websites and thought, "hmmm, that looks better than mine", or (hopefuly) "thank god that's not ours"?
The value of a clean, attractive and informative website is paramount. They truly are worth their weight in cyber-gold. Not only is it a platform for which you can reach millions of people, but it is really the FIRST
will look at when they want to find about you or buy your products.
That's a pretty daunting thought. You could have all these people finding your site, and no one buying a thing.
So what do you really think about your website? Is it just another cost, an online catalogue to maintain.. OR is it an asset that produces leads and makes your processes more efficient?
In the current economic conditions the need to minimise your overheads and drive sales from both existing and new customers is higher than ever. Anything that does this has to be A Good Thing.
Incase you were wondering, and incase you didn't know, we might be able to help.
No guarantees, we don't know your business (yet), but if you feel you might be wasting money because your website is doing nothing for your business, speak to our in house technical and design team for a quote on a Search Engine Optimised website which links directly to your sales and marketing databases.
Fri, 27 Feb 2009
A comment to one of our previous blog entries mentioned the concept of developments as we 'become greener'..
Being 'green' is the thing to be at the moment isn't it. Driving hybrid cars, using renewable fuel sources, recycling anything and absolutely everything... and feeling good about it as we do it. Because that's what it's all about, right?
I frequently recycle whatever I can, and try to opt for the 'green energy' from my power suppliers, use energy saving lightbulbs, and turn things off at the plug at night.. and it's nice to think I'm doing my part for the planet in the long term. But for the here and now, the all important present, being green makes you feel good. You get to put your hands up when the worlds global warming crisis continues and say, "Hey it wasn't me, I walked to work and used energy efficient lightbulbs".. You get to silently judge people who don't recycle, who leave the light on or drive hundreds of miles in gas gussling 4x4s. Nothing beats washing your hands of responsibility and shouldering the blame on others, it's British, we are of a self-preservation society, afterall.
But before I get carried away, let's get back on topic, this is supposed to be a print management blog afterall...
...Businesses are encouraged to lower their carbon footprint in any way they can, (there's a handy list of ten simple things you can do to make your business more sustainable from the Ecopreneurist
) and you could even do that by upgrading to a web based system!
There's no waste from old computer parts that may need to be upgraded to encorporate a power consuming desktop system (new sticks of RAM, bigger hard drives, faster processors..)
There's less stress on your computer's processor as the machine itself is not running the system, which means less heat (which prolongs your equipments efficency life) and less power consumption.
But the beauty of a web based system is you can work from anywhere with access to the internet, so people can work from home to reduce car journeys and fuel emissions, demo's can be done online over a network to save journeys up and down the country and you can even access it via a PDA or smart phone to save turning a computer off and on!
Reduce that carbon footprint, be green with steam.
Fri, 20 Feb 2009
Several of our clients have made the interesting point that finding new customers in the current marketplace will be much more difficult than selling more to existing customers. They accept that most customers don't buy anything like everything they could do from you. The difficulty is tracking and managing this new work opportunity.
We currently have three printers or print management companies turning over less than £5million, and, independently, each feel there is in excess of £200k of new business in their existing accounts. Using a print specific CRM system properly can unlock this.
This is the real question: How much more profit will using "CRM" properly generate in your business?
Fri, 13 Feb 2009
Web based systems are hosted by the provider of the software, in layman's terms this simply means that there is never anything to install on any computer. It means that any PC with access to the internet will be able to use the software.
A lot of systems claim to be 'web based' or 'web enabled', but they only mean once their software is installed on PCs and Servers alike. This comes at a cost.
With a true web-based system there is no need to upgrade your existing PC. Upgrading an existing office network of PCs is something that is often ignored when people are budgeting for non web based (or sneakily named 'web enabled') software.
Since real web-based systems only require access to the internet they are cross platform compatible, so the system will be available on Windows, Linux, Mac OS or any other operating system. Web-based software is supported and maintained at the providers end and therefore less money is being spent on IT. With true web-based software there is no need for monotonous nightly backups, tedious reconfigurations and time-consuming updates, as all of this will be done for you.
All data will be real time. Meaning that everybody within your company, no matter where they are based, will be working on the same live database. Also customers and suppliers will have up-to-date information on everything that you choose for them to be able to see. This can mean inventory level views, the progress of current orders, and a view of all past orders available to them 24 hours a day all through secure portals.
Information is available all day every day, no matter where you are.
Even if you are on the move and access the system via a laptop or mobile phone all the data will be as up-to-date as the information that you would see if you were sitting at your desk in the office! Any changes that are made to the system anywhere will instantly be available to anybody accessing the database.
Security is another major benefit of web based software. Typically people working in any company will need to store or move data around, however by using systems that are based online these processes can be consolidated and therefore reducing the need to move or store data. With web based software data can be filtered so people only see what they need to see (or what you want them to!)
Fri, 06 Feb 2009
Well we've managed to brave the most snow this country has seen in almost two decades, and whilst those who can are out enjoying it, the rest of the country's roads and infrastructure seem to fall into the dark ages. Would it have been this bad if people could've just worked from home?
I have just read an article on the BBC Website
about the real cost to UK businesses due to the heavy snow fall this week. It is estimated that 20% of the UK's population did notmake it into work at some point this week. To quote Keith Tilley of SunGard "Employers need to do everything they can to allow staff to work from home"
Why is it that in this day and age, it is such an issue to manage remote workers?
Business Builder for Print is CRM and print management software that is 100% web based. That means there is nothing to install on your office file servers, on the client PC, and therefore any computer with access to the internet can be used to access the system. It's available anywhere, at anytime and its secure.
Is there a reason printers don't do this?
Fri, 30 Jan 2009
I attended the IPIA conference on "The Revolution of Sustainable, Profitable Printing" at the Ricoh Stadium Coventry yesterday. The conference was addressing the question of what it is that a modern printer needs to do to survive and grow in the current, difficult & competitive marketplace. This was attended by both printers and print management companies (PMC's) so a lively debate ensued.
It was glaringly obvious that business success is not about having the best production kit, but about having a process to manage sales. The speakers felt (and to be fair the audience seemed to agree) that in most cases the print business focus is NOT on Customers and profitable growth, and trying to compete on price is the way to bankruptcy. More sales of a better quality drive profit, not better machinery.
In many ways I felt reassured rather than dismayed. Businesses only fail because they don't sell enough. Full stop. We have been banging on for a couple of years about how more sales of a better quality will come from differentiating yourself and understanding your customers needs using decent CRM which leads to closer working relationships. Use web based technology this way to drive profits, and ROI on Business Builder is in weeks not months or years. And yet we still speak to businesses that think nothing of spending Hundreds of Thousands of Pounds on production kit but baulk at systems for a fraction of the cost that will make more difference to their business than anything else they spend money on. Perhaps because if you have 50 tons of metal in your factory it looks more valuable?
It's about a change to a customer centric approach to how you run your business. That has nothing to do with your production kit and everything to do with selling more.
What do you think?
Fri, 23 Jan 2009
Putting in either a new print admin or sales and marketing system for the first time seems like a cost you could do without at the moment. Which on the face of it, makes sense. But the fact is, staff cost more than technology.
So would generating sales and reducing overheads using better technology be a cost, or a saving?
With Business Builder 4 Print web based modular systems we don't care whether your issues are dead simple CRM or complete workflow systems, and nothing has to be installed on any site.
Fri, 16 Jan 2009
for link to the BPIF report on the market conditions for printers.
"SEASONAL CHEER IN SHORT SUPPLY - TRADE EXPECTED TO WORSEN"
This is why you should speak to us about a web based print management system for every or any aspect of getting everything you can out of your sales opportunities. Low cost, easy to implement, fastest ROI you'll ever invest in.
Fri, 09 Jan 2009
A new year begins and after the festivites of Christmas wear off, the issue of a recession rears its ugly head once more. If there's one thing we've noticed during the 'credit crunch', it's that companies in the print industry are definitely split into two camps:
Those who want to batton up the hatches, tighten the purse strings and wait it out, and those who want to invest in technology rather than people to improve the print management process (and reduce the wage bill!)
Which camp do you belong to?