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The Soap Box

Solutions, connections and…

Genevieve Lewis listens to print’s most influential trade associations and bodies as they consider key industry challenges and the steps print companies can take to secure a successful future

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BAPC consultant Tony Kenton says that solutions need to be sold not just basic print

Selling solutions

Tony Kenton,
BAPC consultant
and director of It Has To Be Brilliant

Even though this has been a reoccurring headline for more than two decades, it is still a subject that many find difficult to take on board. The reason being that solution selling is not just a way to sell print, it’s a way to sell a solution, that print may (or may not be) part of the mix.

Print companies that have made the transition from selling products and print jobs to selling solutions, have generally only been successful when their sales techniques have evolved to match this different perspective.

Having said all this, if you have hungry monsters to feed (and I’m not talking about the family, I mean the presses, rents, wages etc.) then I completely understand the need to keep the presses running. The point still does not change, and the ultimate value of a print solution is not the printed product itself but the actionable results that come from the print.

The ultimate value of a print solution is not the printed product itself but the actionable results that come from the print

If you can get this right and identify how you can help your clients grow and achieve their specific business goals, then you are well on the way to succeeding yourself.

Here are a few thoughts about making those sales process changes and if you follow these guidelines, the chances are your sales performance will improve.

Start before the sales call

Before you begin calling on existing or potential customers, answer these questions:

Why do customers buy from you?

•    What skills or business practices differentiate you from competitors?
•    What case studies or testimonials can you use to show this uniqueness?

What value and business results can you deliver to your clients?

•    This can go beyond saving them money.
•    How are you going to articulate how your services impact their business?

Which potential clients on your list appear to have clear business goals and a desire to change?

•    Companies satisfied with past performance are likely to continue the practices that generated those results. Be aware, their only objective is doing the same at a lower cost. Growing or evolving organisations are much better matches for offering print-based business solutions.

Why did your company win past business, and what caused you to lose some?

•    Effective sales teams have perfected processes that track and measure their effectiveness.

Which accounts are worthy of the extra time and effort required to sell them a solution?

•    Solution selling is generally a long process involving several people on both sides of the transaction. Be sure clients will give you the time to access the people and information necessary to craft an effective solution for them.

To read Tony Kenton’s full article, head to printmonthly.co.uk and search for ‘Kenton’.

Into the future

Charles Jarrold,
chief executive,

The print industry has its first new Print Standard for Apprenticeships. This process, which began in March 2015 has resulted in the Print Technician Standard Level 3 programme receiving full and final approval from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE). This department given the responsibility for development, approval and review of all new Trailblazer standards by government.

This is great news, after what has been a protracted process. Print has a long history of support for apprenticeships and it is great to see that through the collaboration of our industry these standards have been futureproofed. The Apprenticeship Trailblazer is a vital tool for the industry, providing a clear standard for performance and progression. With this approval, Training Providers will now be able to develop the training programmes required to support this new standard. Assessment organisations will now need to seek approval to get onto the governments Register of Approved End Assessment Organisations for this standard.

Print has a long history of support for apprenticeships

With input from the industry, the standard was first defined, and secured agreement for the standard itself as a core of print technician, with the specialist options of pre-press technician, press technician and post-press technician. This approval was secured early in 2018. The last year has seen work undertaken on developing the assessment plan to support this new standard. With the support of the BPIF and the consortium, input from training providers and awarding bodies the assessment plan has now been approved by IfATE and also by Ofqual, as the external quality assurance body, along with allocation of the funding band.

I especially want to thank all consortium members, in particular James Buffoni who holds the role of chair, for all the time they have committed to ensure the new standard is designed by the industry, and Ursula Daly, programme director BPIF, who’s been absolutely tireless in getting this over the line to such a high standard despite changing government parameters. A thank you also to the industry for their support and providing us with the evidence when the government stopped listening. However it is worth noting that this is only the first step, progress now needs to be made on our application for a Level 2 Trailblazer and I would welcome any feedback from the industry on how they currently use Level 2. Government have stated that all frameworks will be withdrawn by the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

We connect like minded people across the print industry to strengthen the long-term health of the sector

The consortium has been led by the chair James Buffoni of Ryedale Group, vice chair Ian Wilton of CDS and is made up of representatives from BCQ Group, BPIF, CDi, CDS, De La Rue, GQA, Learn2Print, Leeds City College, PageBros, Reach Plc, Ryedale Group, The Printing Charity, Unite the Union and Westrock – MPS, with the BPIF providing extensive organisation and administrative support throughout this project.

At full charge

Brendan Perring,
general manager,

With the UK print industry continuing to go through a sustained period of rapid structural change – characterised by both growth and consolidation in different sectors – the IPIA is reporting that 2019 is seeing a growing trend of strong membership engagement across its initiatives and events.

“The signs are very good for the print industry in the UK. Despite the political backdrop over the last two years, we are seeing amazing positivity and levels of engagement on the ground,” explains Mike Roberts, Chairman of the IPIA Council and Managing Director of PMG.

The IPIA will hold the EPIC conference in July

He continues: “Whether it is our conferences, networking lunches, our publications, or usage of our business and marketing services, we are seeing great attendance and engagement.

“In particular our EPIC conference on July 3rd has seen a groundswell of support from the print industry due to its core goal of educating major print buyers from across the UK about the technical capabilities and strength of print as a channel to market—especially when it is used as part of a full integrated communications strategy.”

Delegates to EPIC will also hear from world leading marketeers, who will help them revaluate their own business strategy, as well as giving them insight into how they can solve their customers challenges more effectively.

Marian Stefani, IPIA CEO explains what has underpinned the success of the EPIC campaign to date: “The IPIA is so energised to be working hand in hand with members, industry bodies, and the trade media to reach out and drive an initiative that is based on collaboration for the greater good of all those involved in it.

 “We urge the industry to investigate EPIC and come along if possible – June 3rd at Congress, London – so they can be inspired to solve some of the fundamental challenges facing our sector, network with print buyers and their peers, hear from disruptive thinkers on how to provide added value for their customers, and come away energised to create positive change in the businesses.”

Having recently undergone a full rebrand and evaluation of its core purpose, the IPIA is now guided by its ‘Connect, Inspire, Amaze’ mission statement.

To find our more about the issues discussed in this articles please contact the relevant organisation via their website: www.bapc.co.uk, www.britishprint.com, www.ipia.org.uk

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