One Printer’s Method to Successfully Grow Business with Marketing Portals

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by Greg Cholmondeley, Workflow Practice Director, Caslon & Company

Walter_Payne_116The other day I had an interview with Walter Payne, who is the CEO of ImageMark Business Services, Inc. What a fascinating conversation! As you can imagine, I’ve spoken to dozens of people from print and marketing services providers who’ve installed web portals and, usually, they’re happy with them but are often struggling to get them to drive significant volumes. Compare that to ImageMark which has MarcomCentral portals up and running at over forty-four stores with over six-thousand active users who submit four hundred to a thousand jobs a day! I had to ask what his secrets were:

WP: I’m not sure that I’d call them secrets, but with our MarcomCentral solution we’ve branded ResourceONE™ for ImageMark, we focus on three key areas: client education, client relationships and problem solving.

GC: OK, let’s start with client education. What are you trying to teach your clients?

WP: Well, there are two parts to that: Presale and ongoing education. Our clients understand that we print and what that means to them, however most of them don’t understand what else is available and how it can be leveraged to grow their business. At some point during our conversations we need to educate them on what’s possible and what we can do for them to impact their business. Then, once the system is running, we find we need to continue to educate them on how their organization is using our services. We provide annual reviews for key clients which cover their usage by year and how it’s grown. We discuss how many users and orders they have both in terms of monthly averages and year-over-year comparison. We can discuss the average size per order and the average number of their pallets in our warehouse by year. We use Google analytics to show them the average length of time sales people spend on ResourceONE. And, of course, we brainstorm ideas on how to make it more impactful in the coming year.

GC: That makes sense. What about client relationships?

WP: That’s simple. These types of services cannot be sold with a project mentality. The only way you can succeed is to have a long-term client relationship perspective where both you and your client are working together to solve their business problems.

GC: Which is where problem solving comes in.

WP: Exactly. We don’t go into an account trying to sell print or even to sell our ResourceONE services. Instead, we go in with the intent to understand the issues they’re facing and to work together to figure out ways to solve them. For example, major corporations often focus on efficiency and it is incredible how much time their staff spends ordering on a global basis. If that is identified as a key issue, then we can build a solution with ResourceONE to address it. That’s just one example, though. Each client is different.

GC: But closing a sale is one thing; how do you get people to actually use it?

WP: Oh, that’s a longer discussion. But at a high level, you have to make it easy, like using Amazon, which everyone knows how to use today. Also, the onboarding process needs to be thorough and understandable with a means for new people to have a jump off place to get help if they get stuck. ResourceONE, for example, is really simple to use and it has a place with a short PowerPoint presentation where users can usually figure it out themselves. The other thing we’ve found is that the system is so streamlined on our end that our orders are accurate and delivered on time more than 99 percent of the time. Once people start trusting their orders will really arrive correct and on time, they become reliant upon the system. They only order what they need, but they order much more frequently. It just becomes part of how they do their jobs. I’ll get into more detail during the webinar.

GC: And that sounds like a good place to close. I will be hosting a webinar called A Different Spin on Selling Print from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm Eastern on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 where Walter will share his experiences and answer your questions. It’s free, but the audience size is limited, so you need to register in advance.

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