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Selling Color: Go Behind the Scenes

15 Apr, 2005 By: Mike Beard imageSource

Selling Color: Go Behind the Scenes

Let’s face it, color MFPs are not the easiest sell. We all
know that color is going to play a big part in the future of the document
imaging industry, but sales representatives currently face a couple of issues:

1. Color MFPs typically are sold one at a time.

2. There remains some resistance from customers due to the
perception that color is just too expensive.In addition, color MFPs are
typically sold into front office applications and are relegated to general
office printing. In order to sell color aggressively, you need to find a
compelling reason for the customer to buy. This means you need to look beyond
the standard front office work a company performs. Ask questions and seek out
what they are doing behind the scenes that would justify color.

Here are three basic places to find these hidden applications
that will hopefully lead you to increased color sales.

1. Marketing Materials--Numerous corporate marketing
departments contract out to print-for-pay or commercial printers for jobs such
as mail merge applications or personalized post cards, which promote products
and services. There is often a lot of frustration concerning turn around times
and revision management.

The answers to these problems are relatively simple. You can
offer a potential customer a combination of PrintShop Mail (www.prinshopmail.com)
and a color MFP. This is something that would make their lives much easier and
likely get you a sale.

To set up this sale, here are some simple questions you can
ask a marketing manager:

Do you contract out color printing?

How is your experience with contracting out, from both a
pricing and ease of management perspective?

How easy is it to make changes to documents you contract out?

Would you like to be in control with your own creative tools
and color printers?

2. Invoices and Statements--Many customers are looking
at moving their transaction printing applications, such as invoicing and
statement printing, to cut sheet monochrome laser printers and MFPs. One
compelling reason for this change is the ability for companies to market
products and services based on the knowledge of their customers’ buying habits.
In this scenario, it is commonly understood that a promotional item, such as a
coupon, printed on a statement or invoice has more impact if printed in color.
The problem is that it is a lot more expensive to print in color.

One answer to this dilemma is offering potential clients
color MFPs bundled with a software application such as PlanetPress (www.objectiflune.com),
which is designed to enable transaction print streams to run on today’s MFPs.
Through this bundle, you can conditionally print the coupon in color and the
color-capable MFP can print the remainder of the document in black and white.
The customer gets the best of both worlds—low cost black and white and color
when promotional elements are printed.

So if you are selling a back office implementation replacing
legacy printers with modern MFPs, talk to the marketing manager as part of the
sales process and ask the following questions:

Have you considered promoting products and services to
existing customers based on your knowledge of what they are buying today?

Would you like to send targeted messages in color to your
most valuable customers?

Understanding that color printing is more expensive than
black and white; would you like the same printer to print both to maximize
impact and minimize cost?

Would you like to send targeted messages to only some
customers? With conditional printing, this is very possible.

In both of the above examples, you are adding value to
existing documents by turning them into vehicles to communicate to customers.
If, for example, a statement can generate business, the cost of printing that
statement becomes much less significant and the use of color becomes a clear
benefit to the customer, not just a cost.

3. Brochures and Forms--Clearly, it is much more fun
selling color MFPs in large groups than one by one. One way to do this is
through distributed color printing. The cost per page and quality of color MFPs
is now good enough to replace many print jobs done on offset presses, which are
typically used in print shops. No, these units will not replace offset presses,
but consider the following application:

A financial brokerage firm has, for example, 300 branch
locations with each location selling 20 financial products. Each product
requires a color brochure and color form to be filled out by hand by the
customer. These documents are usually printed on offset presses, distributed by
truck and managed at the branch level. A lot of time and energy goes into this
process, and changing the documents is a huge challenge.

Suppose you walk into a brokerage location, the agent calls
up your information, you ask for details on a specific product, and after a few
keystrokes, a color MFP prints the brochure and a pre-filled application form is
waiting for a signature. All the documents are printed on demand and the
customer experience is greatly improved. No more management of 20 forms and 20
brochures in 300 locations.

This is clearly a more complex application (which could be
accomplished with the color MFPs bundled with PlanetPress software), and it
would require the customer to change their systems, but the outcome would be a
significant improvement for the customer and a very large piece of color MFP
business. Anywhere you see a business process where the customer is being given
pre-printed forms to fill out along with a brochure, you may be looking at a
distributed color printing application for the future.

The value of documents produced in this way is clear.
Improving the customer experience and making it easier for them to sign up to
for a program adds significant value to the document. In addition, moving to an
on-demand printing system eliminates the possibility of running out of the wrong
brochures at the wrong time.

These, however, are just three examples of opportunities to
sell color behind the scenes. If you pay close attention, opportunities exist
around just about every corner.

Color Sales Opportunities

Here are some other vertical markets where color sales opportunities exist
beyond the usual front office applications:


• Marketing mailers

• Channel programs

• Personalized collateral

• Preprinted reply cards

• Preprinted order logs


• Employer/employee personalized communications

• Cross-product sales materials

• Personalized brokerage materials

• Personalized legal contracts


• Targeted offers

• Loyalty programs

• Custom posters

• New location announcements

• Customized shelf tags


• Custom course materials

• Alumni communications

• Personalized recruitment programs

• Training manuals

Graphic Arts

• Personalized brochures

• Numbered tickets

• Personalized certificates

• Business cards

• Catalogs


• Personalized memos

• Security print for sensitive information

• Preprinted voter registration cards

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