An article by John Giles in Quick Printing caught my attention yesterday. John is an advocate of workflow automation. Here is some of what John wrote.
If you plan to be in the printing business for a few more years, you need to embrace automated technology. You need to have a computerized estimating system. You need to be using the business management tools built into the programs. You need to be thinking about what tasks you can automate. The margins are getting narrower for many quick printers. Automation may put the profits back in the printing business.
Putting the Cart Before the Horse
John writes about the typical path in business and a romance with production. I ask you, why do so many printers and business people focus on production automation when Sales Automation is just as important? I just don’t understand this romance with machinery.
Please understand, I’m not disagreeing with John, I’m only suggesting that sales should be in the front of the cart, not in the back. A sale drives the business. Doesn’t it make sense to invest in improving sales through automation and workflow? Sure it does. This is truly putting the horse in front of the cart, not the other way around. At a recent printing exhibition, I displayed my sales automation workflow. Those who took the time to investigate my sales automation system realized how important the sales process is.
When we are selling to our customers, it is important to uncover the pain of the customer. Sometimes the customer doesn’t want to recognize they have a problem. Sometimes the customer is willing to ignore the problem they have. Our job is to help them realize that unless they change, disaster may hit them harder than they want.
Make Sales Easy with Simplification and Visualization
When I show my sales workflow chart to customers, one of the reactions I get is how complicated the sales workflow chart looks. I prefer this reaction because it is easy to explain. Once I tell them the sales actions are automatically processed with the push of a button, they understand. They get excited when they realize that about 80 percent of the sales actions are automatic! It is the visualization that helps my prospects realize how sales automation and workflow can be effective.
Relating this simplification to activities and increased sales potential makes my job easier. I’m always trying to find the visual example for simplification. Our prospects can relate to visual examples and stories when we share them. In my case, I often share a story of one very satisfied client who uses workflow and sales automation to perform what took him four hours of selling, in 30 minutes. This same client manages almost 10 times more clients than he did before. This story and others strengthen my credibility and simplify my sales solution.
Steve Martinez is a Sales Management Growth Strategist and Founder of Selling Magic. Ask for a “Sales Analysis" and subscribe to his ezine to Increase sales with the best practices of sales management at http://www.sellingmagic.com