So you’re in the same pickle as every other regional PSP that has worked hard to build value-add only to see your once loyal clients put major jobs out to bid. Your estimating workload has now doubled just to maintain the same volume (or perhaps less volume). Sales staff pushes management to cut costs and lower margins. They’re scared to death of losing clients and their livelihood. You need to keep your cylinders moving and you cave to prevent cash flow issues and retain staff. You are in the top 85% of all PSPs in the country. Welcome to the “Race to the Bottom” that is contributing to the shuttering of 4.3 printers per day here in the US. What must you do?
Let’s start with sales. Like nearly all other PSPs, you work on a draw vs. commission only basis. Your current sales staff is long-in-the-tooth and not going anywhere. They don’t make near as much as they used to, but starting over is out of the question. Trying to find sales talent out there is fraught with retreads, liars and losers. Brokers are out of the question as they wrote the definition for “disloyal”. It’s all about price for them and you’ll only get more downward pressure as their margin grows while they drive PSPs out of business. You’ve attempted to inform and educate on programmatic strategies and W2P to no avail. As written in previous posts, there is no incentive to sell small ticket, low quantity digital services for a traditional sales team. What is missing?
Moving your sales staff in the right direction is like entering a pig in a horse race. It’ll never work. Stop trying! You must look outside and realize that it’s not regional sales that you are seeking. You need nationally focused people/partners who have CXO relationships. As written in Part 1 of this series, everything hinges on finding the right type of customer first, not building a platform and then finding the customer. So the picture looks like this:
- Your sales staff is not fit for W2P
- Your client base is regional and not national
- Building W2P before you land clients is fruitless
If this is you, you have two options:
- Option 1: As owner of your enterprise, assuming you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll have to pursue this on your own and expect to get little to no help from anyone inside your organization. You’ll have to find the people/partners who can bring you the customers, assure them you have what it takes to execute and then build systems to accommodate the customers that come to the table. Not a pretty option.
- Option 2: Find people who speak this language and partner with them. Option 1 inherits the cart-before-the-horse scenario. Even if you were to locate the right partner/salespeople, what would you demonstrate to the prospective customer? They want proof you can pull it off and proof you are already doing it!
Remember that this is not going to go away. You can’t play the ostrich routine until the storm passes. Your business is no longer applicable to the ever changing and disruptive demands of the marketplace. It’s shrinking and it’s not coming back. Option 2 is the most feasible option for nearly everyone who reads this post. Having to keep your current business running and operating at a profit is a full time job.
What do you look for in a partner? Watch for the next post in the series.