A survey conducted by marketing firm The Spitfire Group has found that many executives in B2B operations, such as print, do not have a good grasp of how they help clients make money. The survey conducted in January asked B2B companies whether they have measures in place to track how much money they made for clients, but only 26 per cent of respondents reported they did. Simon Lane, former Fuji Xerox marketing director, and now Spitfire Group director, says this consideration is particularly important for industries experiencing disruption, such as commercial printing.
Study: printers do not have a good grasp of how they help clients make money
He explains, “From my time in the printing industry, I know the key concerns are commoditisation and price erosion, and printers find it increasingly hard to differentiate based on traditional virtues such as quality. “If a printer is able to drill down into all of the ways they can help clients be successful, then they can identify differentiation from competitors. All printers possess different skills, but they may not bring them to the fore, so then they are just left competing with others based on price.” Lane was surprised to learn that 63 per cent of respondents believe they can make their clients’ money in the future. He describes this as inconsistent, explaining that companies will find it difficult to improve in the future if they are not measuring their value to clients at present. He says, “It suggests that executives are relying on opinion rather than translating their value propositions into financial metrics their clients understand.” Lane says commercial printers looking to track their value to clients need only do this by employing a consistent process of communication with clients, which can be recorded on a spreadsheet database. He suggests when visiting clients, printers should ask two questions, “Is what we are doing adding value to you today? What can I do to add value to you tomorrow?” Some other key findings of the study include: 75 per cent of respondents say their sales teams can describe their value propositions to customers, yet only 42 per cent believe their customers understand it. Also 86 per cent of respondents believe a stronger value proposition would help win more business, but 41 per cent of sales executives do not consult with customers to understand what provides value for them.
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