You get what you give. The most successful technology – printer relationships I’ve seen in this industry are mutually beneficial and both parties give. Even though you’re paying the vendor, a real partnership means you give back to get the extra care and attention you want.
Perspective is a powerful thing, frequently we get too close to a challenge and are limited by our limited focus. Back up, resist the temptation to dig deeper and bring some space between you and the challenge – alternatives will reveal themselves.
There is still too much web to print carnage (wrong solution placement) due to several factors: the sales channels, the sales resources, the vendors, and finally printers who start shopping for solutions before they have nailed down their online strategy.
Moving your business online is an evolutionary process, the best starting point is to be very honest about where you are today and then get crystal clear on where you’d like to go!
Maybe the first step towards selling solutions is to move from selling print to selling “print programs”. Web enabled technology can be a great sales tool because it takes you out of selling print and into selling a program that solves time/money challenges for your customers.
The team you need to execute an online strategy might be the team you have – don’t underestimate what people will do given the right combination of inspiration and encouragement. Everyone has to step up to a steep learning curve, the sooner you do it the sooner your people will follow suit.
Once you’ve defined your online strategy, its time to take an honest look at what you are doing today on the web. Don’t be afraid to walk away from past technology decisions, once you’re clear on the strategy make sure you have the technology platform that can support it.
Answer this somewhat obvious question, “what print products (in customer’s terms) do you want to sell online?” The answer will greatly impact your strategy, your selection of a vendor, and your focus – which is a key attribute to online business success.