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What's Vital to Printing Business Performance? Planning!

Source: Dr. Ralph Williams, Middle Tennessee State University, September 14, 2022


In multiple studies, we have found that planning is vital to a printing company’s performance. However, a deeper dive into the April 2022 PIPI (Printing Industry Performance and Insights) data caught our attention. That data analysis strongly reinforced the importance of planning in printing firms. Interestingly, our process started by exploring effective sales management. Here’s the story.

We started by looking to see if printing firms that applied effective sales management were high performers. Effective sales management includes the following:

  • Monitoring each salesperson’s professional development through activities like making calls with them or requesting and reviewing call reports.
  • Developing salespeople through activities such as applying various training approaches and setting individual performance goals.
  • Evaluating each salesperson’s performance in revenue and profit generated but also non-financial metrics, such as the number of prospects identified, percentage of wins, new customers landed, and others.
  • Rewarding each salesperson based on revenue/profit generation and meeting non-financial performance goals.

We expected to find a solid and very strong statistical relationship between applying effective sales management and firm performance. Doesn’t it make sense that if firm leaders diligently manage their sales team, their firm will perform well?

But did we find a strong relationship between effective sales management and firm performance? NOPE! Indeed, we were pretty shocked by the weak relationship between effective sales management and firm performance from our April PIPI data. So, we unpacked our shovels and started digging into the data again, and here’s what we found.

We next explored how printing firm leaders engage in strategic and marketing planning. Planning includes identifying targeted customer groups and the specific value they deliver customers, developing a marketing plan with clear objectives, and continuously analyzing the business environment and competitors.

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Make sure to attend our ENCORE Leadership Conference to see Dr. Ralph Williams, Associate Professor of Management at Jones College of Business discuss the best management activities that produce the best return for you printing company. 

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