Selling print to large enterprise accounts can be a very profitable and scalable strategy. An effective way of landing a major account is a strategy that’s called account-based marketing (ABM). An ABM strategy can help capture major accounts and transform a printing company’s profitability.
This marketing strategy requires the use of personalized campaigns to target individual buyer roles inside each target account. It’s highly customized and requires a lot of research, preparation, and effort. ABM is the total opposite of cookie-cutter marketing and it works.
But why create a complex strategy to go after large enterprise accounts if the print business is profitable with a diverse base of retail customers? It’s all about scale.
The exponential value of winning major accounts
Say a printing company has a thousand retail accounts that spend an average of $1,000 on print annually. That’s a million dollars of revenue per year. Suppose this same printing company can get just ten major accounts that each spends an average of $100,000 on print annually. That’s another million dollars (doubling the revenue) for transforming the profile of just one percent of the customer base to high-volume commercial major accounts.
Easier said than done, but this example illuminates the exponential value of winning major accounts that buy a lot of print. But you can’t market to these ten enterprise customers the way you market to the other thousand retail customers. If your print business sells to major corporate accounts, you know that you aren’t selling to one decision-maker, but rather to a buying committee.
Large-scale procurement of print is a complex endeavor for a brand. Even if you only have a single point of contact as the buyer, there are influencers, users, and deciders behind the scene affecting the decision. Each buying committee member has his/her own perspective (economic, technical, and personal motivations).
Because every target account is different, you can’t try to replicate the same marketing strategy. So you must research, ask questions about, and hypothesize who the buying influencers are on each team. Then develop and map the personas (roles, titles, people) of each member of the committee, trying to understand their views and motivations.
Suppose you are competing with others in an opportunity for a $100,000 print contract with an enterprise account. What buying factors motivate the decision of the procurement manager? Is it more about securing the lowest price or building a close relationship with the print supplier? What about the CMO or marketing manager? Is he more motivated to align the print project with his campaign objectives and brand values or with getting the lowest price from the supplier?
There is no universal formula for winning. Each account and each persona are unique. Understanding your customer personas will help you prepare and present the right relevant information to them. You may be able to anticipate their concerns and provide them with the right reasons to believe (factual information and proof points) when they need them.
Creating customer personas and adapting strategies to each helps your sales team and marketing team create custom messaging to address each influencer at each stage of their own customer journey. It’s work, but worth the effort.
Read all of David’s posts here.
is the founder and CEO of Nvent Marketing, a marketing agency specializing in digital marketing for the print industry. David has 30+ years of experience in the graphics and document print production industry. He has served as a board member and advisor to print organizations and associations including Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP), Print Industries of America (PIA), Association for Print Technologies (APTECH), and Electronic Document Scholarship Foundation (EDSF). David was also awarded the Idealliance Soderstrom Society Award for Print Industry Leadership. David can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.