In this series our CEO, Gord Griffiths, reflects on lessons learned throughout his years in the printing industry.

I believe a good way to build the revenue line is with organic sales and not necessarily through acquisition and I’ll tell you why. Although it is not usually as fast as buying the sales, it is less risky, the work is a better total fit, and less expensive.

The first company I worked for did not purchase one acquisition but they were one of Canada’s largest. The presses in down time were used to print well received and useful self-promotional products. We had to drop them off in person, which usually led to a conversation you didn’t have when you stopped in to pick up a proof.

Later in my career, I was with a company that did a company wall planning calendar and customers were asking for next years’ copy before we went to press. With wall calendars, you have your name on the customers’ wall for a year.  Simple example of a total company effort on getting your name out there and forcing the sales person to show up. That old expression “If you are not telling you are not selling” comes to mind.

COVID-19 made it easier to meet remotely. In spite of the travel time savings I don’t think you can beat a well-planned personal meeting. Print salespeople that don’t show up will see the buyer putting even the more complicated jobs though a portal.

This first company was also very sales driven. Manufacturing often said, “You get the job, we’ll find a way to get it out.” It sure beats an automatic “No”, or “I don’t think we can get a shift for the weekend.” So much easier to build sales when everyone understands it’s the power that drives the enterprise.

The most impressive practice of this company, and the reason why I joined, was a 2-year program on how to be a print sales representative. I learned more about printing, and not so much about selling, but I can tell you when you hit the road you sure knew the type of work the plant was best equipped to produce. Over the long haul, I still believe this is better than hiring your competitor’s best performer.

Our 2-year education was spending time in each department, with extra time in estimating plus a week at a paper mill. The investment was realized 90% of the time, as people stayed with this growing company with a “Can Do” culture, staffed with homegrown people. Winning formula.

By Gord Griffiths