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Print media sales teams are facing a perception problem right now. They want to be known as full-service marketing providers, but most local SMBs still see them as print-only providers. But with print sales teams having no drive to sell digital products, is it an issue of public perception? Or an issue of internal buy-in?

Right now most print sales teams have a hard time selling digital. They find it overwhelming, have a genuine concern that digital will lose them clients, or they have no interest to learn something new. If the print industry wants to be viewed as a multi-platform marketing provider this internal struggle has to change.

It’s your salespeople who have the greatest power to shift this perception so they need to be evangelists for the new story.

Congratulations! You are now in need of a pivot, and that is a good thing.

What is a Pivot?

A pivot is the introduction of a new strategy when the current strategy has reached it’s peak and plateaued. Keeping the foundation of what makes you so great—in your case, your local brand power.
“Pivoting is a great way to bring new life to the business. All businesses must evolve if they want to stay current with their audience and competitive within their industry. Becoming stagnant or irrelevant is one of the worst things that could happen to a company, and one of the best ways to avoid this is through the strategic use of pivoting.” — Zach Cutler, 5 Reasons Why Pivots Are Crucial to Today's Businesses
A great pivot takes strong communication, buy-in from all parties involved, and complete focus with no looking back.

Not Everything New is Bad

The idea of starting a new journey can create uncertainty in you and your team, but don’t let it.  

As Alan Spoon wrote in What ‘Pivot’ Really Means, it’s not always a sign of doom to pivot.
“Pivoting doesn’t necessarily mean desperation. It can be a tool to discover additional growth — growth you might otherwise have overlooked.Businesses can grow beyond their initial dreams by re-imagining their assets and talents, thinking more broadly about the customer problems they solve, and accessing growth capital to seize the new high ground.”

Your pivot should bring excitement. You’re laying the foundation for new money, shifting the perception, and injecting new life into your brand.

Collaboration is Key

Collaboration while in a pivot is a great way to move your print ad sales team towards becoming digital brand evangelists. Incorporate your whole team in the planning, training, and execution strategy of a pivot.

This helps solve two problems: 1. Everyone is more informed and on the same page, 2. They are more likely to help you get behind the pivot. 

Don’t Forget the Execution!

I’ve seen this happen a lot. A company recognizes they need to pivot. They create a strong strategy together and even collaborate within their team. But when they go to launch, something changes. Is it a fear of failure? Does the uncertainty of unfamiliar waters cause concern?

The answer is they don’t believe they can execute.

It doesn't matter how many meetings you sit through, how many logos you create, or how many fancy new titles you think of. Without execution, your pivot will fail.

Your entire team has to change their attitude towards execution. They have to be hungry…on fire…LIONS ready to hunt. Going out and coming back without a new digital sale should not be an option.  

Commitment, Collaboration, Execution

Bottom line: your pivot deserves a combination of commitment, collaboration, and execution. With those three things working in tandem, you’re setting yourself up for success.

But get those three things wrong, and you’ll struggle to fix your perception problem.



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