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One way to achieve dramatic growth

Dec 1, 2009 12:00 AM

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In 2008, Michigan State University (MSU) Printing Services looked at revenues by product category and determined it could do better. MSU wanted to identify customers who bought different services, how aware these customers were that they offered the service, where they currently fulfilled the printing service, and why they bought from their current supplier. All are important questions if your goal is to increase client share and focus your sales and marketing efforts.

In late 2008, MSU teamed up with Survey Advantage and NAPL's Professional Consultant Group to engage its customers and learn what they could do to earn more of their business in 2009. The survey identified several growth areas, and one of the biggest opportunities was large-format printing. Fifty-eight percent of its customer base knew MSU offered the service, and most revealed they would be willing to give MSU an opportunity. More than 600 customers shared opinions and buying habits, giving MSU plenty of sales leads to pursue.

In the first six months of 2009, MSU Printing Services sold more large-format printing than during the entire previous year. Manager Dennis Seybert attributes this growth to targeting specific customers who were unaware MSU offered large format, were buying it elsewhere, and were willing to consider MSU for the service.

  • Don't assume you have the lion's share of the business with your customer base. Ask and they will tell you.
  • Customers will share their future buying needs if they are loyal and see you as a valued partner.
  • Surveying can only go so far. Yes, it builds awareness, but engaging your sales and marketing teams to run with the information will ensure success.

Good luck moving forward, and weigh your options carefully as you plan for 2010.

Michael Casey is president and founder of Survey Advantage ( He is a strategic partner with NAPL supporting its consulting and research practices, he integrates project surveying with MIS systems and he is an approved supplier for several franchise networks.