December – People in Print
We have a strong print heritage, and a large part of that heritage is the people who work within the company. It’s no surprise, then, that a major proportion of our employees have clocked up years of experience and expertise within the print industry. Like a well oiled machine, our people come together to collaborate and strive to deliver excellent results, putting the customer at the heart of everything we do.
We spoke to Michelle Charlton, Business Development Executive, about her time spent in the industry so far.
What is your role and background in the industry?
I have worked in the newspaper industry for 35 years. I have had various roles: starting my career on reception, progressing into telephone sales, sales representative, agency executive, manager of sales teams, and then moving into the Business Development Executive role, where I have the opportunity to work with contract print clients, using the knowledge I have acquired through the years.
We understand you were amongst the first Business Development Executives that Reach Printing Services appointed. What attracted you to the role?
Being in it from the very start made the opportunity even more exciting to me. If I succeeded, then I knew we would grow and have other team members doing the same role as me in other areas. I had no sales figures to follow and achieve, but that meant I had to find business to justify my role. In the early days, I had no incoming emails – a novelty to me! – so I had to cold call and canvas new business, whilst learning the print side of the business. I was able to start everything from scratch, which was daunting but provided an opportunity for me to excel, ensuring I spoke to anyone and everyone in the business to find the information I needed. This approach meant I could comprehensively assist our potential clients, and has probably been one of the most memorable and exciting aspects of my career. I love every part of the learning process and the execution.
How has the role developed since first being established?
We have developed our commercial opportunities so we are more competitive in the market.
- Compact Magazine
- Maxi Magazine
- Half Berliners
- Attaching Glossy Covers, and working with heatset printers too
When I first started, these great options were not available. We have since developed our online presence, and we’ve worked extremely hard on our marketing communication, which is vital to our continued success. We also have a very comprehensive customer management system, which logs all our clients’ activities and makes my role more efficient. I am able to personally develop alongside the business; adjust to changes in clients’ requirements, and make the most of our commercial opportunities. Within Reach, I am lucky to say we have numerous online individual training and development programmes, and the company gives us the time we need to do them.
Describe to us what a typical day looks like for you
There is no ‘typical day’ (which I love)! I start early, so I can answer any emails sent through the night. This always happens, as there is no rest for the presses and papers being printed. I receive production reports, showing me when my clients sent their pages; when the presses started to print, and when they finished. This data is highlighted, so I can immediately see problematic areas to discuss with clients or the print site(s). I speak with clients, I provide quotes to clients, send samples, assist with environmental material and any other information that is important to our customers’ businesses. I book print slots with the sites, and book deliveries in for clients as and when required. I also request quotes for distribution from our team of experts to offer an even wider service. I work with our IT team when clients start to print with us, and continue to liaise with them as the print develops.
I am sure I could make this list even longer, but the short version is: I work with our clients to make their experience seamless – from the booking of print, to the delivery of their product to their required destination, be that via subscription or bulk delivery.
What do you consider to be the most important factors when choosing a print provider?
- Customer service, understanding your customers’ requirements and meeting them
- Competitively priced
- Commercial opportunities/growth and offering solutions
How would you best describe print, and what are your thoughts on the value of print?
- Print is a tangible experience, which you can carry around with you
- It is relevant and informative
- It is alive and kicking in communities, universities, politics, religion, and every other walk of life
- It is environmentally friendly
- The value of print is invaluable; it is stimulative, provoking, engaging and emotional