Written by Bill Michael
eMarketing Manager, Xerox Corporation

Direct marketing provides enormous opportunities and potential for profitability, but there are challenges and considerations to take into account. We recently discussed ways to successfully implement direct marketing services for your customers, emphasizing the importance of data and the need to understand the way your customer’s end-users think.

Another critical aspect of venturing into direct marketing is having a sales team in place capable of selling these services.

Sales Team working with Client

During our Direct Marketing Thought Leadership Workshop, Katie Dunn, President and Founder of Digital Innovations Group, emphasized that becoming a strategic partner for your clients means more than just adding services and offerings. According to Katie, successfully selling direct marketing services is dependent upon 7 steps.

1. Understand the Market
Consumers of today receive information through many channels, including print, mail, email, social media, the web and mobile. Consumers are always on. It comes down to identifying which channel and how to get the right message in front of the right person at the right time. Easy stuff, right?

2. Understand what Prospects Need
It’s clear that targeted communications can help your customers of tomorrow better reach their end-users and drive revenue. So what do these prospects need in order to be swayed to your services? Like any organization, they need results! They need to know what your company can do for them. Results come in many forms, including increased market share, enhanced profitability, and capitalizing on new opportunities and markets.

In their book What Sticks, Rex Briggs and Greg Stuart note that “19% of marketing fails outright and 67% could achieve significant improvement that would require no additional spending.” So what needs to change? This is where your team can jump in. Significant results can be driven through messaging, the marketing mix and existence of supporting qualification processes.

3. Build a Plan
A clear business plan should help lead your sales staff by include goals, metrics, measurement criteria and processes. It should bring to life the services your company has to offer. These expectations and organization will help drive the sales team.

4. Use the Right Sales Process
Today’s purchasing decisions are more complicated than ever before. In the past 5 years, the average sales cycle has grown 22% longer and involves a greater number of decision makers than ever before. Today’s customers put significant value on a salesperson who makes them think outside the box, brings new ideas to the table, and finds creative and innovative ways to help their business.

5. Call the Right People
Your sales team should be reaching out to senior decision makers. These are the big idea people – not the folks actually executing the ideas. These individuals lead organizations, have demanding schedules and want results. Knowing what gets their attention is critical to the success of your sales team.

Senior decision makers crave information that they can’t get anywhere else such as trends, statistics and best practices. Having a deep understanding of their company, their competitors and the marketplace is critical to capturing their attention. Bringing innovative ideas and proposals to the table that can help their company become more competitive will surely have them listening with anticipation.

6. Say the Right things
A sales team trained to say the right things can really bring everything together. Relevancy is paramount. Quantitative results of a real-life example in a comparable industry can speak volumes (even if the success was a result of work done by a company other than your own). A good template to follow when reaching out to a potential prospect is to acknowledge an industry-specific pain-point (for example – gaining donor participation for non-profits), showcasing how a direct marketing campaign drove results (quantitative is always better), and inviting the prospect to learn more about how your company can help this prospect through your services.

7. Provide the Right Support
Finally, equipping your sales team with the necessary support will dictate their level of success. You can help by offering information on vertical markets and horizontal offerings, defining value propositions, as well as the availability of presentations with talking points. Regular best practice sharing and coaching sessions can also help improve the effectiveness of your sales team.

Do you have a better understanding of where the opportunities lay with respect to direct marketing services and your sales team? Did this create some thought-starters for you to start implementing today?

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Katie Dunn is a Business Development and Sales Coach for Digital Innovations Group. For inquiries on how to start selling direct marketing services today, she can be contacted: Katie.dunn@digcreative.com, Twitter: @digkatedunn, or via LinkedIn