In a highly competitive environment, more than 600 Xerox Authorized Sales Agents across the United States face the challenge of marketing their small to midsized businesses with limited resources. And because Xerox product users hail from all types and sizes of business; sales agents prefer a variety of messages to reach them. They also want to be able to communicate easily and inexpensively. Agents’ sales goals range from motivating customers and/or prospects to renew leases, to trade up to more advanced products, to consider moving to digital color or to switch from non-Xerox products.

To help our agents out, we try to design unique materials for them to communicate with customers and prospects. Looking back at previous direct mail campaigns we’ve had, I found one related to our agents that was a series of self-directed mailings. It was used to satisfy the marketing needs of our sales agents, each with different customer bases:

Agent_Candy
Get the customer’s eye and you’re halfway home
We asked our design agency partner to develop a series of colorful, impactful and exciting large-format postcards that agents could customize. Each quarter, two postcards would be offered for their use—one aimed at customers and the other to non-customers.

Over a year’s time, offers could range from low-cost leases and significant price reductions to special trade-in deals and free software. Postcards were made available on a co-op web site where an agent had to just check a box to opt in to participate in the program. The agent then would choose the quantity and type of mailer to be sent and the Xerox centralized marketing team would mail to the target audience.

Minimal agent effort required
This approach was extremely beneficial for agents who lacked the time or resources to implement a campaign on their own.

The agent’s main responsibility, after making the initial choice to take advantage of the program, would be to follow up with customers and/or prospects who received postcards.

For many new agent owners, this program was a great way for them to get a campaign going while they focused on other business issues. It exposed agents to the benefits of direct marketing and prepared them for the next level of involvement in customer development.

The Results: Using the mail, working the phones and making it happen
During an 18-month period, Xerox sales agents ordered an average of 200,000 postcards for mailing in each quarter.

Tracking results for 600 independently owned agent businesses centrally was not possible; however, even the minimal Direct Marketing Association (DMA) average response rate of 2.5 percent would equate to more than 30,000 leads.

According to anecdotal feedback from agents, the mailings have indeed resulted in numerous substantive contacts, face-to-face meetings and sales; so I’d consider this campaign a success!