Reprinted from ZIP/Target Marketing

How to Achieve Greater Sales Success by Convincing

All the Decision-Makers in Each Target Organization

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Mr. Gnam is a hands-on response marketing consultant whose clients range from entrepreneurial companies to blue chips. He creates campaigns for a variety of marketers of products and services. He also writes copy, designs promotions, and regularly conducts seminars on both basic and advanced techniques of direct response marketing. He'll be delighted to follow-up your inquiry with a rapid, personalized response. He can be reached at 813-407-8400. - Ray Lewis, executive editor)

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by Rene Gnam

Whether you're sending thousands of mass-produced mailing pieces at one time, or one-by-one personalized letters on word processing equipment, your business-to-business mail will be much more effective if you take the time -- up front -- to tailor the various parts of your program to fit the exact needs of the recipient.

 

The experts all tell us that there's still nothing more effective in opening an executive-suite door than a personal business letter. Yet very few of us have the time (or stamina) to compose, and aim, these letters on a truly individual basis, while we effectively cover the market of our customers and prospects.

 

The answer lies in a combination of mass-produced, printed pieces and individualized follow-up pieces -- each carefully tuned to the type of company or operation, and to the interests and concerns of the particular type of decision-maker you are reaching.

 

Before you can even begin to create the pieces that you will test, you must first be very certain that the lists with which you are working are both complete and segmentable. The old "Name, Company, Title, Address, City, State, ZIP" just won't do any more, although that's what most business prospect files still look like.

 

You'll have to find some way within your record-keeping system (not too difficult if you're working from a computer information base) to encode every bit of pertinent information on the entire range of decision-makers within your target prospect's organization.

 

You'll generally want to know:

  • the SIC code,

  • whether this is a main office or a branch or distribution outlet,

  • the number of employees,

  • the amount it spent on products or services like yours every year (if available -- if not, rate it as an A/B/C/D prospect),

  • past purchasing history with your firm (again you can use a graduated scale),

  • different departments within the organization that can use your products or services,

  • different levels of decision-making and influence,

  • and the name and title of each executive, ranked according to importance in making the decision to specify, purchase, or approve your product or service.

A tall order? Of course. But with the aid of your sales force, recourse to standard directories, reference to past sales histories, and some assistance (if necessary) from a good list compiler, you should be in business within just a few months.

 

Once you have encoded this information in a way that you can easily access it for mass-produced letters (or even for labels, if that's the best you can do), you're ready to tailor your pieces to reach your target prospects most effectively, breaking down the barriers of resistance at every level.

 

Each separate code should be selectable so you can tailor your mail to all appropriate decision-makers, and to those who can influence the purchase of your product or service.


Also remember that even if an individual has not risen within a company, the longer a person has held a particular job, the more likely it is that he or she has attained additional purchasing influence within your prospect company.

Maximize Sales Potential
By Sending More Mail

 

The more individual buying authorities, the more company divisions that can use your products or services, the more mail you must dispatch to that company to maximize your sales potential. It is incorrect to believe that because you perceive selling only one $19,000 fork lift to my company that you need only one $5 mailing piece for my company.

 

In some instances, I intentionally send two dozen or more mailing pieces to people at different levels of authority within one company at one time to achieve a single high-dollar sale. In other instances, I intentionally send duplicate mailings (on separate days) to the same group of selected individuals to achieve that one sale.

 

And for other marketing situations, I dispatch a series of mailings to several persons within a single company to achieve one sale. All of this is possible when you properly categorize and code each record on the file at the outset.

 

None of this is waste. You are reaching people who influence each other.

 

You should also select and tailor within categories:

 

Let's say that you are selling a janitorial product to factories (category). Certain mailings can go to janitors (selection) only, talking about how easy the product is to use (tailor), while other mailings tell the purchasing agent (selection) how competitively priced your product is (tailor). In mailing to institutions (category), you might retain your price copy (tailor) to purchasing agents (selection), but stress effectiveness on rubber-marred floors (tailor) to janitors (selection).

 

That way, the janitor recommends the product to a purchasing agent who already knows your product is appropriately priced...and you've increased your sales possibility.

 

Similarly, if your product has one application for one division of a company, and other applications for a second division, your mailings to selected names would talk about the specific advantages for the specific division being reached.

 

Tailor to Specific Job Functions
To Achieve Maximum Impact

 

Now, your mail will be so much more meaningful. And when you tailor your mail to be meaningful to specific job functions, instead of being just a mass promotion, your mail gets to the right person and is read.

 

Seek competent counsel concerning the initial setup of your database -- which has now become a group of smaller lists within one file -- as you plan the mailings.

 

Then, when the final computerization is completed, you may want to send a mass initial mailing telling all names how terrific your product or service is, followed by several tailored mailings that zero in on the importance of your product to specific people within the prospect company.

 

The reasons why tailored follow-up mailings work so well to businesses are:

  1. They get through mailrooms, and secretaries pass them to the proper people because they're recognized as messages that the boss should read.

  2. Your competition is probably cutting pennies from its promotions by sending mass materials, so your tailored mail stands out, creating the impression that your company goes a bit further in servicing its customers.

Do Not Use Personalization So Much
That You Turn Your Prospects Away

 

That janitor wants to know that you understand his on-the-job concerns, but he doesn't want you to call him "Mr. Smith" in every paragraph -- especially since he's "Joe" to the world and only "Mr. Smith" to bill collectors.

 

Similarly, the purchasing agent doesn't want "The ABC Company will save" in every paragraph. But, tell the janitor that your scrubber-dubber saves him hours of bending. Tell the purchasing agent that the scrubber-dubber has long life. Ah, that's how we tailor our mail and achieve greater response.

 

We tailor for another good reason:

 

Most Businesses Tend To Stick With
Vendors They've Used in The Past

 

That's a terrible fact of business life up with which we must put.

 

Central Dental Supplies can't convince a Dia-Gem burr buyer to try Central for replacement hand tool parts. Dia-Gem has it rough trying to get burr buyers away from Central. Both make good burrs and your dentist will tell you that his don't hurt. But your dentist also decided on Central or Dia-Gem four years ago and now lets his assistant buy all the burrs p.r.n. from "our regular supplier". To switch the assistant, you have to convince both the assistant and the dentist. That means being truly unique. That may mean tailoring.

 

Easy example: is that DDS a dentist? or an endodontist? Tailor your mail addressed to him to concentrate on benefits for his practice specialty. Tailor the mail to the assistant to stress easy ordering, rapid shipment, and/or price breaks.

 

Now your burrs have a chance to be the best burrs...especially since you used a coordinated series of tailored mailings to both decision-makers.

 
 

Rene Gnam is an independent response marketing consultant

specializing in creative advertising techniques.

He can be reached at 813-407-8400

 or info@ReneGnam.com

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Rene Gnam is a Marketing Consultant and Advertising Copywriter

 
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I'm usually in Florida, and here are the numbers:

FAX 813-475-4354      CELL 813-407-8400

You can reach me right now by e-mail:

Rene@ReneGnam.com

 
 

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