Originally Published by Target Marketing�

How Direct Mail Supports Your Sales Force

Even When You Have Stiff Competition

by Rene Gnam

EDITOR�S NOTE: Rene Gnam is an international direct response consultant who has guided sales lead programs for hundreds of companies. Via his public and PBS-videotape seminars, he has trained several thousand admarketing and sales executives on the effective use of publication ads and mailings.

Your company does NOT have an international monopoly. Your company DOES have good competitors. And the competition poses problems for your sales force because:

  1. The competition goes after the same potential customers.

  2. The competition...wants to get your active customers away from your company.

  3. If your salesperson could spend all his time soliciting business from just one POTENTIAL customer, he/she probably would get that business.

  4. If your salesperson could spend all his time with just one CURRENT customer, he might never lose that customer.

But each salesperson must seek business from several prospective companies at the same time that he works to convince several current customers to remain with your company and to increase their purchases. He's just too busy to do everything and that's the main reason why your salesperson needs direct mail.

Direct mail supports the salesperson. It is his "calling card" when he can not be there and it continues his sales effort and reinforces his messages after he has left the prospect�s domain.

Your competitors know their biggest dollars come from their biggest prospects. They logically spend the most time on the biggest prospects. Your salespeople thus need promotional support to go after those companies which can become large customers.

And for those big companies which are now your active customers, your salespeople need promotional support to help prevent the competition from getting your business.

The competition does not spend much sales time on smaller companies which may not be worth several personal sales visits. In America for instance, Industrial Distributor News reports that 85% of American businesses employ fewer than 100 persons. Those companies are thus classified as small businesses, yet they offer tremendous and often-missed sales opportunities at better gross profits.

Profits often are better since smaller customers

may not buy at bulk sales discounts.

Your company can be smarter than the competition by using direct mail to support busy salespeople who can not spend all their time soliciting business from smaller companies.

This support can...

  1. Familiarize executives at those smaller companies with your products and services.

  2. Warm up those executives for future sales visits.

  3. Produce "qualified" leads from those companies so the salesperson does not waste his time on fruitless visits.

The competition also knows that some potential customers are located far away from a sales office or they may be in areas that are not usually visited. So the competition does not send its salespeople to call on those prospects.

Your company can be smarter by using direct mail to get the executives at those distant companies to request a visit by your company salesperson.

Then, when your salesperson arrives, he is responding to a request for a sales presentation. That beats a cold call.

Direct mail is NOT intended to replace a good salesperson.

You need salespeople to educate prospects, counsel them, explain products, point out the benefits of your company, and produce orders.

But demands on your salesman's time are growing and the personal sales call rate has been going down because your company salespeople are so busy, and because the executives they call on have many pressures on their time.

This is not a unique problem. It is worldwide. The sales call rate in America, for instance, has slipped from six per day to five per day and is now approaching four per day for many salespeople while many others are lucky to complete three solid visits in a day.

Some international industrial firms count themselves lucky if top salesmen make just two sales visits a day. They use direct mail to keep their names in the minds of current customers and potential customers. Their mailings educate prospects about manufacturing care and details, product uses and benefits.

That's what your new mailings must do for your salespeople.

The next problem you face is that ORDERS are not always produced by a single executive at a prospect company. Often, several executives are involved.

But sometimes your salesperson can't see each decision-making executive, or each executive who influences the decision. And just one person in the target company can ruin the salesperson's entire pitch, especially if that person was not at the salesman's presentation.

But, your company direct mail can reach those important people to tell them the details that the salesman wants them to know.

Sometimes, the target company does not inform your company salesperson about a new product for which YOUR products or services would be perfect.

Because your salesperson can not be at the target company every day of the year, he may miss a sale when those new products are being planned or produced.

But your company direct mail can support your salesperson when he is not there, reminding the target company's executives to call him, reinforcing an image of your company so that when your salesperson arrives...his job is easier.

Your salesperson's rough job is to face these 10 constant problems:

  1. Competition wants your prospective customers.

  2. Competition wants your active customers.

  3. Salespeople are overbusy.

  4. Small target companies may not be worth cold calls.

  5. Prospects may be too distant for sales calls.

  6. Prospects need familiarization.

  7. Prospects need education.

  8. Non-qualified leads waste time.

  9. Several decision-makers are involved.

  10. Planning stages are difficult to determine.

Strategic use of targeted direct mail enables the marketing team to overcome these objections. This gives the sales force highly-qualified decision-makers from the company�s prospecting database and rented lists.


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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