As digital advertising grows, print companies must increasingly differentiate and offer marketers valid reasons to invest in direct mail. For some, this is undoubtedly a struggle. But, for others, their success is demonstrated in their growth and the sales results they drive for their clients.
To understand how the successful companies and their sales leaders are driving these results, I try to join as many sales calls as I can with our Print and Agency clients.
Since many of our clients have a strong focus on direct mail, we invest heavily in understanding the trends as they emerge. Learning what’s working (and what’s not) not only helps me and my organization understand where our OptiChannel platform can add value to a service provider’s print & marketing offering but also gives us insights we regularly share with the community at large.
According to a recent article in Forbes, 75% of marketers report direct mail is the best channel for reaching a C-suite audience, and yet, many print sales executives struggle to paint a compelling narrative that motivates their prospects to buy.
Today, I want to share with you the sales process used by a growing print company. They have found a repeatable process that breaks through objections and helps them sell and deliver ongoing ROI to their clients.
I hope that it inspires you and gives you actionable insights you can apply to your process.
It Starts With Productized Direct Mail
First, it’s essential to know that this company has productized its direct mail offering.
By this, I mean that they’ve created a systematic way of using direct mail to drive results for their B2C clients, which is repeatable and can be scaled more easily than ad-hoc campaign services. Anecdotally, this trend we see within many of our most successful Clients (but not certainly not valid for all).
I joined some of their recent sales calls to understand how they present their offering and how they get prospects to say, “Yes, let’s move forward.” But, first, let’s walk through each of the significant steps.
Where Do They Get Leads?
This company’s sales process starts with leads generated via social media (their organic activity on LinkedIn and Facebook is excellent). They employ the OptiChannel Social-Selling Framework, which also helps bolster the print ads they run in various industry-specific magazines. In addition, they spend healthily in this area.
They also attend tradeshows (the first in many moons was held last month).
Regardless of lead source, here’s how they work their sales process.
In their first meeting with the Client, they ask that the Client send them their customer address list, along with the revenue generated by each customer. They don’t need the customer’s name, just the address, city, state, zip, and the income derived from that particular location. (Remember, this print company focuses on helping B2C companies, but this strategy applies to B2B.)
Then, they analyze the data and present it to the Client in a second meeting. This analysis gives the Client insight into what’s already inside their data, something most customers don’t know. For example, they show the Client the geography their existing clients buy from on a three-dimensional “heat” map, which brings their sales patterns to life by exhibiting them distributed on a map.
They also append demographic information like income and home value, so the Client’s ideal prospect profile emerges. Then, with this information, they make a collaborative decision on where to invest in the mail to drive the desired results.
In the calls I joined, this second meeting usually ended with the prospective Client saying something like, “Wow, this is very interesting. I had no idea this was the case. I want to move forward. What do we need to do?“
At this point, the print company makes it clear that it’s not worth investing in the mail unless it’s done for six months or more. They support this for various reasons, including that they do a match-back process that demonstrates the sales generated by the mail every three months.
The matchback process is similar to the initial analysis, in that the customer provides their up-to-date sales data with the jobs that have been completed, and the print company does a match back between the completed assignments and the folks they’ve mailed to, thereby identifying the overlap so that they can match back revenue to each mail campaign.
Would This Work For You?
At a high level, this process is how this growing print company closes sales and generates meaningful results for its clients.
Is this similar to what you do? In what ways is it different? I want to hear from you in the comments or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have other questions. Happy to lend a hand!
PS: By the way, I recently recorded a podcast outlining the sales process. If you’d like to learn more and hear some additional insights, you can listen here: