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Sales Automation And Customer Relationship Marketing

16 Jan, 2002 By: Larry Breed imageSource

Sales Automation And Customer Relationship Marketing

sense tells us that you must be in front of a prospective buyer when he or she
is ready to buy, not when you are ready to sell. I believe that successful
marketing is based on just that foundation.


common sales practice, used by many companies to achieve this objective, is to
buy or create a prospect list, then mail a letter to each prospect on the list.
If the prospect responds, a salesperson or telemarketer tries to get an
appointment. Basically the seller is saying, "I'm ready to sell you something. Are you in the 5% of the market segment
that has an immediate need


the prospect says "No," either verbally or by not responding, the seller
generally loses interest. The end result is usually a one time mailing, or
sporadic mailings, that get poor results. Eventually the company gives up on
mass mailing as a marketing technique.


approach, favored by many companies, is telemarketing, which is having someone
call prospects to gather information and possibly set an appointment.
Telemarketing usually generates better results than one-shot or sporadic
mailings, but it has drawbacks as well. Telemarketing is disruptive to the
prospect's day and can be very intrusive. (Stop and think how you feel when
someone you don't know calls you in the middle of an important project or
meeting). If the prospect isn't ready to buy, you get nowhere. Even if you get
"buying signals," but the prospect is still not quite ready to make the
buying decision, the lead may fall through the crack. How often do your leads
slip by? How successful is your lead follow-up system? 


Better Approach

the sake of illustration, let's say that selling is like crop cultivation in
farming. Using either one of the two methods just discussed, salespeople float
from "prospect field to prospect field," only harvesting the low hanging
"fruit." Fruit that is not quite ripe (ready to buy) is left to wither in
the field, or worse yet to be gathered by a competitor.


better approach, and one with a proven success rate, is to have the prospect in
control. Have them call you when they are ready. Making them feel comfortable
instead of pressured. To do this, you must find a way to get the prospect to
think of you when the time comes to buy. If you have already established such a
relationship with a prospect, they are very likely to call you. However, how do
you establish a relationship with a prospect without being intrusive or without
spending a lot of money? In farming, crops are drip irrigated. This method supplies the right amount of water and
nutrients to allow the crops to grow and ripen naturally. Crops are then
harvested as they ripen and none are left to wither. The same results in
marketing can be achieved through a "drip irrigation" method involving
polite, continual, and non-aggressive communication. You can do this by mailing
a series of letters at regular intervals to the prospect. Each letter reminds
the prospect that a previous letter was sent, introduces one concept, and
promises a subsequent letter on a particular date. The letter should be brief so
the reader can quickly grasp their message, while at the same time you are
developing your name recognition.



the process a relationship between you and the prospect will begin to develop.
If a problem develops between the prospect and their current source, or if the
prospect is facing an immediate need, there is a good chance they will call you.
Getting the prospect to call you produces a level of commitment by the prospect
that you cannot achieve through telemarketing or other forms of advertising.
Many marketers try to limit the amount of contact they have with their customers
because contacts cost money. If you correspond regularly with a prospect that
has almost forgotten who their current source is, you will be the one called
when it is time to buy or when a problem needs to be solved.


Irrigation Works!

marketing technique of polite, continual, non-aggressive communication develops
name recognition, makes warm calls instead of cold calls, and will even have
prospects calling you. This is not a theory. It works! Many studies, relating
the number of contacts to sales success, have found that 80% of sales are made
after six or more contacts, and most companies and salespeople give up after
four contacts. Persistence pays off.


Simple - If You Have A Plan

one-shot mailings and telemarketing are not bringing the results you had hoped,
and you are interested in this approach, the question then becomes how can you
implement a drip irrigation system for your company? How do you keep all of the
letters flowing? How do you know which letter in a series to send to whom and
when to send it? How will you measure results? Who is going to design the
various marketing campaigns? How are you going to manage the effort? The answer
is Relationship Marketing!


next month’s article we will discuss the consideration and challenges that can
become an obstacle in successful selling.



Breed is the president of Office Automation Consultants, Inc., a sales
automation and customer  relationship
marketing consulting firm for Office Systems Dealers.Contact Larry for a free
audiotape on"Sales Automation & Relationship Marketing 
for Office Systems Dealers" and a complimentary employee hiring
assessment. He can be reached at 800-875-7599, Email:

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