B-to-B Cataloging: Four Ways to Coordinate Marketing and Outbound Sales
3. Product launches. Product development is high-profile and capital-intensive. B-to-B catalogers are justifiably eager to see how the market responds to their new ideas.
When launching a new product, remember: You only get to launch once. Falter in your marketing and sales efforts, and you leave customers doubting.
Coordinating the timing of sales and marketing efforts is essential. When you introduce the product, everyone must be ready. Typically, the direct marketing side has more information regarding a new product launch than the outbound sales team. That’s because the copy and graphic production staff members, which usually are part of the direct marketing team, produce the product information sheets, instructions and packaging designs that accompany the product.
Too often, outbound sales staff is left in the dark and has to scramble to get product information. So hold a product introduction meeting to educate the team. It builds excitement and primes sales — and the new product — for success.
4. Sales-channel tension. Who is generating the sale? Direct mail or outbound sales? The outbound telemarketing sales side claims its selling skills generate the sales and the catalog is just a tool. With the recent increase in postal rates, inevitably the debate will reignite, sparked by the temptation to cut back on mailing quantity and frequency.
B-to-B catalogers should run tests to determine the incremental differences between their catalog marketing and outbound telesales vs. the combined effort of the two. They’ll likely find that the whole is greater than the two parts in terms of both sales and ROI. Regardless of whether the sales staff or the catalog effort can lay claim to the bulk of the sales, there probably will be elements in both that need to be improved. That’s where coordinating the two efforts pays dividends.
George Hague is senior marketing strategist at J. Schmid & Associates in Mission, Kan. You can reach him at (913) 236-8998 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.