Your Marketing Plan’s Weakest Link

The front-line staffers—order-takers, customer service reps, and the like–at many companies do not know how many active customers the company serves, what the total revenue was last quarter or last year, or the profile of the best customers and the target prospects. And such ignorance, says Bill Singleton, president of Algonquin, IL-based consultancy Singleton Marketing, is not bliss.

Singleton suggests that you call your telemarketing or order entry staff anonymously and ask them not just about their products but what they know about their customers. If they don’t know much, then you have found the weakest link in your marketing strategy. “Telling a prospective customer that 80% of your active customers have bought from you more than once can strongly reassure the prospect that he is making a good decision in buying from you the first time,” Singleton says. What’s more, if your telemarketers know the average size of a customer’s first order and how that average increases with successive orders, they may be more motivated to dig into a prospect list and not give up if the first few calls don’t yield big orders.

“Another benefit to educating your telemarketers beside supporting your branding and marketing strategy is that your customers will provide more input and direction to your efforts,” says Singleton. “Customers are more likely to talk to informed phone reps who sound interested and engaged in the company’s plans but not to mere order-takers.”

Sharing simple measurements within your company can get your front-line staffers on your side in executing the database marketing strategy. Singleton suggests periodically calculating the number and average order size of your active customers, along with demographic or firmographic data such as household size and income, or SIC or NAICS code and employee size. Once you have the results, summarize and share them.

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