Catalog and Direct Selling: Get on the Horn
Finally, with respect to offers, have clearly defined success thresholds in place. As with any promotion targeted to existing customers and top customers in particular, your goal should include some modicum of profitability. Without a definition of success, there is no way to determine if an outbound call program truly can succeed.
Execute the Program
In outbound sales terms, your operators/call reps are your creative. And your operators can make or break the initiative. Some operators just have “the gift” of selling, while others couldn’t sell an umbrella in a downpour. If you’re employing an outside service to make calls, this shouldn’t be as great an issue. If you’re executing your call program in-house, however, you may find that some of your best inbound reps simply are terrible at making outbound calls. Understand who these people are.
When a program is done, analyze the results thoroughly. For frequent mailers, introducing an outbound program while a catalog is in the mail will affect sales from the book. What is important, is to understand how much. Holdout groups built into the segmentation can help illuminate the effect of the calls. The question is simple: Are you better off, from a sales and profitability standpoint, with or without the call program?
Outbound call programs can augment most catalogers mail and online initiatives. Real success comes from knowing what the market wants and how to pitch it.
Steve Trollinger is vice president of client marketing, J. Schmid & Associates. He can be reached at (913) 236-8988 or via e-mail at email@example.com.