The Tools You Already Have Before Cross-Selling, Get Paid Firs
Technology Is Not a Roadblock
Technology is not the limiting factor in creating transaction documents that cross-sell. Most companies can add to their existing documents very simply, but if you are serious about one-to-one marketing and cross-selling, you must invest in data collection and analysis.
Transaction documents come from database-driven intelligent print streams. They are already highly personalized for each individual account and customer, so additional targeted selling messages can be integrated into the data stream. This requires programming, which can happen at several points in the document life cycle. You can add messages to billing systems to be passed as data to your formatting software. You can take advantage of messaging systems from composition tool vendors or use post-composition tools to combine information from databases with your print stream. You will probably need help from specialists inside or outside of your company to determine the most effective method.
Often when the cost of programming these efforts is tallied, testing is the first thing to go, but testing is critical. If budget is a constraint in the short run, consider outsourcing a portion of your mail to a service bureau. If you prioritize your goals and strategies well, you'll find many services bureaus are real pros on the implementation side.
Across Department Lines
More complicated than the technology itself are the production processes going from data to mail, which tend to be very involved and highly orchestrated. Changes at the front end affect the back end. For example, adding variable content sections in high-volume documents might cause you to hit page count limitations with your inserters. Conversely, breaking your documents into target groups to receive special messages may mean the groups won't yield enough volume for full postal savings.
Another nontechnical challenge is the ongoing effort required to keep the messages and the message selection criteria up to date. Otherwise, you risk using outdated messages, overexposing existing messages and missing new opportunities, thus reducing or even eliminating any returns from your initial cross-selling investment.