By Phil Larson
Plan and prepare for multi-channel with dollar logic, business acumen, and customer sensitivity. Start small and run to the open doors.
"I think the foremost quality - there's no success without it - is really loving what you do. If you love it, you do it well, and there's no success if you don't do well what you're working at."
The three truths give a good foundation for this adventure... People are the brand. Get creative minds on board. Use many verified sources.
Now you need to dig into the practical side of selling the solution.
Calculate Pay Back Like a New Machine: Yes, you are going to market to the budget folks with a cost and benefit analysis. Base it on a reasonable expectation. Make it conservative and quantified. Lay out your costs for software service fees, desktop support software, people time, and training. Explain your projected allocations to departments alongside where you will reduce costs or increase sales. This is part of your research. Internal research is important for any new product or service offering. Any dollar you spend but don’t use is a wasted dollar no matter how good the idea. Find a way to get payback in 3-5 years or wait until you can.
Partner and Plan: Find one customer that will start with you and believe in you and is ready to realize the value of the service? Look for them. If you don’t know who they are, talk to your team.
- Three team members pointed out a customer department needing posters on a monthly basis. Discovery talks explored the scope of what they needed and customizing a plan to take care of them. Next we purchased the equipment to service them with capacity left over for other customers. They paid for the wide format equipment in six months at less cost than what they were paying an outside vendor to do the work. Our quality was better because we customized to their need and took the time to really train our team to excellence. They forgave us our first blunders because they could see the value of using people with a vested interest in their success.
- A first multi-channel customer for one client came to us from outside the normal base. They could not get service at reasonable cost and reliable delivery anywhere they looked. They trusted the client's innovative mindset and wanted a new approach to an old sell sequence in their industry. Results from that low cost implementation brought tens of thousands of dollars in other business.
Continually Update Your Plan: There is nothing sacred about being right the first time. In fact it is most improbable. You will miscalculate costs and time. You will under or over price. You will lose supporters. Continually update your plan and communicate important parts to key customers and executives. They need to see you are serious about being business minded not cost minded. They are quite comfortable and expect you will be cost minded. Your plan needs to include benefit mindedness. It must identify advantages. These updates are big internal marketing thrusts.
Start with A Small Project: Once you have your team anxious to do something through training and brainstorming, the best place to use your multi-channel skill is to market to your own team and a supportive customer group. Don’t go after everyone. Who is the customer group that really loves your service? Do a small multi-channel approach with them and invite them to a 1 hour session over lunch where you tell them what you are doing. Use the components. Email them. Mail a postcard to them. Ask them relevant survey questions on a personalized landing page.
Summary: Alright, you are approaching readiness. That is good. Don't fret. Face the fear with preparation. It might take you a year or more. No road shortens while waiting at the on ramp. Get cracking.
This article focuses on Sales/Marketing/Operations and Communications levels of the operational pyramid.