Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  28 Feb 2012

SALES: Avoiding the Needle in the Haystack


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Database marketingÂ’s goals are simple: improved customer retention, cross-selling, upselling and reactivation; better rates of customer acquisition; and accomplishing the above with a higher return on investment than other methods. Simple, perhaps. But too often doomed to failure.

According to Louise Robinson, Sales Director at specialist outsourced database provider and lead generation company GC Consulting, this is because many organisations focus only on the database they create or buy, and do not fully explore the options this information can provide for their business. “To succeed in database marketing, you need first to put yourself into your customer’s shoes to understand why you would want to be on the database. We all know how frustrating it can be when your name appears on a company’s list, but you have no interest in their products or services. The information a good database provides is only the first step to successful database marketing – designing an approach that meets customers needs as well as effective lead generation is the only way to achieve success.”

She adds that most companies make the same mistakes when looking to utilise a database for marketing and/or sales purposes, leading to the following common failures:

Failure No. 1: Lack of a Marketing Strategy.

A database does not automatically produce profits. Rather, it is a legitimate business expense. “Profits are generated by personalised communications to customers that build loyalty and cross-selling, and that reach exactly the right target audience,” Robinson points out. “Most successful strategies create a few practical customer segments and develop marketing strategies to appeal to the interests of customers in each segment. This requires gathering extensive knowledge about customers and using it to design relevant strategies. Many companies have not accumulated the information, created the segments or developed the strategies.”

Failure No. 2: Making a Big Production of Database Construction

A good marketing database of any size can be purchased from the right provider. “You will be able to do analysis, drill down, create campaigns and craft personalised customer communications, with all of the information of the specific markets you want to target, without the hassle of trying to create your own database from scratch,” she explains.

Failure No. 3: Treating All Leads Alik

Some customers are gold. Some are worthless. Lavish services on the right ones. “Using a lead generation company ensures that the correct individuals, companies, and/or sectors are being targeted. The traditional approach of building your own database and approaching all of the contacts is much like searching for a needle in a haystack, and usually yields the same results,” Robinson says.

Failure No. 4: Not Utilising the Full Value of Data

Most companies focus on acquisition, not retention. They focus on sales objectives and bonuses for bringing in new customers, and few have any idea of what extras good database information can provide their business. “How did your last campaign, survey, newsletter or rewards programme do‘” Robinson asks. “We often find that companies do not see the extra value they can get out of lead generation campaigns, rather focusing only on the numbers.”

She adds that using an outsourced provider will allow companies to access the full potential that database marketing offers, through not only obtaining leads, but ensuring that all other possible sales/marketing areas are covered. “Whether you go through an outsourced provider or do it yourself, make sure you do it right. Success in any database marketing programme requires the right mix of information. To make this happen, you need a team composed of individuals who understand marketing, customer service, tech support, and the industry you are looking to target. Then design programmes to pique the customers’ interest. That’s the recipe for success.”


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