How to Mix Your Sales and Marketing Efforts – And Why You Should

A traditional sales campaign typically involves a sales force following up on new leads from website inquiries, calls for more information, purchased lead lists, and referrals. Your sales force (or perhaps that is you) makes calls on potential new customers, completes the “dog and pony show” and then continues to follow up in order to convert that lead into a sale. Usually, this effort is easily measurable. You either see results or you don’t. The process is black and white.

In marketing, measurable goals can appear a bit grayer. But they don’t have to be. Each and every time you implement a new marketing strategy, you must affirm that it is indeed measurable. Otherwise, how else will you know if your time and money was well spent? Ultimately, the key here is to actually blend your sales and marketing efforts together for maximum return on investment. When you tie these two together, measuring the end result actually becomes that much easier.

Measuring marketing efforts can be a scary thought. Just as sales people have quotas, the marketing crew needs a measure of accountability, because every dollar that you spend on creating awareness (and ultimately sales) for your business should deliver a return on that investment. Sometimes marketers get tagged as an expenditure because they’re known for spending, spending, spending. In truth, your marketers are responsible for generating the leads that are handed over to the closers.

There are ways to change this misconception. The first step is to create sales and marketing programs and initiatives that complement each other. Let’s take a look at a few ways of doing this and how you can make this work for you:

1. Brand recognition – Marketers are continually developing a brand or identity for a business, and while this may not result in direct sales, these ongoing efforts are critical in producing sales over the long haul. Consistent, strong branding messages create an image that is top of mind for your customers, so when it does come time for them to buy, they think of you and not your competitor. If you were to ignore your brand and not create a solid identity, your sales would suffer in the long run.

2. Measuring brand activity – While it’s important to create and maintain solid brand identity, in today’s economic climate, that simply isn’t enough. You must create a way to effectively measure the impact of your brand. With the emergence of online marketing and advertising, we can now actually measure this type of branding more easily. You can now add call tracking or click tracking to your online advertising campaigns and gauge to what degree your efforts are making an impact and which ones are falling flat. Don’t just assume that your brand is being recognized. Use it in ways that can measured and calculated with an ROI.

3. Marketing is the lead generation arm of sales – As mentioned earlier, the sales force typically follows up on leads, regardless of how they are generated. But how are they generated? Some may be purchased while others may result from referrals. Still, a good portion of them typically come from your advertising, PR, direct mail, and website activity that falls into a business’ marketing mix. One way to measure these efforts is to create tracking codes, distinct links, or personalized URLs (PURLs) for each marketing piece in order to quantify how many leads a particular campaign may generate. Add language to a direct mail piece like, “Mention this postcard to receive a free widget.” Or create a promotional code that is when a customer requests more information from your inquiry form on your website. These tactics will allow you to actually determine where your leads are coming from.

Marketing and sales are not separate and distinct functions. They must work in synch to be effective and powerful. You may have to get a bit more creative in how you measure ROI, but it is possible to gauge your marketing efforts just as easily as it is to be accountable for your sales tactics. If you continue to look at sales and marketing as a package instead of individual entities, your overall efforts will be easier to measure as well.

Optimizing Your Direct Mail Campaigns

If you were forced to choose only one sure marketing strategy for getting advertising or promotional materials to your new and future customers, that method should be direct mail.

A direct mailing campaign offers many attractive features. It is an effective and convenient way to get information about your business and products to your customer base right in their own homes or businesses. It is easy to catch your customers eyes with attractive brochures, and you can hold their attention as they peruse your ads at their own leisure. It is also a good way to get your information to a large group of people and is extremely economical! In addition, your potential customers will find this marketing technique less annoying than intrusive methods like telemarketing.

There are some downsides to direct mail, however. For one, if not formatted correctly, your customers may perceive your mailings as junk mail and not give them the attention you hoped for. As a result, the recipients might not bother opening your mailings and actually look at your offer.

This risk is more than offset by the huge payoff that can result from direct mailing campaigns. Even if only a few percent of your mailings result in successful sales, the slight cost of direct mailing will be well worth your time and money.

Here is an example of how direct mailing can pay off. Suppose you have an item you would like to market that costs you $50 to make or buy, and that you sell for $200. To inform customers of your product you send out 1000 mailings to past customers and people in your local community. Lets say you can do these for about 50 cents per item (the cost of producing the advertisement and postage). That means your 1000 mailings will cost you $500 total.

Next, lets make a very pessimistic estimate of your return rate. Suppose that only 1.5% of the people who receive your mailing actually end up purchasing your product. This means that you will make 15 sales of $200 each. This might not seem like very much until you analyze the costs and profits. You invested $500 in producing the mailings and $500 to obtain the product. You had a gross income of $3000, and, after costs, a net income of $2000. This is a huge return for what was essentially a very small investment!

The best part of the deal is that this example used a very small rate of successful sales conversion (1.5%). With quality mailings that are adequately focused on your customers needs, you should be able to increase that number up to 20% or more!

As another example, consider a recent popular self-help book. The publishers of this book chose as one of their first marketing campaigns a series of mass direct mailings. After their first mailing, they estimated their success rate in converting mailings to sales at 20%. They then followed this up with a second wave of mailings in which they greatly increased the mail volume. Their success rate shot up to 24%! In a third wave of mailings, their success rate stayed steady at 22%!

This is a good example of a well-timed direct mail strategy. The publisher used the first mailing to get the word out about the book and kick off sales. The second and third mailings were timed to capitalize on the success and recognition that the book had already obtained. Once people had heard good things about the piece of literature, they just needed the extra incentive of the mail advertisement to motivate them to go to the store and make the purchase.

To create your own success story like this, make sure to take care when you create your mailings. A poorly written ad will not increase your sales no matter how many people you send it to. In fact, writing a good ad is difficult to accomplish and requires a good deal of creativity and professional quality writing. You can find books on the subject if you are unsure about your writing and graphical design skills.

The other tricky part of a direct mail technique is to decide who to send the materials to. If you send your mailings to the wrong people, you are wasting your time and money. Do a thorough analysis of your customer base and their purchase records in order to determine who are the best targets for your direct mail campaign.

Direct mail is one of the easiest, cheapest, and most efficient marketing devices you can use. A little thought and care into the creation of your direct mail advertisements will reap you huge rewards in sales and is well worth your time.

Four Distillers Using Science to Build Better Spirits

For centuries, distillers have used their art and intuition to make spirits like whiskey (artisan whiskeys like The Lakes Whisky), vodka, gin (including craft gin like Archangel Gin or Old Bakery Gin), rum and tequila. However, now more than ever before they are turning to science for help.

Four distillers in four different regions of the world are using cutting-edge scientific methods to build better spirits:

Ayrshire Distillery (Scotland) – Using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) technology that allows them to identify chemical compounds with precision.
North Shore Distillery (Massachusetts) – Utilizing a vacuum still that can extract flavour from botanicals without burning or caramelizing them.
House Spirits Distillery (Oregon).
Westland Whiskey Co. (Washington).

A brief history of distilling

The history of distilling dates back to the first millennium BC. It is believed that it happened by accident during storage of wine or beer where temperatures would rise causing fermenting at twice the speed which resulted in stronger drinks. Towards end of 15th century AD, During this time period, Arab chemists developed an early still (a device used for vaporizing and condensing substances). By 1620s, European scientists perfected distillation techniques using vacuum chambers known as “pumps” which enabled them to create far stronger alcohol. In the 18th century, a French chemist discovered that when he distilled wine it became stronger and more concentrated due to evaporation during boiling process. In 1753, an English scientist named Joseph Black discovered that by adding water or ice before distillation could lower strength of a drink thus creating liqueurs.

Today, distilling is used in commercial production for alcoholic beverages such as whiskey, brandy and rum etc.

The process of distilling

The distilling process is a way of separating and purifying compounds from a liquid mixture by heating to vaporize volatile components followed by cooling so that the vapours can liquefy again.

How science has changed the way we make spirits

Science has certainly changed the way we make spirits. The advantages of using science in distilling is you get more control over products with consistency, better yield, potency and taste at different temperatures since it does not affect product quality or purity like if heated very hot or too cold etc., while disadvantages would be increased costs due to equipment needed along with expertise training required leading many smaller producers not using science for now until further advanced technology becomes available reducing the risks involved.

Distillers are able to measure the chemical composition of their mash before, during and after fermentation which helps them determine factors that may cause problems downstream such as off flavours/odours from yeasts used etc., allowing them to identify issues early on so they can fix it without wasting time producing bad spirits which will not sell.

Distillers are also able to monitor the fermentation process, which will result in better yeast performance and more consistent batches. This would also help them produce spirits with higher alcohol content without too much stress on their yeasts leading to increased survival rates while producing optimal flavours and aromas.

The biggest advantage of using science is being able to increase production capacity while decreasing costs at all levels from equipment used, production speed along with labour needed resulting in lower prices for customers allowing distilleries deal with competition easier by putting products directly into market instead of relying on distributors, keeping quality control intact at all times. One disadvantage that may arise when using science is new producers not having enough time or resources available in investing money upfront before they start earning an income. This could result in distilleries having to close down or lower their standards.

What does this mean for the future of spirit making and consumption

The future of distilling is leaning more towards science and technology. Even though there are disadvantages, the advantages of using science in distilling outweigh these costs due to increased quality control, lower prices for consumers, easier competition with other producers.

The future of the distilling industry is in science. As consumers continue to demand more transparency and better quality, the industry will need to rely on brain-based research for new products that are high performing yet sustainable. This will certainly be the way forward for many distillers, including small batch distillers who create artisan products, as it is one of the best ways in which to stay ahead of their competition in an ever-competitive industry.

There is no doubt that with more innovative distilling methods, as well as the use of unique ingredients, small batch distillers will find a much greater demand for their products, as is the current trend even now, with craft spirits offering consumers a far better experience in terms of flavour, aroma and so much more.