How To Sell A Marketing Plan

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WAlTHAM, MA -- Direct marketers had better start becoming better analysts if they want to keep their jobs, M.H. "Mac" McIntosh said yesterday during the closing keynote presentation at the New England Direct Marketing Association's annual conference at Bentley College.

Mr. McIntosh, a business-to-business marketing consultant, was offering advice on how to get the CEO, CFO, the sales force, your agency and your client to buy into your marketing plan. The key element in many of his suggestions was having the research to support the investment.

For example, knowing that CEO's have to answer to stockholders, show them how your marketing plan will increase profitability. Mr. McIntosh related the example of one marketing executive who was able to demonstrate that 40 percent of sales leads were coming from marketing efforts but 60 percent of closed deals were attributable to marketing. After presenting this information to the CEO, that marketing executive's budget increased.

Marketing and sales are often at odds. However, Mr. McIntosh said he views sales as one of his "most important customer constituents," adding that it's important to win them over.

It's easy to do this if you keep in mind that they're all about meeting their sales goals. Help them accomplish this by designing a marketing program for an underperforming region of the country or creating a spectacular PowerPoint presentation for them, Mr. McIntosh said.

Also keep them in the loop. Sales management often has the ear of senior management and will say things like: "Look at this marketing brochure -- it doesn't talk about anything my clients care about. If the marketing department had only talked to me, I could have told them." By including them in the planning process, you can avoid this from happening.

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