PIA/GATF Converge Conference — Sell VDP to Decision Makers
One tactic that often works well is to modify and then bring some of the company’s existing print marketing collateral to mimic a VDP piece. I used to take their pieces back to the plant, scan them and insert some data to indicate segmentation, etc. Tactically, this moves the discussion into “real life” from the client’s perspective.
In my former life, we also hosted a series of half-day seminars at our facility with similar verticals. The peer-to-peer discussions among the attendees generated enthusiasm and ideas, which the sales or account execs could follow up with subsequent meetings with individual customers and prospects. The goal is to get a buy in at these lower levels and gain their assistance in getting to the senior audience.
When you get to the executive pitch, your understanding of their corporate culture will help you identify friends, foes and those sitting on the fence. Each has their own interest regarding turf or area of responsibility. You need to address their concerns. For example, your solution will involve IT and marketing departments. It is your job to facilitate the exchange or acquisition of data between these departments.
Be sensitive to their workloads and areas of responsibility; do not make too many demands on them. Make certain they understand how your solution won’t create more work for IT and that it will provide marketing with useful information and metrics, etc. Keep in mind that if the ultimate decision is a commitment to proceed, that person will overrule departmental objections. Anticipate and develop a plan to deal with these various constituencies. The deeper strategic goal is to embed your company into their infrastructure and to develop advocates and allies. Your ability in navigating their corporate culture also sends a signal to the ultimate decision maker that project management will not be an issue should he or she commit.