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Marketing Concepts
Mail Campaigns, A Sales Tool Too.
By Olin Thompson, Process ERP Partners

Is direct mail a marketing tool? Can it be a sales too? Yes, if it is seen as a highly targeted vehicle and is designed as part of the overall sales campaign. Think about how people see direct mail pieces.

Most companies use mail campaigns as marketing tools.  Mail campaigns are used for lead generation, customer and market surveys and market awareness.  While mail campaigns are a reliable marketing tool, most sales organizations do not see them as a sales tool.

In a recent planning session targeting a strategic prospect, we found that the sales people have some interesting ideas on mail campaigns.  This sales team saw mail campaigns as being sent to many customers at once.  They also thought it meant sending a piece to one person at an account.  By challenging these ideas, the account team saw that they had a powerful tool in selling to their strategic prospect.

Understanding the Direct Mail Sales Tool

How do prospects view direct mail?  Like our sales team, prospects assume that the mail piece was sent to many companies and is not directed to just them.  That means the prospect will assume that the topic covered in the e-mail or mail piece is an important issue at many companies, not just their situation. 

People also see direct mail as a non-challenging vehicle.  A prospect may not accept a sales call or a phone call or even a seminar or webinar invitation because they do not want to be sold to, but they will read a direct mail piece because they can do so without anyone knowing that they have expressed an interest.  Of course, with current e-mail direct mail tools, we can know that the prospect opened the e-mail or clicked on a link, but it is still considered a safe investigation on the part of the prospect. 

Not all direct mail pieces carry the same credibility and therefore impact.  Customer stories carry more credibility than pieces that talk about issues.  Pieces from independent third parties carry more credibility than pieces from a vendor.  Understanding the credibility of pieces as well as the account situation can help us design a more effective campaign.  If you are selling with partners, each partner can send its own direct mail pieces coordinated so that the total effect is what the sales team desires.


Olin Thompson is a leading sales & marketing consultat  to application software providers. With 25+  years experience, Olin has been called "The Father of Process ERP". He works with solutions providers, analysts, and the press. To learn more visit Contact Olin directly at 401.421.6968 or e-mail:

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