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Get Personal to Excel at Marketing and Sales

Ken Tyler |

An AmericanLaundryNews.com exclusive.

CHICAGO — True marketing and selling is getting personal with your customers and buyers. You need to be able to capture the needs of your associates and develop profiles that will drive the success of your marketing endeavors.

Such a requirement goes well beyond demographics, those statistics being used as you gather data from forms, blanket surveys and conference contacts. They are unreliable at best.

You won’t achieve your contact goals by asking questions like, “What do you really purchase and from whom?” and “What interests you?” Most responses will be notoriously incorrect or even untrue.

Most organizations need to ask common-sense questions to uncover the customer’s role, i.e. business issues, buying habits, types of purchasing formats utilized, etc. Such information, if gathered correctly, should create a highly customized profile that could positively impact selling and purchasing.

Purchasing is a measured, deliberate process. The selling of products is a journey, not a sprint to the finish line. Organizations, particularly those in the healthcare arena, must be transparent with customers and sales groups. Profile customers and develop this information so that it can be tailored to provide an understanding of a product’s influence and true purpose.

Take small steps in developing targeted projects, obtain customer feedback, and relay this information to the manufacturing and distribution arm. Then, and only then, will you be able to sell a product at the right time and the right price. These assessments and tasks are essential and critical. Otherwise, your group will become bogged down in creating something that is not beneficial to your organization—think spinning wheel that never stops.

Many groups fail to automate the marketing and sales portion of their business. Automating and customizing programs that depict customer preferences—what they want, what they purchase, and why—is equally essential. If you develop reliable content that is geared toward the tasks and true objectives, then sales and revenue should follow.

Any advertising must incorporate customer and organizational profile information so that readers can judge if the item is worth their time to consider. If not done, then you’re publishing information that might as well be an insert in the Sunday newspaper—seldom read and never understood.

Those responsible must push for integration of both marketing and sales automation, which will hopefully avoid creating stovepipe situations from which recovery is difficult. Creation of a content strategy that conserves cost and increases intensity to purchase should be the goal for any marketing endeavor.

Marketing efforts must address business goals, automation of web goals, strategic goals, measurement of success/failure, as well as what actions you desire customers to take and what actions you will take once you develop such information—a game plan. Gather the troops to decide when your customers are most engaged and uncover your most influential and active advocates outside of your organization.

Never put your customers “on hold.” If you do, you will eventually have no customers. Give the customer what they want, not what you think they may want.

Seldom are sales achieved at conferences. These events should be where you develop personal relationships with existing and potential customers. No matter if you are a customer, buyer or working in sales, always take notes at these conferences. Establish targets for products if you are in purchasing, targets for personal relationships if in sales.

About the author

Ken Tyler

Encompass LLC

Vice President of Government Operations, Encompass LLC

Tyler is the vice president of government operations for Georgia-based Encompass LLC, a manufacturer and marketer of woven and nonwoven products for the healthcare and hospitality industries.
But he may be best known for having managed the entire textile and laundry operations for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for 23 years. Earlier, he was the director of textile and uniform operations for the Department of the Navy, where he was responsible for all fleet and base laundry operations. He retired from the VA in 2000, ending 35 years of government service.
A decorated combat veteran, Tyler also retired from the U.S. Marine Corps with 27 years of total service.
Tyler planned and managed the design and construction of some 57 VA laundries and consolidated operations that resulted in cost benefits reaching $250 million. He established quality standards for laundry system inspections. He received numerous awards, including special recognitions from U.S. presidents.
Today, he remains active through his role with Encompass, and serves on the Government and Healthcare committees of the Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA) and an industry liaison group for the American Society for Healthcare Environmental Services (ASHES). He's also an industry adviser to the General Services Administration, a member of The Joint Commission's Environment of Care Industry Task Group and an advisory subcommittee member to the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC).

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