A manager's view
List owners are crying out for a more proactive approach to sales and marketing but, says Jeremy Saul, list managers are too behind the times to notice.
List managers are data experts. But many are not demonstrating and using their data expertise effectively, while others do not have the skills their clients require in today's marketplace.
Unless managers adapt to the changing needs of their clients and adjust the way they operate, they will struggle in an increasingly competitive list management marketplace.
A big issue in the list management industry has been the lack of good customer service. Let's face it, providing good customer service is commonsense for any business in any industry. It requires being attentive, listening to a client's needs, and being proactive in providing solutions.
It also means constantly looking for the best way to maximise a client's return on investment and generally being flexible to their needs. These are all skills list managers must learn, develop and now deliver after all the lip service.
Secondly, list managers stress their data expertise and understanding of the lists they manage - which is great. However, it is how they use this in-depth list knowledge to sell and drive value for the lists they manage which is important.
Successful list management today is about providing proactive insight and intelligence on lists and data to prospective buyers. This means list managers must thoroughly understand the aims and objectives of clients and their campaigns, and look to ensure the lists they manage can be used by these buyers in a bespoke and appropriate way that maximises their return on investment. Such an approach, as well as benefiting list buyers, will boost sales of the lists they manage, profiting their list-owning clients.
Which brings me on to one key skill area list managers must urgently develop: sales and marketing knowledge and expertise. Today, more and more list owners are pushing to maximise return on investment from their lists/data in a responsible way. They want their list managers to get out into the marketplace and proactively market and sell their lists.
However, many list managers are still very reactive with their sales and marketing activities. They must develop proactive sales and marketing plans for every list they manage - this means picking up the phone and generating new tests in the marketplace.
List managers need to understand today's market-place and move with the times. They are data experts and must demonstrate this, looking beyond their core skills to maximise return on investment for list buyers and list owners. Those list managers who don't are in danger of heading the way of the Dodo.
- Jeremy Saul is list and sales manager at Holistic List Management.
This article was first published on Direct Response
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