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The Invisible Sale: Living Inside the Database

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This chapter is from the book
This chapter explains the concept of moving from databased selling to data-based selling. That is, not merely contacting sales leads but instead creating the conditions to have customers come to you.

Then each morning, I simply needed to open my database and click on my To Do list. There in front of me was an entire day of outbound marketing activity—every cold call I needed to make, every email I needed to send, and every direct-mail piece I needed to address and send. Each of these touches was scheduled to occur at the same point in every prospect’s life cycle in the database.

This brought order to the process and ensured that we were consistently touching our prospects in an orderly and methodical manner based on a strategically driven approach. It was effectively scheduling multiple ad campaigns to audiences of one.

Furthermore, I could search, sort, and merge to my heart’s delight. I could almost hear my heart beat faster each time I opened my database. Oh, and the notation capability—to be able to capture and track every unreturned email, unanswered cold call, unopened letter, or politely ignored direct-mail clutterbuster (that was our name for those really expensive, time-consuming three-dimensional mailers we sent). And the part that warmed the cockles of my geek heart was that I could sync it with my Palm Pilot! It was heaven.

But before we finish with this story, let’s stop here for an important distinction.

Database Selling Versus Data-Based Selling

Let me be very clear: This book is not about destroying your database. Nor am I saying you should entirely cease outbound sales prospecting and marketing efforts. Some people in the online content marketing world will preach that to you, but I won’t. There’s a place for outbound marketing in this world because it works, and I expand on that thought in a few pages.

What I am suggesting is that you move from a database selling approach to a data-based selling approach. This is an important distinction. Database selling is about filling a sales funnel and working the funnel to qualify and ultimately close sales. But data-based selling leverages two important trends: self-educating buyers and the proliferation of high-speed internet service to create a Propinquity Effect. This Propinquity Effect creates qualified buyers who call you. We dig deeper into data-based selling, self-educating buyers and the Propinquity Effect in the following chapters. But before you can share all those ideas with your boss, sales team, or company, you have to create permission to be heard.

You need to create permission for them to believe there’s a better, more efficient way to prospect for business. But you won’t be able to tell them this. You need to help them discover it for themselves. Let’s talk about how you might do that. And for that, we return to my story.

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