Embrace Your Development and Advancement Beast
After learning how Perfect Image manages development activity, one of my colleagues in the marketing and creative industry exclaimed, “You are a beast!” He was stunned by our vigorous process of tracking and measuring phone sales calls, client visits, written correspondence and the quotes we submit. For me personally, this involves five phone calls daily to existing and prospective clients, and a similar number of weekly face-to-face meetings.
We want happy endings. This means good beginnings. As everyone in advancement and development knows, effective development begins not only with setting objectives, but also bolstering those objectives with planned activities and measurements that yield and sustain desired results.
Development is no fairy tale
I’ve been in professional sales for more than three decades and I love what I do more today than when I started. I’m also realistic. Development is as real-world as it gets. It made a difference that I was trained by the finest managers and mentors, and as a result, I’m passionate about paying it forward by sharing what I have learned.
Early on I learned there is indeed an art to sales, and an equal measure of science.
What gets measured gets managed. Measuring is the science of development, and it is extremely relevant for today’s advancement professionals. Think of it as your internal development beast. As mentioned, the fundamentals begin with setting objectives and following on with planned activities that will yield and sustain results. If you would like to see an example of how to do this, send an e-mail to me at: email@example.com
Look beyond the beast to see the beauty
Using internal metrics is critical. However, whether metrics represent revenue, funding, marketing results or survey responses, they actually have little to do with real market needs. Whatever we are selling – a quality education, supporting your alma mater, or in my case, great printing and marketing support solutions – our development metrics are simply not important to our constituents. What do our constituents value?
As said with great clarity by management sage Peter Drucker: …what the customer buys and considers value is never a product. It is always utility, that is, what a product or service does for him or her.
So, while there is certainly a science to development, the real beauty, and the key to our success, is found in understanding what alumni, parents, friends and clients need, and providing meaningful answers.
The road to happily ever after
Many development successes at Perfect Image are the ones in which we awaken educational institutions to our value promise to be More than a printer. We know that managing print can be a beast of a burden for schools, so we make it an easier and better experience.
For example, schools need a second set of eyes to help protect brand integrity. They sometimes need outside creative resources for their projects, and a partner that is adept at integrating print with email, video, social and web to enhance campaign results. And they often need a printer that can manage mailing and distribution, because it gives them more time to focus on what they do best.
Our development efforts address these needs because answering them eases our clients’ burdens and helps them build more extraordinary brands.
What is important to your constituents?
Use development to break spells (preconceived notions)
In development, we’re all educators, and sometimes we need to help others unlearn what they think they know about us. For example, it’s not enough for us at Perfect Image to say we are a marketing support partner, not just a printer. Even though we leverage what we know from serving some of the nation’s most focused brands, such as Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Macy’s and UPS, we must raze walls to prove it.
One misconception we encounter is that our big brand approach to service and support is neither realistic nor affordable for smaller organizations. We drive out this perception with resonating truth: Schools have precisely the same needs as large corporations, and big brand service does not break the budgets of today’s schools. We use development to dispel this notion, just as we use it to break the spell that printers only print, and cannot adapt to the realities of a multichannel marketplace.
What differentiates your school from others, and what mistaken impressions or competitive challenges do you need to expel?
Happy endings in development start with setting objectives and using activities and metrics to measure effectiveness. This is your inner beast. Successful development also relies on understanding constituent needs and focusing development on providing answers. This is the beauty of it all. Embrace them both, because development is a tale in which the beauty and beast co-exist in perfect harmony.
If you need a printer that understands your stake in advancement and development, contact Perfect Image. We are More than a printer, and we aim to help you succeed.