Most distributors know that they need to generate quality leads to drive their business, however most of them are underutilizing marketing automation. In fact, distributors are often unaware of the value of marketing automation, according to a survey of distribution companies conducted by research firm RealResults.
The two marketing automation capabilities distributors are most aware of are “website visitor tracking,” with 80 percent of distributor respondents rating it as important or very important and “automated emails triggered by a specific action taken by a web visitor,” which 55 percent rated as important or very important. The third highest was “shopping cart abandonment alerts and notification” capabilities, with 48 percent of respondents rating it as important or higher.
With this lack of awareness about its capabilities, distributors are missing out on marketing automation’s power to target prospective customers and sales leads with the right offers or content, at the right times, and automatically following up on opportunities without waiting for a human sales person to remember and take action. Marketing automation software makes it easy to track and measure a prospect's activity, identify when a prospect meets buyer-readiness conditions, and pass that lead to sales as soon as it meets the pre-defined criteria.
Here are two examples of what marketing automation can do for distributors:
A distributor emails a prospect an invitation to sign up for the company’s newsletter and waits three days for a response before sending the newsletter. If the prospect then opens it, the marketing automation software then sends an offer for a whitepaper which, if accepted, triggers an invitation to attend a webinar. The final invitation, to sign-up for a private demo of the distributor’s product, is the ultimate goal. With marketing automation, that entire process can be automated with rules to trigger, or not trigger, each step of the process and keep the sales person apprised throughout the development process.
When a web shopper views a certain product, the marketing automation software might trigger a pop-up ad for a sale, or send an alert to a sales person to contact the visitor via web chat.
Unlike email marketing, which is usually done through a mass-market email service provider, marketing automation software provides extra capabilities. That might include tracking customer behaviors across a website, creating multi-step campaigns with conditional logic, segmenting data to deliver personalized marketing content, and analyze marketing data from different channels such as email, direct mail, promotional events, or multi-channel promotions.
Those capabilities provide real ROI to the companies leveraging them. According to a 2012 report by the Aberdeen Group, companies that deploy marketing automation see 107 percent better lead conversion rates, 40 percent greater average deal sizes, 20 percent higher team attainment of quota, and 17 percent better forecast accuracy.
That’s ROI worthy of a distributor’s attention.