During one of our recent client events, we were asked the following question: “How can my company reach more potential customers and generate additional revenue when we are a distributor-driven company?”
In this three-part blog series, we will tackle the answer to this important question and help clarify how inbound marketing can help distributor-driven businesses. This is Part Three (and final post) of the series; click on the following links to read Part One or Part Two.
The Distributor Difference
Now that you have turned over a sales-ready lead to your distribution channel, it may be difficult to determine the impact on revenue. While lead generation, nurturing and scoring tactics are similar for internal sales organization and distributor channels, revenue attribution is often the most difficult hurdle to overcome. Key activities for revenue attribution in a distributor sales model must include elements for facilitating accountability through effective lead management and communication strategies.
In order to initiate accountability, it is necessary to collect the customer data captured through the profiling process in some form of central repository. This can range from an Excel spreadsheet to a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database. Key data points can also be tracked to support lead-to-revenue attribution in a distributor sales model. Examples would include manual or automated assignments of the following:
- Lead Date
- Lead Source
- Lead Number
- Quote/(RFQ) Number
- Assigned Distributor
- Assigned Distributor Rep
You can also provide multiple distributor options for prospective customers. A simple “Call to Action” can be included in your nurturing campaigns and/or website content that asks, “Who do you prefer to purchase from?” A list of preferred distributors could be included on your website that is pre-populated by zip code or product category information.
Having customer data (provided and assigned) at your disposal provides a communication platform between you and your distribution channel to connect the dots between website leads and actual revenue. Examples would include:
- Direct Email Communication with individual leads to ensure their preferred distributor has conducted follow-up.
- Direct email or manual communication with your distribution channel partners to request accountability and leverage lead status compliance.
- Provide simple lead status forms or manual response activities capturing lead specific “buy, no buy, plan to buy”, product information, and estimated revenue numbers.
- Clearly indicate that distributors who do not comply with this basic feedback will not receive future leads.
- Enter all individual lead information into your centralized database or CRM Pipeline.
- Vet the individual lead information against distributor stock and/or drop ship orders to measure the impact on revenue for both parties.
- Generate individual lead and sales reports to support business development meetings with distribution partners. This information could be a valuable tool for discussions around expanded breadth of product offerings and a coordinated strategy for new product launches.
In summary, most companies possess a great opportunity to reach more potential customers by executing an effective digital content strategy that promotes awareness in the early stages of the buying process. After general interest is established, an ongoing dialog must be initiated to nurture the prospective customer (with Lead Scoring measurements in place) to indicate when they are most likely to purchase. These “sales ready” leads can be turned over to the distribution network to complete the buying cycle. Managing this customer profile data in a central repository and facilitating lead status accountability will create the transparency to effectively measure the additional revenue being generated from your distribution channel.
This concludes our three-part blog series on how to reach potential customers and generate additional revenue for distributor-driven companies and businesses.
Are you a company that relies on distributors? What successes have you had in terms of using inbound marketing to grow your customer database and close deals? Tell us about it in the comments below.