It’s become an increasing battle for distributors to remain competitive and relevant in the marketplace. With more big-name e-retailers entering the market and newer technology driving the way buyers shop and transact, companies are looking for better marketing vehicles to help grow customer engagement and build a better presence.
Enter marketing automation. Considered the most effective and efficient way to communicate with buyers, marketing automation technology helps streamline, automate and measure marketing activities across channels in a way no other marketing campaign software can.
To help distributors better understand this innovative technology, Unilog recently hosted a webinar on the topic and invited B2B marketing and commerce experts to explain the opportunities and results it can provide distributors.
Joining Scott Frymire, SVP of Marketing at Unilog, were Jonathan Bein, Managing Partner at Real Results Marketing, who provided insights on the state of distributor marketing and customer buying behavior, and Scott Alder, Channel Account Manager at Act-On Software, who discussed the capabilities and opportunities marketing automation technology provides. Here are a few of the key points they shared:
- The B2B customer buying process has changed
Today, buyers take different paths, or journeys, to find products. According to Bein, 78% of B2B buyers start the buying process with a web search while 50% look to social media for peer reviews. Since each buyer engages differently, businesses can use marketing automation to track their actions, behaviors and preferences in order to understand the level and type of interaction their buyers want. Marketing automation platforms like Act-On use a beacon tracking code on a distributor website to capture all this buyer information and report it back so custom, automated marketing campaigns can be created to get the right message to the right person at the right time.
- Prospect and customer nurturing is critical
Converting prospects to customers requires consistent tracking and a regular communication cadence, which is something businesses can’t manage manually. Marketing automation gives distributors the ability to engage with people gradually so they can build trust and develop a relationship with prospects. For existing customers, it provides more upsell and cross-sell opportunities and, by staying in regular contact with them, it can increase customer loyalty. Nurturing prospects – and buyers – through marketing automation is a great way to focus your marketing efforts and improve visibility.
- Marketing automation makes big impacts
While only 15% of distributors are currently using marketing automation, Alder stressed how vital this technology is for B2B organizations. “As a distributor, you’re trying to attract people to your business to get them to become regular customers,” explained Alder. “At Act-On, our primary focus is B2B and we’ve found that is where marketing automation works best.”
Distributors who employ marketing automation have seen great results – from shortened sales cycles to increased customer retention. The platform does the heavy lifting by providing deep analytics and reporting that help businesses identify sales-ready leads and customers, and pinpoint which campaigns have the most impact on sales.
If you want to build a better presence, generate relevant leads and expand customer relationships, consider adding marketing automation to your digital toolkit. Get more details by watching the Unilog webinar in its entirety here.