Print is not as universal as it once was (though it’s still very relevant for some customers), and even in-person sales rep visits, long considered the gold standard of customer-relationship building in distribution, are declining in popularity in today’s efficiency-driven market. In fact, 20 percent of customers we surveyed said they want a sales rep to visit no more than once a year, and a surprising 15 percent don’t want any visit, ever.
As the world of distribution continues to shift to digital, the way that customers want distributors to communicate with them is shifting as well. To gain a better understanding of these changes, Real Results Marketing has surveyed more than 10,000 of distributors’ customers across diverse sectors and geographies. The goal of this ongoing Shopping and Buying Survey is to gain a fuller understanding of how customers want to shop and buy by asking the customers themselves.
Nearly 45 percent of distributors’ customers we surveyed want the ability to request a chat with a customer service rep online (see Exhibit 1). We expect that number to grow as chat becomes more common and Millennials gain increased purchasing responsibility. Even now, many customers are more comfortable communicating via chat than on the phone – in part because it can be more efficient.
69% of inside sales people are spending less than 10% of their time making proactive outbound calls. They are spending the majority of their time doing after sale support, order entry and pre-sale support.
To be successful, you need to make the case that your plan serves the company’s – and management’s – best interests. Emphasize results, not features, and be ready to make your business case with numbers and support from your counterparts in sales, customer success, and other stakeholders.
Every organization experiencing success with marketing automation has a different answer to this question. Here are the three that surface most often.
The scales have shifted. Buyers have evolved in the ways that they prefer to purchase. Technology, digital channels and non-stop connectivity continue to empower today’s buyers with more immediate information and many more choices than ever before. We, as marketers must change to adapt to these changes.
Distribution Strategy Group, in partnership with Modern Distribution Management recently completed a survey about inside sales teams. The survey was designed to understand the key activities and the importance of these activities to companies’ inside sales teams, along with measurements and challenges.
Opportunities remain for distributors to improve marketing plans and measurement as a means to increase marketing effectiveness. The 2015 distributor marketing survey covered several areas of marketing, including biggest marketing challenge, vehicles, channels, measurement and pricing.
Increasingly, we hear distributors say that their e-commerce site is not getting the revenue traction they expected. The distributor went into the initiative thinking, “Build it and they will come.” But, what really happened was, “We built it and they didn’t come.