Susanne Adam_SAP_325sq

Suzanne Adam

By definition, the wholesale distribution industry purchases products in bulk from manufacturers or suppliers and sells them at wholesale prices to customers (often commercial establishments, business professionals, or retailers).

Marketers can add value by influencing all stages of the customer lifecycle and working across sales and ecommerce teams.

The industry’s traditional focus is primarily on the logistics and sales aspects of the business. For example, offering a large assortment, fast delivery options, and ongoing customer relationship management. Product availability and keeping to delivery promises have long been the cornerstones of building and maintaining an excellent reputation.

In wholesale distribution, marketing functions were often given limited resources and budgets, as opposed to sales representatives who could meet buyers face-to-face and develop personal relationships. His wholesale marketing work focused on creating promotional ads, his email campaigns, homepage design, and later expanded to managing his social media. Their responsibility was to generate awareness and interest while the sales team generated leads with new or existing customers. As Gartner notes, marketing and sales teams often operate in silos, resulting in tension and the inability of each team to do its job well.

With the increasing importance of digital sales channels and the strategic imperative to put the customer at the center of everything they do, the role of marketing is becoming more important. Today, marketers add value by influencing all stages of a customer’s life cycle, working cross-functionally between sales and e-commerce teams to make a meaningful contribution to a company’s bottom line. You can to be.

Aligning marketing and sales

Historically, lead generation has been the primary responsibility of sales teams. Sales representatives are responsible for recruiting new customers as well as identifying opportunities with existing customers.

As Forrester Research predicts heading into 2022, this trend is starting to change. Forrester adds that these newly established revenue marketing teams “use ABM.” [account-based marketing] Other digital marketing techniques for engaging prospects and customers at every stage of the buying and post-purchase process. ”

ABM is a strategic approach to designing and executing highly targeted and personalized marketing initiatives to drive business growth. For wholesale, the ABM approach often leads to specific high-value customers targeted for personalized marketing and sales efforts. ABM is considered a long-term strategy, and the key to success is that sales and marketing must align over time, ideally along the entire customer lifecycle. ABM software can provide merchants with the ability to orchestrate personalized, multi-touch marketing programs at scale across a variety of tactics such as email, advertising, events, direct mail, social media and solicitation calls.

The impact of marketing on e-commerce activity

Through a variety of tactics, your marketing staff can play an active role in increasing traffic and supporting the growth of your e-commerce web shop. For example, marketers can use search engine optimization (SEO) to tune paid search ads, social media campaigns, and organic search. Especially for the latter, her SEO for B2B, as Gartner explains, is a combination of technical know-how, analytics, buyer personas, and journey insights, so marketing and ecommerce teams need to work together. there is. Her successful SEO strategy can be developed and executed by working together and leveraging the knowledge of different departments.

Using your marketing department’s knowledge of the customer’s buyer journey and customer survey tools can also help improve the usability of your web shop. Customer surveys and real-time her web shop feedback prompts are a great source of information about features customers miss or don’t like, and can show you which features provide a great customer experience. .

Leverage your customer portal as a marketing vehicle

Today’s wholesalers, like other B2B companies, are extending their e-commerce platforms into customer engagement portals, and web shops are just one part of the service. Customer portals often consist of several self-service and engagement options to keep sales and service reps connected.

Customer portal offerings often include order and invoice document archives, knowledge bases, training videos, and web chat. Some portals include moderated community areas where customers can exchange ideas and questions about specific topics. Customer portals become the platform for nearly all customer communications, opening up the possibility of better serving customers with personalized content.

Marketing may target customer portals to specific customer groups, invitations to upcoming events, or information as a service (e.g., market developments or changes in legal regulations in the market segment in which the customer operates). You can drive targeted promotions.

Marketing as a growth catalyst

The digitization of outdated sales processes presents marketing departments in the wholesale distribution industry with an opportunity to break out of their niche and work alongside sales and e-commerce teams to drive sales and support customer engagement activities across the end-to-end customer life. can now be grabbed. cycle. Combining our knowledge of marketing tactics with our sales experience creates an unparalleled advantage in meeting today’s high customer expectations.

Susanne Adam is a Principal Solutions Manager for SAP’s Wholesale Sales Division. She has worked with client companies on customer engagement strategies and various projects in the wholesale and retail industry. follow her on her twitter @susanneadam3.

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