Engaging Each Audience in a Distributed Sales Environment

DUSTIN CLARK

Video Transcript

How do we approach strategy for companies that have multiple audiences? If you’re in any type of marketing organization, you’re probably thinking about your ideal customer profile. You’re thinking about different types of buyers. You’re thinking about influencers. You might even be segmenting that by product or service. But if you’re in a type of business that has a distributed sales model where some of your sales take place outside of your control or outside of your visibility. For instance, if you sell to a distributor and then that distributor sells to a contractor to an end consumer, like an end user, whoever that might be, you’re lacking a little bit of that visibility there.

And what that means is it really should be making you think, how do I address these audiences differently? Because as a marketing manager or someone that’s running marketing for your company, you can’t just talk to the distributor and you can’t just talk to the end-user or the consumer. What happens if you were to do that? If you’re just selling to the distributor, and let’s be honest, that might be where you’re tracking your marketing ROI. You’re saying, Oh, well, we sold X amount of product over here. You’re doing a good job in getting your product to the place where it needs to go to your sales force. But are you still creating demand for the people that the distributor sells to?

In many of the B2B2X distributed sales model businesses that we work with, we commonly see that your dealers and your distributors expect you to be creating brand awareness and product or service demand for your product. They want your customer to come into their distributorship, to their dealership, to wherever that sales location is wanting to buy your product. They expect you to deliver them demand. If they don’t, what scenario does that create for you? Well, if your customer comes into a location and is willing to be sold anything, they don’t have a brand or product preference, then that’s a potential for you to lose out on that sale.

So we talked about what that looks like if you’re only marketing to your distributors. Now, if you’re only marketing to your consumers, you might have a lot of people that have brand demand, that have product demand that are going to the sales location and they know that they want you. But if you’re not treating your distributors well, they may not be placing your product well. You may not have point-of-sale materials. There might be something that you’re missing out. Even if that consumer knows that they want your product. You’ve got to have a great relationship with your distributors or your dealers, too.

So why does this matter? If you’re failing to address the different audiences in your distributed sales pipeline, you’re likely leaving some visibility into your sales pipeline. You’re leaving the control of your brand to somebody else. You’re leaving potential sales opportunities because you’re not serving the brand in the demand channels that you need to serve in order to have everybody as part of that distributed sales network being aware of who you are and having a desire to have your products.

This is why when we look at marketing strategy for companies that have complex sales models, we want to dig into the specific audiences they have, not just who that end user is. Or not just who the sales partner is, but really anybody that’s going to touch your product anywhere along that value chain. What’s a good example of this that we see in the real world? Pharma, right? Pharmaceutical companies do a great job of having different strategies and sales activities for consumers. We’re watching videos on YouTube or we’re seeing ads in magazines that are selling directly to us. Come get the new wonder drug. That’s not how they sell to doctors. That’s not how they sell to hospitals. They’ve got a dedicated sales rep that goes in and talks about the benefits of. So you can clearly see in a model like pharmaceuticals that there’s an attack, there’s a specific strategy on how they’re going after consumers. And there’s a very different and very specific strategy on how they’re going after doctors or hospitals.

So I would encourage you, if you’re in some type of business that has distributed sales partners, to think that same way. It doesn’t mean that the activities have to be that stark. In contrast, like they are in pharma. But you should consider what the buying behavior is as well as the customer profile for those different places on the stage. Because they likely need very different types of communication and they’re looking for different types of offers.

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