Increasing distributor sales requires cohesive strategy between all the players in the system, and it's not easy. A seamless marketing plan can close the gaps and improve a distributor's overall profits.The “inbound methodology”, explained in very simple terms, goes something like this: Instead of spending tons of money on advertising, the best way to make sales is to develop useful content that helps consumers make their buying decision. If your website has the solution to buyers’ problems, they’ll stay on your website to make a purchase.
It’s easy to apply this method to a marketing plan for a software or roof repair company selling directly to consumers, but the inbound methodology can also help distributors develop sales relationships with dealers and storefronts. To examine this method and its application to a distributors’ selling process, let’s look closely at the three players: the distributor, the dealer, and the direct-to-consumer seller.
Following “inbound methodology”, the distributor develops useful content to establish their brand and “thought leadership”, or establishes the distributor as the industry leader and expert on the subject. As you publish this content on networks like LinkedIn, you begin to stand out and build trust with your network. Since buyers go through 57% of the buying processbefore even talking to sales, it’s important that you build this trust on the front end. It also makes your job as a salesman much easier.
The content you develop should answer these questions:
How much profit can be made selling your products?
How does your product compare financially to competitors’ products?
Does your company provide additional marketing tools or funds to help sell the products?
What need does this product fulfill for the consumer?
For the distributor, inbound marketing increases sales by building trust and speeds up the sales process by giving clients useful information before they call.
The distributor’s goals are focused on profit margins, but both the distributor and the dealer are also focused on the end goal- sales to the consumer. According to AdWeek, 81% of products are researched online before they are purchased. Inbound marketing creates greater opportunities for the consumer to find the product online. When they find the product, and connect it with the useful content you’ve provided, they’re not responding to persuasive advertising, they’re responding to the trust you’ve built as an industry expert.
For the dealer, inbound marketing casts a wider net for consumers to find your product and content online, where the consumer will start the search for the dealer’s product.
A major aspect of inbound marketing is the use of social media to delight customers and use customers to promote the brand online via their networks. As we all know, word-of-mouth is the best type of marketing, and social media is “digital word-of-mouth”. As more and more customers use social media each day, it’s important to have the direct-to-consumer brand there.
In addition, inbound optimizes the brand's search engine rankings. 80% of all product searches begin online, so it’s important to be there so to not miss out on those buyers’ journeys.
For the direct-to-consumer seller, inbound marketing creates promoters out of customers via social media.
Inbound marketing is a proven practice in improving sales for distributors. According to a case study by HubSpot, famous rifle manufacturer Beretta was able to convert 76% of website visitors to customers using inbound marketing. Additionally, on the direct-to-consumer level, it was able to convert 15% of social media visitors to consumers. How will you use inbound to break out in your industry as a distributor with an effective business marketing strategy?