I’m the marketing director at Distribion, Inc., a leading provider of marketing automation solutions for large, complex marketing organizations that use multi-channel marketing to reach their audience — nearly always with help from a distributed sales force of internal and external local sales reps.
I’ve spent a lot of time recently looking at the metrics, analytics and statistics we’ve gathered in working with over 125 customers and 150,000 users. One of the reasons is that I’ve been looking at the 25% growth we achieved in the six months since I joined the company. No, I’m not taking credit for the growth. It was a team effort, and my own contributions were relatively small given that I’ve been here only about 180 days, and our industry has 90-120 day sales cycles.
Understanding why we’re growing is critical to continuing to grow, of course, and to telling the story in a compelling way that will encourage more customers to join us in the future. As I’ve looked at the business cases that our customers put together to convince corporate management to invest in marketing automation, and the messages we’ve sent out that resonated, four things are crystal clear.
First, marketing is the last section in many corporations where business process automation is being adopted. I see many, many companies with two, four, six, or more different products to manage different sections of their marketing operations. They have one for PR, one for list management, a different one for email, and probably one for CRM or sales force automation. Chances are that their local or regional branches, or their sales organization has a different system. Some have a digital asset manager, a content management system, or a sales portal.
What they lack is a comprehensive solution that links disparate point solutions and delivers real, measurable results. The graphic at the beginning of this blog post shows the four areas we’ve identified where the right distributed marketing automation platform can deliver value:
- Increasing marketing efficiencies, by allowing marketers to do more with fewer resources (internal or external). For instance, one of our customers said that they saved more than $100,000 just by cutting down on the rush charges they were paying to an outside agency for localizing collateral for regional offices. Putting corporate marketing materials online, and allowing local offices to add their own logos, addresses, and phone numbers, saved a tremendous amount of time and money for them.
- Reducing compliance costs, by cutting down on the number of steps required to get a message approved and out the door. Think of what you’d save if legal didn’t have to sign off on every email campaign, or review every localized version of a brochure. In a regulated industry with state and federal compliance issues — or in a global corporation with multi-national marketing — this can be huge.
- Reducing support and maintenance costs is one obvious place where a single solution linking (or eliminating) separate point solutions can have an impact.
- Increasing sales conversions is the metric that management often wants most. Saving money is great, but increasing revenue at the same time is even better, right? A comprehensive marketing automation platform does that by linking corporate marketing — which has the vision, the strategy, and the creative — directly with the local sales rep, who has the contacts, the trust, and the relationship with the prospective customer. And by giving both corporate and local the tools they need to get the right message to the right prospect, through the customer’s channel of choice, quickly.
If you’d like to hear more about the research and the value proposition I’ve been putting together at work, check out this online flip book I put together.