Thinking Differently About Sales and Marketing Technology
By Bill Skowronski
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Thinking Differently About Sales and Marketing Technology
Mid-market companies voice many of the same concerns related to sales and marketing technology.
They realize that it’s not enough anymore to simply “have a presence” online. They want to use tech to break into new markets, attract the right buyers and ultimately drive revenue.
They want actionable business insights that help them make data-driven decisions. And when these companies think about digital transformation, they’re targeting operational efficiency and process improvements as much as revenue.
The point is, they’re not just thinking about technology as their website and they aren’t thinking about their website as a standalone tool—not anymore.
Thinking About B2B Sales and Marketing Technology Strategically
Companies like Becker Aviation began building a digital transformation strategy even before the pandemic hit their industry harder than most.
The national stocking distributor began with a set of guiding questions tied to business objectives.
- How can we make our customers’ buying experience easier?
- How can we increase the number of products customers purchase and sell more of our most profitable products?
- How can we attract customers from new markets?
- How can we use email, online advertising, and our website to increase revenue?
Prior to 2018, Becker Aviation customers couldn’t order the ground fueling equipment they needed online. It was then that Vice President, Doug Kerkman, started the journey to become the Amazon of the aviation industry by shifting its customers’ B2B experience to more of a B2C experience.
“If we learned anything in the last five years, it’s that people really want to buy what they need online when and where it’s convenient for them,” Kerkman said. “Aviation buyers are no different. We had to meet them where they were. And that was online.
“Amazon is a distributor, like us,” Kerkman said. “They don’t make products. They make products available–and really easy to buy. We wanted to give our customers that experience.”
Using Sales and Marketing Technology to Put Customer Experience First
Over the phone and in person Becker customers have always gotten world-class service. But online, the website was more of a company brochure than a sales tool.
For Becker to start doing business online, Red Caffeine designed a new e-commerce website and worked with CIMCloud to develop and launch it so the site highlighted all 16 manufacturer brands Becker carries with a catalog of more than 700 aviation ground fueling products organized into 12 categories.
Within a few months of the website’s launch, Becker enacted a digital marketing strategy behind it in 2019.
Beyond making it easy for customers to find and buy what they need, Becker Aviation’s e-commerce site will leverage backend integrations with its inventory software to highlight top-selling products, display a live view of available inventory, and recommend related products other customers recently purchased.
The new website now features a “favorites” feature when shopping, an available order history so customers can quickly reorder products, as well as a “featured” products section on the homepage.
“The technology we used to serve customers had to change,” Kerkman added. “At the same time, we didn’t want to lose sight of the way we serve customers because that personal approach is a big part of what makes us who we are.”
In 2022, Becker launched an automated email campaign to personally welcome every first-time buyer with a message from Kerkman. The outreach set the stage for the relationship to come with a handful of service-focused messages over a six-week period.
In its first year, the campaign consistently earned an impressive 35% open rate and a 4% click-through rate.
At the same time, as part of an account-based marketing program aimed at acquiring more Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) as customers, Becker also leveraged Red Caffeine’s proprietary list-building software to build a targeted list of purchasing contacts around the country.
The multi-touch campaign introduced Becker to hundreds of FBOs through an automated email sequence, a landing page, and a physical package of SWAG delivered via direct mail.
Maximizing Advertising ROI With Data Analytics
Red Caffeine digital marketing experts analyze SEO and pay-per-click campaign data each month, highlight areas of opportunity, and make strategic recommendations in order to ensure the insights are actionable.
As a result, Becker now routinely outranks aviation ground fueling OEMs in search engine results for their own products thanks to its closely monitored SEO and PPC programs.
Buy-in is the Secret to Sales and Marketing Technology Success
From the warehouse to the front offices, Becker’s entire company has embraced technology in a big way.
Since the site launched in 2018, annual web sales have increased 300% while unique web users and web transactions have also both followed similar trendlines.
By strategically building an easier online buying experience and maintaining the same level of personalized customer service upon which it built its brand, Becker had a record year in 2022 and has continued its digital transformation and growth into the first quarter of 2023.
Key Sales and Marketing Technology Takeaways
- “Having a presence” isn’t enough if you want to drive online revenue.
- Give B2B customers a B2C buying experience online.
- Technology investments should include more than website design.
- An e-commerce website should be integrated with your sales platform, customer database, email automation, customer service, advertising, and social media to align messaging with business goals.
- Make live inventory levels visible on your e-commerce website to create a sense of urgency and increase the share of the wallet.
- Leverage automation to regularly email customers with up-to-date inventory reports showing the products you have available that may be hard to find anywhere else.
- Ensure data analytics include actionable insights.