A Recap of the February BMA MN Learning Program
The revolution in marketing technology, data analysis, and the resulting innovations and insights are having an impact on B2B channel marketing. In Minnesota, we are fortunate to have a number of creative marketing executives at the forefront of these developments. Several shared their insights and guidance as panel members at a BMA Minnesota breakfast event on February 3, 2015 in Minneapolis.
Here are a few of the provocative and valuable comments shared by panel members. I’ve only skimmed the surface of the 2-plus pages of notes I took during the hour-long program.
Photo courtesy of Brendon Dennewill, CSO @denamico From right to left: Cory Rogers, event moderator and Vice President Business Development, SmartBase Solutions; Heather Anfang, Vice President, Marketing, U.S. Dairy Foods Land O’Lakes; John Peters, Director of Marketing, NuAire; Barbra Merwin, Senior Vice President, Strategic Product Development and Marketing, AmTrust Consumer Services; Chris Hawver, Director of Marketing – America Seagate
1. Capture sales rep/distributor mindshare to drive collaboration
“Know key accounts within all relevant verticals, not just generalities for the segment overall,” advised Chris Hawver, Director of Channel Marketing, North and South America, Seagate. Chris explained that one aspect of this approach is to size each account based on location and number of employees. He then suggested a focus on actual sales penetration versus potential. This account specific approach can help capture sales rep “mindshare” for each target account. “Offering more than a standard profile, helping the distributor understand its own ‘sweet spot’ requires sharing deeper data with the distributor,” will drive closer collaboration, he believes.
Substantial regulatory changes have affected the marketing of consumer services via business partners, such as credit card companies, banks, and others. Barbra Merwin, SVP Strategic Product Development & Marketing, AmTrust Consumer Services explained how her organization responded to this “sea change” in its industry. “We were forced to respond in a fashion that addressed regulatory rules and constraints,” she commented. “We took a hard look at our services, with a focus on customer value. This meant creating a true ‘one-step’ consumer identity protection service that includes credit score monitoring, compliant with all regulations.” And this industry transformation also meant going beyond the traditional B2B2C channel to new channels and direct-to-consumer options.
3. Be proactive with your CRM and marketing automation partners
“We are using Salesforce CRM and Pardot marketing automation to share leads automatically [with our channel partners] when activity occurs on our website,” noted John Peters, Director of Marketing for NuAire. But he also noted constraints in the integration of data from his company’s ERP system, for customer and product data, and from its content management system, for sales and marketing support. “We are being proactive with our Salesforce partner to exploit all existing Salesforce community capabilities,” John commented. But he also expressed a wish for more channel-specific capabilities within current marketing technology.
4. Share insights to give distributors a boost and to drive sales
Extending the Consumer Package Goods (CPG) model for Category Management into Food Services channel management was the innovation shared by Heather Anfang, VP Marketing, US Dairy Foods, Land O’Lakes. “We have some special challenges in the Food Services segment, including less industry-standard market data and some competition from our distributors, who sell their own private-label products, in addition to our branded products.” She explained that Land O’Lakes was able to provide insights and recommendations to a major national distributor, helping it maximize total sales by offering the right assortment of both private-label and branded products. “We believe that our distributors are an extension of the supply chain for the end customer,” Heather noted.
“Providing truly useful data in a ‘non-sales’ environment is valuable,” said Cory Rogers, panel moderator and VP Business Development, SmartBase Solutions.
5. Take action, let’s collaborate
Panelists disagreed on the question of whether to provide printed sales support materials to distributors. But they agreed on the need for a better distributor portal or community for the wide range of potential interactions with distributors. Let’s spark a dialogue - are there Minnesota software entrepreneurs who can address this need? Please take part in the conversation and post a comment to provide insights or recommendations.