Electronic Components Distributors Turn Strategy into Targeted Sales Actions with Campaign Manager™
Last week we announced the release of our newest application – Zilliant Campaign Manager™. The solution expands the possibilities for B2B revenue and margin growth by giving users the ability to scope, prioritize and refine desired campaign actions fueled by AI or custom user-defined actions.
Customers can generate these actions from Zilliant IQ engines (Sales IQ™, Price IQ®, Cart IQ™) or Zilliant Price Manager™ or upload custom-defined actions from any source and publish those actions into any business system, including Zilliant Deal Manager™ and Sales Planner™. Common campaign action types include recovery and growth, win-back, excess inventory, product substitution, whitespace/prospecting and contract compliance, to name a few.
Let’s dive into two of these action types in the context of electronic components distribution to highlight the value.
Campaign Manager Action: Inventory
An eternal concern for electronic components distributors is the short lifecycle of many of the products they carry. Rapid innovation tends to make this Spring’s hot product old news by Fall. Old news means bad news when it’s collecting dust on your warehouse shelves. The inventory conundrum has been made trickier by COVID-19, as unpredictable supply and demand cycles have gotten in the way of optimal inventory planning.
When you have inventory that is nearing end-of-life, it is vital to ensure your sales team is doing everything it can to sell it. To support sales in those efforts, marketing and sales operations teams must first gain a complete view of current and upcoming distressed inventory, then match those items to the customers most likely to purchase. These campaigns often call for surgical price decreases to incentivize buying. Simply collecting all the relevant data to inform an inventory campaign is a massive hurdle for these operations teams. Beyond that, even the most precise fact-finding mission tends to fall short due to insufficiently communicated campaigns that don’t get properly executed.
Sales IQ uses advanced data science to uncover inventory and transaction patterns at a level of scale and accuracy that a team of analysts can’t match. The engine analyzes customers’ historical sales trends and last date of purchase for a particular product to highlight those customers most likely to buy excess inventory. Ops teams can make these insights actionable in Campaign Manager by scoping, filtering and prioritizing customer actions and publishing them in Sales Planner or their seller interface of choice. Additionally, these actions can be sent to a marketing automation tool for direct account-based email marketing campaigns or presented to customers directly through eCommerce channels.
With Sales IQ and Campaign Manager, electronic components distributors have an easy option for clearing excess inventory, helping them improve inventory turns, reduce overhead costs and make space for newer product lines.
Campaign Manager Action: Recovery
A chronic source of heartburn for distributors in this industry is the problem of widespread customer churn. At MindShare 2020, we heard from an electronic components distributor who reported 30% annual churn prior to investing in Sales IQ several years ago. The recovery insights produced by Sales IQ significantly reversed this trend for them by identifying “at-risk” customers who are starting to defect, before a buying exodus gets out of control. Defection generally occurs one or two product categories at a time, as your competition picks off your customer spend gradually. Sales IQ identifies precisely where revenue is declining at the product category level, for reasons other than normal seasonality, across all products and customers so that immediate corrective action can be taken. This tried-and-true formula has helped Zilliant customers halt churn and recover business for nearly a decade.
Now, with the introduction of Campaign Manager, these types of insights become actions for the sales team faster and more flexibly than ever before. We’ve significantly increased the ability for analysts to perform highly targeted campaigns against Sales IQ insights. Campaign Manager’s self-service approach allows users to direct recovery actions to subsets of customers, products, regions and more, through advanced scoping and filtering capabilities.
For instance, if Sales IQ alerts you that multiple customers across North America have started to buy fewer fiber optic transmitters from you, sales management can now build a campaign to halt that churn at a level of granularity that fully reflects the overarching business strategy. Rather than pushing out a blanket discount on transmitters nationwide, recovery actions can be prioritized based on revenue impact, inventory, strategic focus points or other user-defined criteria. Perhaps your strategy is to get more aggressive in the Midwest: you can scope the opportunity by region and set thresholds based on how much (or how little) early defecting business you want your sales team to go after. Prior to publishing, you can run a what-if analysis to understand which actions you are going to trigger, then review and publish in minutes to create new actions in each impacted sales reps’ CRM instance.
Spotting defection at the product category level across your entire book of business is hard. Winning back lost business is even harder. Sales IQ and Campaign Manager work together to put visibility and control into the hands of electronic components distributors to solve the churn problem.