As much of marketing moves online, businesses consistently ask themselves how they can translate their once-offline marketing techniques to an online world. While field sales agents are asked to hunt down leads and make personal, one-on-one connections, online marketing is more automated, scalable, and trackable.
There’s plenty of talk on how to improve conversion rates in eCommerce and online. Oftentimes, however, we forget to ask what field sales representatives can learn from online marketing. After all, marketing will likely never be fully online, so it makes sense to put just as much effort into honing your offline marketing skills.
So, we ask the question: What can field sales teams learn from online marketing? In this article, we discuss 5 different ways field team managers can encourage their reps to learn from online tactics and translate them into real life.
For eCommerce businesses with a brick-and-mortar location, getting customers into the store is a big focus of some marketing campaigns. There are in-store-only deals, special events, and even just the convenience of having the product right away.
Imagine what could happen if they worked together!
While online marketing is trying to send people in-store, offline marketing can work to send people online. There are similar ways to encourage those leads to get online, including signing them up for a newsletter or email marketing campaign, providing online-only coupons, and entering an online giveaway. Shopping online and in-store both have pros and cons. Allowing customers to choose based on what will motivate them to visit (with some added incentives) is what’s important.
2. Use the Data
One of the major benefits of online marketing is the mass amounts of demographic data you’re able to collect about your customers. Why not use it for more than just offline marketing?
Yes, there will be differences between your online and offline leads, but there will be similarities too. Age, gender, geographic location, interests, all of it can help field sales reps generate new leads and potentially target new audiences. Even if the demographics don’t correlate perfectly, you’ll learn new things about who your audience is and isn’t, online and offline. Major eCommerce marketing trends in 2019, such as user-generated content and eco-friendly packaging, have just as much application in field sales as they do online. If your reps are making a sales presentation, why not rely on customers’ actual stories, whether through a LinkedIn blog post or a tweet? If your target demographic is concerned about global warming, why wouldn’t you want to talk about what your company is doing to help the environment, be it working remotely or going paperless?
At the end of the day, all you’re really doing is forming a connection with people, and that’s the best kind of sales tactic there is.
Online marketing is filled with opportunities to upsell to customers. There are campaigns with minimum spends for free shipping, bundles that are cheaper than buying the individual components (but rack up that average order total), and discounts with minimum spends. The best upsell always gets the customer to spend more, buy more products, and feel like they’re getting a great value for their money at the same time.
When’s the last time you took that approach with your field sales team?
Field sales representatives can incorporate this into their strategies just as easily. Many of the same discounts can be applied online or offline, and you can even brainstorm bonuses that would only be available to those offline leads.
4. Automatic Follow-Up
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I’m sure you’re familiar with that type of email — many businesses will send out an automatically generated email to potential customers who left with a full cart and never clicked “buy.” It can be a great way to reel them back in, and as an added bonus, some will even include a coupon code to further encourage the follow-through. So what can field sales teams do?
The follow-up email is so effective because it’s targeted, relevant, and keeps the products at top of mind. Wherever your offline lead generation is one-on-one, consider implementing a similar automatic follow-up system with leads that they couldn’t get to commit.
A similar technique could even work for offline marketing with a wide audience! Think of how you can remind potential customers of a campaign and see if you can get them to say yes.
Finally, measurability. Many consider the success of offline marketing to be much more difficult to measure than online marketing. How do you count how many people saw a billboard? How do you know if the lead you targeted is buying because they saw your Facebook ad or your newspaper ad? Field sales is more one-on-one than that, but it can still be difficult to track without some effort and creativity.
Consider implementing some techniques that can help with tracking. How do your field sales reps generate and pursue leads? You may be able to use Google Analytics to your advantage. If they target in specific areas, you can use geofilters. For a rough estimate, you can see what the direct hits are on your website (assuming they didn’t get there from an email campaign or social media ad click).
You could also use custom link URLs, so when your field sales rep targets certain leads, they can give those leads a unique URL to follow, and you can easily see how many visitors found you through that link. Related to this, you can provide custom discount codes just for offline leads, or targets of a certain offline ad campaign, and track success that way. Get creative!
Conclusion: Offline versus Online?
It may be presented as a competition, but frequently there is much more to gain when offline and online marketing work together. While online marketing has been a game-changer in the marketing landscape, offline marketing will always be around, and adopting successful strategies from either world can lead to big wins.
Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of ecommerce. He has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.