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Norgren boosts sales, e-mail marketing ROI using real-time data

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Objectives: Norgren Ltd. needed a program to get its existing distributors and resellers more excited about its products, so it could boost its sales in a short period of time.

Strategy: The company developed an e-mail marketing program that combined individual sales goals, personalized updates about those goals and a carrot in the form of a video I-Pod.

Results: Norgren’s e-mail marketing program realized a nearly 400% return on its investment. Anecdotally, the company also strengthened its ties with resellers.

Norgren Ltd., with U.S. headquarters in Littleton, Colo., manufactures motion and fluid control technologies including valves that are primarily used by engineers. It sells its products direct as well as via a reseller channel. Last fall, the company wanted to boost its reseller sales, so in conjunction with interactive agency Nicholson Kovac, Norgren designed a new nine-week e-mail newsletter program called “Pump Up the Volume” to spur additional distributor activity.

Before the program got under way, each Norgren distributor was assigned an individual sales goal based on its previous-quarter sales. Under the program, according to the e-mail campaign, distributors that met their goals by the end of the fourth quarter would win a video I-Pod. Norgren would provide them with sales collateral to make their jobs a little easier.

The e-mail newsletters, which went out weekly to about 400 distributorship managers and C-suite officers, took advantage of personalization. Messages went out with customized “to” and “from” fields and were signed by each distributor’s inside sales rep. The messages also contained personal progress reports as well as a page of product and sales information, including links so distributors could order sales support materials. The goal-tracking personal progress reports were graphical and included the specific 90-day goal, a dollars-sold figure and a percentage of goal completed statistic.

The newsletter also profiled a featured product each week, and sometimes included bonus-with-purchase offers such as a free fittings cabinet that could be passed on to the resellers’ own high-purchase customers. Distributors could click through to additional product information as well. Another key feature: inside salespeople knew when the blasts were going out so they could follow up with outside distributors providing another point of contact.

“The information was really compelling because it was real-time data,” said Thom Ludtke, Nicholson Kovac’s VP-account group director. “They didn’t have to go clicking anywhere or go to a microsite. They knew exactly how close to their goals they really were.”

This helped create an ROI of more than 400%, Ludtke said. The program was so successful, in fact, that Norgren kept the program going after the nine-week mark.

“It really came down to the fact that Norgren could talk to its reps and tell them, ‘This is the way you can stay on track with your goals; you should do this,’ ” Ludtke explained. “It was about rewarding them, but also bettering their abilities to sell Norgren products.”

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