Tuesday, May 12, 2015

MDC DOT Provides Marketing Automation for Direct Salespeople

I briefly mentioned MDC Dot in an earlier blog post about giving sales people access to marketing automation capabilities. This may not have done them justice since they are more specialized than that general description implied. What MDC Dot really does is serve organizations that wrangle a herd of independent sales people, like financial advisors or direct sales representatives. Those firms have very specific requirements for balancing central control over content and brand image with the agents’ desire for flexibility and personal client relationships. It’s actually a crowded space, with companies like Balihoo and MindMatrix competing aggressively for sales. What sets MDC Dot apart is that it targets organizations where the sales people have modest skills, modest needs, and even more modest budgets.  Pricing starts at $15 per month per salesperson for a database of up to 500 active contacts and reaching a still-modest $90 per month for 10,000 active contacts.

Beyond low price, MDC Dot offers two key capabilities to suit its target audience. The first is a structure that links customers to their original salesperson, even if they later contact the organization through a Web search or visit to the corporate Web site. This is especially important for businesses that pay commissions to the customer’s original salesperson. MDC Dot does this by tagging each customer with the original salesperson’s ID and then ensuring that customer is sent back to the salesperson’s own microsite when they return. The initial tagging and subsequent redirection both require inserting some MDC Dot code onto whatever content the salesperson uses for the initial customer interaction. The redirection works best when the corporate Web site and the salespeople’s microsites are all on a subdomain hosted by MDC Dot.

The second key feature makes it easy for sales people to use content created by the central marketing team by automatically inserting tags such as the salesperson’s name and contact information. This customized content can include entire microsites, landing pages, emails, campaign flows, and social media posts. Salespeople can also set up their own contents.

Beyond these special features, MDC Dot also provides basic contact management including notes, tasks, tags, attachments, and activity tracking. Users can send emails, which come from the user’s own domain. Reports show email and Web activities, campaign results, and customers at each stage of the sales funnel. Screens are designed for simplicity and mobile devices. The interface is designed with the target of no more than three mouse clicks to accomplish any one task.

Corporate users can see the list of salespeople they are managing, along with performance statistics for each user. They can’t see the actual customers in the salesperson’s database. Corporate users also have tools to build email and social content and to set up contact sequences. These sequences are what puts the "dot" in MDC Dot: they’re built by connecting “Qualification Dots” to assign sequence members (all contacts, by contact type, via campaign manager, via sequence group), “Activity Dots” to react to behaviors within the sequence (opened an email, clicks an email, or visited a Web page, or not), and “Action Dots” to either send an email or transfer customers to another sequence group.

Sequences are built by connecting the dots (get it?). As you may have noticed, the set of available dots is pretty limited, although they are adequate to create basic email campaigns. At the moment each sequence can contain just one “Activity Dot” split, but multiple splits should be available later this year. Several sequences can be assigned to the same campaign and execute in priority order. This allows more complex treatments despite the simple design of the individual sequences.

The system also can do basic lead scoring and assign prospects to sales funnel stages. It lacks segmentation tools, although users can build an on-screen list of customers based on tags and then add the listed customers to campaigns. Landing pages must currently be built by the vendor. Tools to let users build their own filters and landing pages are under development.

MDC Dot was introduced in December 2014 and currently has more than 2,000 paying end users.

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