A new study has found that approximately 56 percent of jan/san distributors believe the Internet has improved their overall sales efforts. However, the quality of leads produced by the Internet could still be better, participants agreed.

The study was commissioned by Enviro-Solutions, a manufacturer of Green cleaning products based in Ontario, Canada. It was conducted online, June 1-10, 2006, by AlturaSolutions Communications e-Poll, a Chicago marketing and communications firm specializing in the jan/san and building industries.

More than 600 jansan distributors were contacted by e-mail and invited to participate. Although not considered scientific, the results do provide an insight into jan/san distributors' thoughts about the Internet in their sales efforts, now and in the future.

The respondents were evenly divided as to the effectiveness of the Internet as far as boosting sales. Twenty-eight percent indicated the Internet has definitely boosted sales, while another 28 percent indicated: "the Net has helped, but only somewhat."

What about the Leads?
"Most of the survey questions focused on where jansan distributors get their leads, the quality of the leads, and their thoughts about the Internet as a marketing tool," says Mike Sawchuk, vice president and general manager of Enviro-Solutions.

According to the survey:
• Nearly 41 percent of all distributor online sales leads now come from manufacturers' Web sites
• Slightly more than 27 percent of the leads come from the distributors' own Web sites
• About 31 percent are derived from industry-specific online publications or trade associations
• Only 9 percent categorized the quality of Internet leads as "excellent," while 22 percent rated them "good." The majority cited the leads as "fair" (39.13 percent) or "poor" (30.43 percent).

"Although many jan/san distributors believe the quality of Internet leads has been somewhat disappointing, it appears the overwhelming majority believe the Internet will become even more vital to their sales efforts in the future," says Sawchuk.

In fact, he says, the survey found that nearly 95 percent believe the Internet's role as a source of leads will increase in the coming years.