Time to Read: 5 minutes
Part two of a six-part series
In part one of our six-part series, Is Your Business a Leader or Follower in Channel Marketing, we gave a brief overview of the five key components to answering that question. Today we continue with part two of this series, exploring our first factor, “Do you consider your dealers essential to your success?”
How do you view your distribution network? Are your channel partners viewed as a necessary cog in the figurative wheel, or are they considered essential partners to the success of your business? When you view your dealers as more than just a distribution network, your relationships will be stronger and more resilient through the ups and downs business will bring and will ultimately feel more like a partnership.
There are three main mechanisms and strategies that can help build and sustain strong partnerships with your channel partners:
- Creating strong co-marketing channel programs.
- Communicating consistently and effectively to align your channel partners with your marketing goals, efforts, and strategies.
- Soliciting feedback and listening to your channel partner’s needs on a continuous basis.
When you view your channel partners as partners in your success, you create a circle of trust and everyone wins.
Creating strong co-marketing channel programs:
Helping your channel partners succeed is a great way to strengthen your partnership and creating strong channel marketing programs is a great place to start. Strong channel marketing programs create unique “win-win” scenarios for both parties by providing resources, knowledge, and direction that ultimately helps drive business at the local level.
Before we began working with one of our clients, they came to us with a similar problem. Their main problem was twofold:
- How do they make co-branded promotions more easily accessible to their channel partners?
- How can they help leverage marketing assets to drive demand on the local level?
Our solution? Establish a centralized channel marketing portal where trade partners could easily find, access, and deploy co-branded promotions, and access pre-approved marketing assets. Ultimately, this solution helped boost channel partner satisfaction by 50%+, while also increasing their program adoption rate to 90%+. As demonstrated in the above example, creating strong channel programs that are adapting to the needs of the dealers goes a long way to earning the trust of your channel partners, which builds a stronger partnership.
Tip: Invest in technology to help manage your programs. This will help engage and empower your dealers by simplifying the process.
Communicating consistently and effectively to align your channel partners with your marketing goals, efforts, and strategies:
Did you know, 89% of customers will start doing business with a competitor after a negative service experience? When communication isn’t clear, problems occur, and people search elsewhere. If you consider your channel partners essential to your success, you will strive for strong, effective, communication. This is especially true when your partners are not brand-exclusive and sell multiple brands. Partners will feel more drawn to the brands that invest in their success and communicate effectively. When everyone is in the loop, aligned, and on the same page, a strong bond begins to form.
Tip: To improve your communication with dealers, verbalize key points at the beginning and end of the conversations/meetings, and then follow-up with written communication reiterating those main ideas. This ensures your audience understands the key takeaways from your discussion and helps keep people on the same page.
Soliciting feedback and listening to your channel partner’s needs on a continuous basis:
Do you frequently and consistently solicit feedback from your channel partners? How often, and by what method are you attempting to do so? Feedback is one of the most important elements of any strong partnership. If you don’t know how your partners are feeling and what is working/not working for them, creating programs to support them becomes exponentially more challenging. There are multiple ways you could solicit feedback, but one method is by conducting surveys. Surveys can provide insight into challenges partners are facing, resources/training they may be needing, and so much more. Leaders in channel marketing have their finger on the pulse of their networks and are constantly engaging in the feedback loop to grow and improve their programs. Your dealers want to share their feedback, thoughts, and ideas with you. Be intentional in creating opportunities to hear their voices, learn their challenges, and ultimately invest in their success.
Tip: Find ways to gather your partners’ input, and then act according to what you learn. When your brand reaches out to dealers for feedback on a continuous basis, your partnership will grow stronger. Some ways to do this include:
- Website Survey
- Phone Interview
Viewing your partners as essential to your success is a great start because, in reality, this can lead to strong and secure relationships. When you view your dealers as more than just a distribution network, business booms and everyone wins. Let us know some strategies you have used to establish better partnerships with your channel partners by commenting below or contacting us here. Stay tuned for part three of our six-part series where we will discuss “Do Your Dealers View You as Essential to Their Success?” We would love to hear from you. If you want to talk further about this topic or have any other questions about your channel programs, give us a call at (319)-294-8009 or email us at email@example.com.
Corporate Marketing Specialist