Last month, we covered some of the reasons distribution channel partners may not value your brand as highly as you'd like them to. These reasons include miscommunication, lacking B2B customer data, mismatched partnership and not engaging channel partners. This month, let's sink our teeth into distribution channel strategy. What can you change about your channel marketing and partnerships to make your distribution channel partners more loyal?
Create a consistent consumer experience from start to finish.
Reinforce your brand tone, imagery, language, and values wherever you can. For example, if one of your brand values is empowering and educating customers to make their own informed decisions, offer content on your site that teaches them. Leverage benefits and loyalty incentives to reward distribution partners for working with you to create mutually beneficial and brand-enforced marketing and sales efforts.
Gather customer data to create the marketing, experiences, and offerings customers want to see.
Work toward a “master” record of each customer and include as much accurate, up-to-date information in that record as you can. Integrate sales and marketing tools such as incentive programs with customer master records or CRM to better track their purchase habits and identify their business needs. Create targeted marketing campaigns, develop better relationships, and anticipate customer’s needs to become a valued resource and trusted advisor.
Tailor your approach to different tiers of distributors.
When implementing a distributor loyalty strategy, it’s useful to use a flexible online loyalty software that allows you to separate distributors into different groups and aim specific sales promotions at them based on those groups. An online reward point program with a merchandise rewards catalog encourages long-term buying because participants accumulate reward points over time. Another benefit is in its flexibility. Participants can spend reward points on smaller items like movie tickets, or they can save up for “big pay-off” rewards like a new refrigerator or TV.
Engage, educate, and listen.
Start conversations! Utilize forums, LinkedIn or Facebook Groups, Twitter, content on your website, or loyalty program marketing to have more meaningful interactions with your partners.
Make education rewarding. Offer them rewards for completing online training quizzes, earning certifications, watching training videos, even just participating in daily trivia that keeps their knowledge fresh.
Ask for your distributors’ feedback. Hear them out and utilize this information to improve your program and give your partners a better customer experience.
Recognize when it’s time to end distribution channel partnerships.
Know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. The more you discover about your distribution partners through data acquisition and relationship management, the clearer it may become that your partner doesn’t have the same values as you, will never push your products, doesn’t recognize your value, etc. Your time, money, and attention will pay off if you find a partner whose interest and values are aligned with yours.
With vendors’ never-ending choices of distributors, it’s hard to stand out in the competition and create lasting partnerships. This is why you need to inspire brand loyalty with your channel partners. Create consistent branding, messaging, and perform actions across the board. Choose the right partners and make the right investment in them. Utilize customer data, tailor your marketing to different tiers of distributors, and engage and educate your partners.