Your distribution channels are key to success! With them, you’re able to maximise your profits and grow your business sustainably. However, much of this success depends on the relationship you build with them and the support you offer to effectively practise sales enablement. Utilising a set of tried and tested best practices will help you to achieve consistent results that have a range of positive knock-on effects, such as:
- Access to more data and insights into your customers or consumers.
- More brand education opportunities.
- Cost efficiency for future sales and marketing campaigns.
- Better end-user experience.
So, to get started we've outlined four best practices you should be using when building a powerful distribution network.
#1: Provide a knowledge hub
When distributors truly understand your brand and your product range, it makes their own sales process easier. No one wants to push a brand that they lack confidence in since it could create more admin and complexities in refunding and processing returned goods.
Creating an easy-to-use portal that's tailored for your sales channels will give them easy access to all the product information they need and the necessary tools to market your brand to their customers. You can share news, product updates and step-by-step guides to help them streamline their sales process and anticipate all the likely questions that buyers may have regarding your brand. Your distributors will appreciate a clear and concise resource hub that they can dip in and out of instead of having to call or email every time a question arises. This way, they can become true brand advocates!
#2: Provide training
To truly maximise your profits, you need to focus on sales optimisation. But how can you ensure that your busy distribution network––that already handles a wide variety of similar brands––is motivated to promote your products? Why should they choose you and not a competitor? The answer is simple - it’s all about keeping them informed!
Adequate training will ensure that your sales channel don’t rely on outdated or generic sales tactics to bump your product onto their buyers. When you provide thorough training to your distributors through workshops, seminars, and online course material, you will help to keep them engaged with your company values and the vision you have for your brand.
It's essential to train them in every facet of the sales process, including how to handle complaints and returns––remember, your distributors become the face of your brand, so empowering them with the right tools will ensure that you're never misrepresented. But remember to make it FUN and ENGAGING!
#3: Motivate your sales channel with the right reward programme
Although your distributors are likely to say they want cash incentives, many studies have shown this tends to be out of default and that they are actually undervalued and do little to produce long term results. They are costly to not only your business, but even the recipient who has to pay tax on them. To encourage your distributors to take up training, stay engaged with your campaigns and initiatives, and keep aligned with your brand's values, investing in an incentivisation programme is a great idea.
Use a reward platform that enables distributors to collect points towards a reward that provides genuine value to them. Instead of sending a generic end-of-year "thank you" package to a distributor, you can give them the freedom to choose a personalised gift that they actually want! This creates a deeper level of engagement and satisfaction. A reward programme could be the key differentiator between your product and that of competitors, so be sure to leverage this powerful asset in your favour and keep distributors engaged with your brand above all others.
#4 Help them to understand their customer data
Customer data is one of the most significant resources for any business. Learning how to collect, interpret, and act on the insights your company generates through customer interactions provides a substantial competitive advantage.
Unfortunately, many companies have an insufficient focus on their data and let many opportunities slip through the crack. Your marketing strategy should highlight the KPIs and customer trends that require attention, but that information is no use if you don't share it with your distribution channel and teach them how to use it.
Take the time to help your sales channel understand the data coming in from their own CRM and its relation to the sales opportunities they should be looking out for when promoting your brand. Teach them to review customers' purchase history and identify the upselling and cross-selling opportunities that are waiting to be seized. By leveraging the freely available data, you could DOUBLE your profits through simple customer retention and experience enhancement tactics.
When you provide your sales channel with the right information and sales enablement tools, you help build a profitable long-term relationship that's beneficial to everyone involved. Discord between what you envision for your brand and what actually happens when it moves through your distribution network could be hugely detrimental. That's why putting these four best practices into play is essential for your business's success and growth.
So, what are you waiting for?! It’s time to start developing those relationships!
If you want to learn more about how you can get the best results from your distributors and expand your market share, contact us here.