How Can I Build Upon My Relationships with Channel Partners?
A strong channel is invaluable. Like the yellow brick road, it is the path forward, and no alternative – no matter how much time or hope you invest into it – will get you to quite the same destination.
But each brick needs to be laid one at a time – it needs to be aligned with the rest and checked regularly to avoid signs of wear and tear from making it appear – well, like any old road going anywhere.
We’re not off to see the wizard, but we are heading toward the ultimate goal – the purpose of this whole endeavour – and, for that, we need the entire channel from here to there to be healthy, engaged, and working on the same wavelength.
For that reason alone, cultivating and maintaining strong relationships is fundamental to taking advantage of all the promised benefits of a diverse distribution channel. In short, it’s all about creating and sustaining B2B loyalty. Here’s what you need to know.
Are you keeping the ultimate consumer in mind?
Forging strong relationships for the sake of forging strong relationships is all well and good, but, in business, any worthwhile relationship will be built on the strongest foundation of all – a clear, committed understanding of that shared goal: the final customer in the chain.
Your channel no doubt comprises a diverse array of businesses, from wholesalers to traditional retailers. You need to lean into the shared interest – centre everything around the most compelling talking-point you have, or you’ll just end up having an unmemorable conversation about the weather or the journey on the tube.
Customer-centricity is the gift that keeps on giving in many respects, and your channel partner relationships are certainly no exception.
But this is all very abstract – how do you manage those communications, keep them consistent, and properly convey your shared philosophy to your channel?
Are you investing enough into your channel marketing?
You can only serve the end-customer if you are properly engaging the entire length of the channel, and you can’t properly engage the entire length of your channel without a consistent and scalable approach to channel marketing.
There’s a common misconception that B2B marketing needs to look radically different to traditional B2C marketing, but the fundamentals are the same whether you’re looking to engage an individual or a conglomeration.
One of the most compelling reasons to invest more into marketing is attracting new customers – but, in reality, what’s even more compelling is the potential to use B2B loyalty marketing to get more out of your existing customers. And that’s true whether you’re in B2B or B2C.
When it comes to scalability, ROI, and results, the best focus for your channel marketing efforts is a B2B customer loyalty programme – one that represents a strong platform on which members of your distribution channel can develop a genuine sense of engagement with your brand.
B2B loyalty is fundamental to retention not just because it offers some sort of benefit to staying, but because, if it’s strong enough, it can lead to customers forming an emotional connection and enthusiasm for your brand. It means you’re consistently at the forefront of their thoughts, as well as demonstrating to them that you are just as invested into their experience as much as the ultimate consumer’s.
Finally, are you investing enough into their development?
Training is everything. That’s not a statement that can be diluted more and more the longer (and more self-sufficient) your channel is.
Not only does training bring with it the obvious benefits for efficiency, sales, and the customer experience, but a steady investment into training and development clearly signals an ongoing investment into them.
It’s about regarding each member of your channel as a crucial member of your channel – and the only way to avoid that message ringing hollow is to make an investment of time, tools, resources, and attention.
What’s that old saying? Actions speak louder than words. Keep that at the very forefront of your mind as you work toward better, stronger, and more profitable relationships with your channel partners. Training is a form of investment, and it represents the most effective way of spreading your brand’s values and commitments across the length of the channel.
Is there a solution to all this you may ask? Well, we’ve been providing advice and support along with our award-winning customer loyalty platform to manufacturers, distributors, and resellers for over 18 years, so we’ve got some real good insight into how to maximise your channel relationships using reward to drive the desired behaviours. If you feel this is something missing from your customer acquisition and retention strategy, let us show you how you could solve this and bring you some new data and insight to help steer your marketing strategy. Book a chat with Matt below.
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