Managing a sales channel is already a complex process that requires excellent communication between your brand and its distributors. Typically, the goal is to encourage and reward sales and keep your affiliates invested in your business by offering support and great content to pass on to customers and leads.
During these uncertain times, however, your customer base may be reluctant to spend. Understandably, pushing a hard-sell approach may not yield good results for your brand – now, and in the future. What you can do, however, is help distributors engage their audiences with status updates regarding your business and how it's working to continue serving customers, as well as offer product support, news, and other relevant content that keeps them plugged into your brand.
The Incentivesmart customer loyalty platform – typically used to reward sales distributors and enable them to interact with the brand, can extend to become a central communication hub through which you can stay connected with your sales network. Although your affiliates may not be able to earn sales-related rewards right now, they’re used to engaging with your platform and rely on it as a source of income. It’s important to continue motivating them and nurture their commitment to your organisation. Let’s take a look at how you can achieve this.
Communicate with your sales network about what's going on
Since your distributors are likely to be spread out geographically, you need the means to deliver regular business and trading updates. In a time of crisis, policies and rules are regularly changing – these may severely affect how and when you are able to sell. Your salespeople need to be able to answer their prospects and customers' questions quickly and accurately.
Using Incentivesmart's platform, you can dedicate an area to updates and news. Here, you can keep your network informed about product line statuses, special offers, and available upgrades. You can use many different mediums to get this information across – emails, banners, news articles, and embedded video updates.
Train your distributors
"We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn." – Peter Drucker
While the present may be extremely challenging, eventually, things will stabilise again, and business will resume as normal. To help prepare your salespeople for a strong comeback, help them broaden their knowledge and improve their skillset.
Use your rewards platform as a training tool and invite your distributors to participate in quizzes, complete courses, and read resources that improve their product knowledge.
Investing in your sales team's development is hugely encouraging and enables everyone to look towards the future and remain optimistic.
Create and share a formal customer care plan with your distributors
Your sales channel partners probably operate with relative autonomy – they've built up unique audiences and relationships with their clients and prospects. In a time of uncertainty, however, your brand needs to show a united front.
Use your hub to share a standardised process for dealing with current issues and educating your distributors on best practices when offering support to customers at this time. This will ensure that your end-users receive a high level of assistance and that a consistent brand message is communicated throughout your sales networks.
By encouraging agents to check in with the platform, you can also measure engagement and offer support and resources to your teams so that customers can receive relevant information about your operations, changes to service, and product updates.
Track your distributor's brand engagement
Use this time to delve a little deeper into how your sales networks have been performing, not just in the current climate, but also previously.
Review your distributors' interactions and brand engagement levels via your customer loyalty platform. You may identify networks that could use some extra support from the organisation. Reach out to these groups and offer guidance and resources to help them overcome any hurdles in their sales cycle, or prepare them for a more strategic bounceback once the markets improve.
Communicating with your sales network should be a top priority during times of uncertainty. Your brand values are always reflected in how you treat your people during a shaky period. By keeping everyone engaged and invested in your brand, you'll be able to weather the storm and recover faster, as well as establish a sense of unity amongst your sales network.
To learn more about how Incentivesmart can help you support your sales channel look after your customer base, simply get in touch with us to book a free demo.