Supporting Channel Partners Through Market Instability
As the pandemic and global conflicts continue to disrupt supply chains, the growing backlog of critical manufacturing materials is hitting nearly every industry. To add insult to injury, empty shelves, global instability, and inflation have accelerated changes in consumer behavior as well. The continued challenges - with no end in sight - are making it more important than ever for companies to fully support channel partners through honest communications and effective expectation management.
The constant shifts, lack of inventory, and market instabilities are driving an immediate need for businesses to:
- Offer real-time, up-to-date information to both partners and customers
- Implement digital innovations to manage constant changes
- Attempt to predict potential shifts and barriers to success
- Respond quickly to stay one step ahead of competitors
- Offer the best possible customer service
As daunting as it all may seem, there are steps a business can take to ensure independent dealers and customers are supported through these trying times. Below are a few ways to help build better relationships with your dealers, and offer an optimal brand experience to your customers.
Communication is key
A strong partnership is built on a foundation of trust and accountability. It’s essential, especially during instability and uncertainty, that honest, reliable information about all current and future challenges is conveyed. Keep information flowing to your partners through training opportunities, sales collateral, local advertising, lead generation, and sales incentives. Also, keep in mind that many smaller independent dealers may not have the money or means to create sales collateral, so make sure they have easy access to well-branded collateral.
Support materials for internal and external use include:
- Training documentation
- “How-to” selling videos
- Sales scripts
- Fact sheets
- Spec sheets
- Pricing packets
- Comparative competitive information
- Customer stories and testimonials
Don’t stop at the above list; ask your partners what materials they think would benefit their efforts. Keep in mind that a salesperson will always opt to push the product they are most familiar with since it almost always leads to a fast, easy sale. In addition, salespeople are more confident and knowledgeable during their sales pitch, and that confidence radiates to the customer.
Offer incentives, contests, and team-building opportunities
Another great way to promote partner success is by creating a sense of community between your network of dealers.
A few ways to create a community and promote sales success:
- Lunch-and-learn events that offer opportunities for break-out brainstorming sessions
- In-person or virtual open forum meetings
- Virtual happy hours or coffee breaks
Automate as much as possible
Online retail sales increased 32.4% year over year in 2020. By the end of the first quarter of 2021, online sales had risen another 39%. For this reason, leveraging tech and automation opportunities can be the game-changer you need to beat the competition. Today’s customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, and available add-on extensions like PowerChord’s lead distribution and management program, come with a host of lead and customer touchpoint automation features.
Automation saves your team time while still ensuring your customers are nurtured. Today you can automate birthday and holiday cards, periodic lead check-ins, newsletters, and anything else relevant to your company. Automation shouldn’t stop with customer touchpoints.
PowerChord’s most popular workforce automation features includes:
- Stir up healthy competition through sales incentive contests that show regional and national leaderboards.
- Show support through social media shoutouts
- Rapid lead delivery
- SMS and email lead notifications
- Our proprietary one-click action sales funnel updates
- nudge emails for reps when a lead or customer goes untouched for a specific amount of time
Depending on how robust your CRM and extensions are, you may be surprised by the number of automation options available. Make sure you use them. All of them! The time and money you can save through automation can be exponential. Tap into it! Automate, automate, automate! If you would like to learn more about how PowerChord's automation features can help your business, sign up for a FREE DEMO!
For more tips on supporting channel partners, independent dealers, and end-users, check out PowerChord’s MarTech Talk podcast episode featuring Kubota's head of digital marketing in Europe, Joan Surroca, available here.