Onboarding new dealers is usually a great way to expand your company’s business. These businesses can reach new customers on your behalf and even explore new markets. The potential profit any dealer represents can be huge.
Unfortunately, some don’t always live up to your expectations - or theirs. However, if a dealer is underselling, some of the fault could belong to you. Let’s look at some ways you can help set your dealers up for success.
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Implement Channel Management Software
Channel management software has become renowned for how easy it makes manufacturer/dealer relationships. For one thing, communication becomes much more more efficient. It also ensures that you have all the tracking you need to keep tabs on your various partners and find opportunities to help out.
With so many channel support functions required, you need a central location for your dealer network to go to access all the information they need. On top of that, indirect sales channels are extremely complex and make it difficult for you to ensure the right dealers see the right information. This dynamic is accounted for in channel management software by knowing who is logging in and delivering content specific to their needs.
Communicate and Collaborate
While your dealers are tasked with marketing and selling your products, this doesn’t mean you can’t help. Collaborating with your distribution network can have many beneficial results. For one thing, your dealers are usually more connected to customer needs so it is important to use their feedback to continuously improve your marketing and sales efforts.
Arguably, though, the far more important benefit is that you get a better idea of how that particular partner works and what they bring to the table. All of your partners are going to be different. If they’re underperforming, it might be because you don’t recognize how to effectively leverage their abilities.
Look at Each Dealer as an Individual
To expand upon this further, don’t make the mistake of looking at your distribution network equally. This approach may the easy road to take, but it will undoubtedly leave you with dealers who have untapped potential.
A far better approach would be to use channel management software to see if their team shows certain strengths they bring to the table.
Of course, you can also speak to them as well to learn more about what makes them different. Look for ways that, as a manufacturer, you can help meet their unique needs. When possible, think about sending people to their site to get a better idea of how they operate. If you do go this route, make sure you send people who can help answer any questions they may have about your business too.
Provide Adequate Training
Your dealers are definitely going to have questions. Software can help put them in contact with the experts who can answer them or provide self-service access to information that will make their lives easier to begin with. Aside from marketing materials and sales tools, why not provide them with information that will make training in new hires easier as well?
Sometimes, partners are going to underwhelm you. They may even do it to the point that it makes sense to get rid of them. However, before you take this step, be sure to review the above to see if there’s something you could be doing to help them fulfill their potential.
If you work for a manufacturer, dealer, or distributor, we'd love to hear your perspective on dealer onboarding. We're conducting research on this topic through the end of the year, and we're raffling off a $100 Amazon gift card each month.