If you work in manufacturing marketing, you know it’s different than any other type of marketing. Lots of manufacturers primarily sell through third parties like dealers and distributors. Your own company’s success is directly tied to the success of these channel sales teams.
Your channel sales team is your connection to the buyer. Did you know that 69% of business buyers expect companies to anticipate their needs? To better engage customers and see consistent sales growth, you need to really connect with your channel sales teams. When you are highly engaged with your channel, and their sales teams have the tools they need to deliver great customer experiences, everyone wins.
Here are three ways manufacturing brands empower their channel sales teams:
1. Know Your Customer by Knowing your Channel Partner
As a manufacturer selling through 3rd party reps or distributors, you want to be connected to the end customer. However, it can be difficult to know what’s going on with your leads and customers when the relationships are owned by your channel sales partners. Often, the tactic has been to “pull” that information from your channels through portals or spreadsheets but enforcing usage and uniformity can be a tall task.
If you find yourself here, start with a “push” approach by utilizing marketing campaigns to push relevant content based on order history, or sending an alert to the specific channel manager if one of your 3rd party reps is looking at a new product on your website. You can learn a lot about how your channels are selling to customers just by understanding how they are interacting with your digital assets.
2. Continuous Education and Onboarding
Working with channel sales partners is like managing a group of outside sales teams, each with their own unique strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. Whether your goal is to increase share of wallet by being top of mind in your channels, launch a new product line, or find new channels to sell through, education and awareness is key.
Take the sellers in your channels through enablement journeys to learn product specs and applications. You can also help them stay up-to-date on competitive intelligence to keep your products the easiest to “grab out of their bag.” You can segment your campaigns based on geography, tenure, current spend, product interest and many other firmographic data points.
3. GIVE MARKETING SUPPORT TO CHANNEL SALES TEAMS
If you’ve built strong alignment and understand how your channels are selling to their customers, you can begin to extend the same support you’d give your own sales teams.
A great way to empower channel sales partners is to put the power of marketing and advertising in their hands. Once you’re sure a partner has a strong understanding of and adherence to your brand standards and messaging approach, you can give them the ability to send approved mini-campaigns to their customers.
With the right technology, this can include dynamic content in emails and other marketing collateral, allowing your channel partners to leverage data to engage with leads and customers in more personalized ways. When this is connected through your CRM, PRM, and marketing automation platform, you and your channel partners can both track every email interaction with leads and customers, and maintain shared visibility of all sales pipelines.
To learn more about how the right technology can help you empower your channel sales partners and achieve B2B marketing success, explore Pardot for Manufacturing.