How OEMs Can Educate, Reward, and Drive Sales in the Channel
Quite literally, manufacturers tend to know all the nuts and bolts that go into their products. You know how your product excels and outperforms the competition; you know how it could benefit consumers and why they should choose it over others. The difficult part is getting the message out and educating others to know what you know. While this is often a job for marketing professionals, it’s something everyone in manufacturing needs to be aware of.
Among your most effective allies in this process are your channel partners—distributors, contractors, resellers, dealers, and more. They do more than distribute or put your products on display. They serve as a strategic partner in a relationship that is mutually beneficial. In these cases, the value lies not so much in educating the end user of your product as it is educating your channel partner.
Managing your partner relationships through an incentive program does more than increase sales when you decide to add education to the mix. It creates a stronger relationship. Sounds great, but how do you go about doing this?
What We Mean By “Educate”
Your channel partners need more than just a rundown of the cool design and cutting-edge features in your product. They need your analytical insights as well.
This means information about your customers’ spending habits, interests, values, pain points, and more. This is the kind of data that can empower channel partners to better advocate and sell your product.
And don’t think this is just a matter of you talking their ear off. Sharing these insights helps them increase their sales. It’s not just a matter of advocating for your brand and your product, it’s a way to help your partners increase sales and drive revenue as well. As we said, education is all about reinforcing a relationship.
An Education Management Program That Works
Building a relationship with your brand is all well and good, but how do you convince people who are already busy trying to hit their numbers to sit down and train?
This is a challenge, but, with a few guidelines, you can make it so more people want to participate in training, while at the same time, better manage your partners and your incentives.
Use education as another incentive. Most of the time we think of sales incentive programs as merely the process of rewarding the top sales people. Education should be thought of as an incentive program that goes beyond the point of sales. Sharing brand knowledge and customer insights gives salespeople more resources to sell and increase their bottom line. And if your channel sales reps know that the successful completion of training modules can earn them rewards—on top of what they already have the potential to earn via your sales promotions—that’s another sure way of increasing engagement with your channel incentive program as a whole.
Enlist the help of technology. Because your indirect partners are spread out across the region, country, or world, it hardly makes sense to host education or training sessions that require in-person attendance. Further, you need a way to properly motivate sales reps to train. Many manufacturers have had success using a dynamic learning management system (LMS) that integrates in-house videos and documentation into an interactive training program that motivates sales reps with rewards and incentives. The use of video, interactive content, online documentation, and quizzes that can be taken on a computer or mobile device, you greatly increase the chances that your channel partners will participate in your training.
Manage it all in one place. Putting together an effective training program involves more than simply sending out content and quizzes to your partners. A good part of this involves managing training modules and ensuring you get the right content to the right people. In today’s digital, on-the-go world, it’s key to stay in front of your indirect sales reps by making your training programs accessible at all times. By incorporating elements of your LMS, or by integrating it directly, into your existing channel incentive program, you can leverage an audience that is already participating in the sales promotions being executed through your platform.
WorkStride’s channel incentive solution allows you to manage rewards, cap spending limits and promote certain products with videos, documents, and quizzes. It’s a centralized, streamlined addition to your channel incentive program through which sales reps can partake in key training exercises that will help them better sell your products and strengthen your relationships. Contact us for a demo today.