Nurturing relationships with your network of local businesses you sell through is an integral part of growing a successful brand. Your marketing, product/service offerings, and overall business success depends on taking the time to truly understand your network’s challenges and needs. These three communication methods will help you strengthen dialogue with your network for a more cohesive, successful relationship.
- Online Surveys. This proven way of collecting information to gain feedback is priceless. Online surveys are easy to set up, distribute and analyze. No one likes fluff unless it’s the kind you use in s’mores, so make sure to keep the survey short and to the point, only asking the essential questions. Send surveys at least every six months because a year is just way too long to find out what concerns partners have and what tools they need in order to effectively market your brand along with their local business. A great incentive to fill out the survey is to enter your network members into a drawing for additional co-op marketing funds.
- Direct Outreach. There are times when you need to go from short surveys to more in-depth dialogues to gain a deeper understanding of your network’s concerns or needs. Whether you send them a personal email, call them or drop by for an in-person local business visit, you’ll definitely get a direct sense of their attitudes toward the ease of using your brand’s product or service. Regional channel reps should be able to address any issues or concerns promptly.
- Online Support Forum. Rather than fielding a bazillion phone calls, an online forum is a great way to post frequently asked questions and to give your network members an opportunity to share their feedback and provide customer satisfaction ratings. Forums can be hosted by the brand or a third party vendor. Make sure the person who is the moderator of this forum responds and interacts regularly.
In shifting to a relationship centric approach, you’ll create products or services your network believes they can sell. Internally market to them more effectively, it will increase their loyalty to your brand because you truly understand them.