Surveys Support Channel Marketing Efforts

June 21, 2010 Gary Ritkes

In today’s economy, retention of customers is the foremost goal among businesses. And building customer loyalty has become the top priority – especially when a five percent increase in customer retention can potentially augment revenue by more than 100 percent. So what makes your customer’s happy and loyal?

When selling your product/service locally through a distributed sales channel, the answers can be quite elusive, as contact with the end-customer may be happening through a distributed sales force, or even more problematic, an independent retailer. Instead of going through exhaustive and expensive marketing testing to try and determine what makes your end-buyers tick, why not first ask the very people or businesses that sell to them?

Surveys provide a fast, inexpensive way to get directly into the minds of your distributed sales channels, and can be used for a variety of reasons, including reseller feedback, end-buyer opinions, product and marketing research. They also offer the ability to provide resellers insight on specific issues where your focus lies. Consider localizing your surveys by geography as the tastes and opinions of your target consumers will most likely vary with cultural/local nuances.

Sites such as Survey Monkey make online surveys simple to set up, use, and aggregate results, with an array of plans ranging from low volume, free accounts to robust high volume plans.

Tips for Creating Surveys

1. Create a goal, not a list of questions.

Focus first on what you want to gain or accomplish with the data; the questions you ask will evolve from your objective.

2. Don’t ask a question, unless you really want the answer

This includes information you don’t really care about as well as being prepared for negative responses.

3. Avoid jargon

If you want good information, make sure your survey recipients understand what you’re asking .

4. Keep it short

Enough said.

5. Allow NA or Don’t Know as answers

Offering an opt-out of a question is better than receiving than a forced, and potentially inaccurate, response.

Tips for Sending Your Survey

1. Introduce your objective immediately

Explain what you’re asking for, why you want it, and how long the survey should take.

2. Offer an incentive

They are already customers, so give them a reward for helping you out.

3. Test  everything

Make sure the survey makes sense and the page buttons work properly.

4. Say thank you

Yes, this may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked.

Once all responses are collected, use this feedback in tailoring your marketing efforts and support to better equip your resellers with the tools they need. Ultimately, a well crafted survey will help you become more aware of what your company does well, what your local sales channels are doing and where you could improve to help the sales efforts of your partners.

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About the Author

Gary Ritkes

Gary Ritkes oversees all Business Development and Marketing at SproutLoud. He has been a pioneer in the emerging vertical of Distributed Marketing Technology and is an industry leader and innovator with 20+ years experience in graphic communications and marketing strategy. Gary has been involved with SproutLoud since the inception of the company. Prior to joining SproutLoud, Gary was VP of Marketing for Rex Three, Inc., SproutLoud’s first and largest vendor among its network of providers. He has served many Fortune 1000 clients and worldwide advertising agencies in providing marketing technology direction and optimization. He was an original founder of U.S. based Earth Color Group and a co-founder of Advanced Digital Services (ADS) which was sold in 1996 to publicly traded Katz Digital Technologies. He is a current board member of the local Advertising Federation chapter and has served as a member for other national industry associations including the DMA, AGA, and the CMO council.

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