One of the most critical and worthwhile business relationships in an industry like building materials or similar is the one between brand and dealer. This is perfectly logical as the more you sell, the merrier it is and you would want more and more dealers partnered with you.
But how do you ensure that the dealers you onboard remain loyal to your interests and keep prioritising your products over your competitors’? It’s not a shot in the dark or hoping that your dealers stay on your side; your dealers must feel taken care of while they are associated with you. This may include automatic ordering, seamless order tracking, and of course, loyalty programs.
Once your dealers are truly loyal to your brand, you are already a step closer to being a market leader in your category; it may lead to a bigger market share and impressive business growth. Long-term B2B relationships built on trust and loyalty are the core of successful business operations. Dealers are at the end of your supply chain and you need to have an effective marketing strategy to sustain long-term relationships with them.
In this context, highly robust and reliable apps that foster effective communication and make actions like ordering and feedback easier for dealers are in great demand. Loyalty programs that are assisted by AI, multiple communication channels, and educational videos are all part of what contributes to a successful brand-dealer relationship.
We elucidate more on this below.
1. Multi-channel Engagement
There is a rise of apps focusing on communication channels as much as on the business conducted between brand and dealer. Communication is a major aspect of smooth operations and is a driver for trust between channel partners. The question to ask yourself is that as a brand, how often and how readily do you communicate with your dealer? Are you able to provide them daily operational info? It’s important to create an effective communication channel and pick the most seamless methods to do so.
Platforms like BeatRoute offer specialised tools that understand the necessity of such an approach to the overall supply chain operations, particularly with dealers because they deal with consumers directly. From emails to calls to instant messaging, a plethora of options are available to ensure that there is never a gap in communication and that everyone’s apprised of a situation.
Dealers appreciate your transparency in matters of order tracking and new launches. For example, if you were to launch a new type of paint in the market or a new colour maybe, it would be important to educate your dealers about the new product. Dealers who are highly successful need to be fully informed on product information and have access to training videos to effectively pitch your product to consumers. Consider making your training process fun by offering dealers rewards and incentives for finishing a training.
Dealer apps today are expected to have or upload new, educational content every time there’s a new product launch or a major feature update. When dealers feel like they are treated importantly by you, they will be more involved and contribute more to your goals – the hallmarks of an effective relationship.
2. Dealer Empowerment
While sales reps educate dealers on your brand, products, new launches, and schemes, a well-crafted dealer app may do all that while also enabling dealers to actually place their orders based on interactions and deliberation. The whole process becomes more dealer-controlled and they feel empowered by it, which is a crucial factor of trust.
A dealer app encourages dealers with the following:
- Digital ordering rather than ordering via calls, emails or messages. They have complete access to order history, promotions, prices, and credit or debit notes in an easily-readable format. When brands provide dealers the option to see their order status, it fosters trust between them and leads to better results in sales. A progressive web app coupled with security protocols offers efficiency during both fulfilment and payments.
- Brands can make certain via social media channels such as WhatsApp and Viber that dealers will be notified of new promotions in the form of nudges such as a pop-up. It makes things easier for the dealer to apply said promotions and when they benefit from you, they are more invested in your goals.
- Many times, brands receive leads from buyers on their website. If they can create a mechanism to collaborate on these leads with the local dealers, they can improve their lead conversion rates, while at the same time giving a tangible business benefit to the dealers.
- Armed with information, your dealers will be more capable of promoting your products to consumers. For this, multimedia content can also be leveraged by brands to help dealers understand a product through a medium they are comfortable in.
3. Incentivizing Loyalty
Loyalty points are critical drivers to keeping your dealers happy. Any form of incentive has the potential to elevate loyalty and efforts towards meeting goals, thereby leading to potentially better sales. Implementing an effective loyalty program will take your relationship with dealers a long way, especially if it’s automated or intuitive. A dealer loyalty program can be multifaceted – from free items to performance rewards – the focus always being on inspiring dealers to do better and forging strong relationships.
Free items can be inexpensive but useful like pens, notebooks, etc. Onboarding is a great opportunity to give away such items and also to educate dealers on your rewards structure. As everyone loves free gifts, it’s an excellent way to start off your business relationship on the right foot.
To positively affect logistical and other costs, it is important that your rewards program offers an entirely digital experience for points generation, redemption, and gift delivery. BeatRoute offers this benefit along with the ability to operate your loyalty program on its Dealer App, which runs on a WhatsApp or Viber interface. Digitisation allows you to send prompt notifications on a recurring basis to push your dealers to go the extra mile for the next reward. With its easy configuration, you can also allocate or reallocate points to a product with your changing strategy.
All in all, a mobile application or tool bolsters brand-dealer relationships because it:
- Constantly engages dealers
- Shares useful reward information with dealers
- Streamlines use of rewards program
- Helps with faster implementation of rewards
Also, keep an eye on the rate at which your loyalty programs are bringing in more dealers into your network; if your competition is offering better benefits then you need to readjust your strategy.
You can consider any or all of the following reward types:
- Tier-specific rewards based on performance
- Discounts based on transactions
- Exclusive events that create an aura of importance around your loyalty program
4. Feedback Capture and Issue Management
Issues with ordering or fulfilment are unavoidable. What sets you apart from other brands is your ability to fix such issues in time. This helps build trust and reliability, the foundation of long-standing business relations. And the first step on that road is to have a tool that can capture dealer difficulties easily and make it immediately accessible to you. Manual feedback captured by a sales rep or agent, on the contrary, is slow, takes time to reach the right person, and is even unreliable in some cases.
An application or a tool capable of feedback capture typically reduces the time that it takes to document it. This makes the dealer, who is busy, more willing to enter their feedback or lodge a ticket. In-app feedback is instantaneous and brands get to see everything in real time. You can change your strategy, product roadmap, and instil trust in your dealers before they become disillusioned with you and leave for your competition. Remember, it is all about making your dealer believe that you are there for them and are able to resolve problems faster than anyone else.
A ticketing system integration is highly valuable to your enterprise for helping dealers get past product or fulfilment issues because:
- It is ideal if you have a small team addressing issues
- It allows for consistent and an ordered way of registering tickets/complaints/issues for prompter resolution
- A reliable issue management system will help keep everyone involved in the loop and encourage better communication
- Escalating issues is more efficient as such tools promote effective cross-team communication
- An issue management tool is highly capable of handling large volumes of tickets as opposed to a manual or a semi-manual process
Once you are able to achieve the above results, your brand naturally becomes the embodiment of dependability. Your dealers will want to keep buying from you and be associated with you long term.
BeatRoute and Looking Ahead
BeatRoute is all about helping brand-dealer relations by empowering both to operate at an enhanced level. For example, digital schemes are a fantastic way to ensure dealers feel rewarded for buying from you, which makes them more likely to order in bulk, resulting in larger order baskets. You give them the incentive and in return, they increase your cash flow. It’s that simple.
Additionally, with BeatRoute, dealers are also able to order digitally, edit previous orders, repeat orders, and track orders till fulfilment. This provides unhindered transparency into new developments where dealers are always informed, can flag issues, and you can promptly address those issues.
Brands can also leverage B2B rewards programs based on performance or purchase history or some other criterion with BeatRoute to further consolidate relationships with dealers. Enhanced brand engagement, customisable coupons, and robust 24×7 customer support all contribute to building up a great business relationship between you and your dealers.
To sum up, all relationships in business are borne out of dependence. Brands need dealers to sell their offerings while dealers need brands to have a thriving enterprise themselves. From brands to dealers to consumers, a product undergoes several steps before consumption. Multiple factors, as mentioned already, are responsible for the success of a product but a critical aspect of that success is your dynamic with the dealers.
In the ocean of brands vying for a dealer’s attention, the only way to make an impression is to do more than anybody else. When you are taking care of your dealer and ensuring you have the right tool for the job that encompasses all necessities of relationship building, you have already won half the battle.
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