Building the Right Team for Successful Channel Marketing

Channel Marketing

Building the Right Team for Successful Channel Marketing

April English

April English
Sep 02, 2020

Hand using a smartphone

Successful channel marketing takes a full team. Not only that, but the strategy must bring in the right players, with the right tools, at the right time, to deliver the right message, to the right audience. Whew! Sounds easy enough, right?

I’ve spent the majority of my career as one of those players in channel marketing. I first led a small marketing department at a local dealership for a construction equipment manufacturer, and now support marketing at the manufacturer level at our agency. Each channel — from the manufacturer to the dealer sales representative — plays a critical role in successfully bringing products and services to customers.

Below are some of those key players and where I've seen hits and misses along the way.

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Company leadership and marketing team

A solid channel marketing campaign strategy must be communicated from the top down. This ensures there is clear direction and buy-in from all parties involved, including the company’s district and territory reps who will eventually share this message with the dealers. Often, this step can get overlooked when a small group of leaders or marketers at the company level are too focused on getting the message out directly to the customer. It is important to share this message internally, then to give it the appropriate stage and timeframe to soak in.

Tools I've seen work well to communicate internally with this audience include company intranets, employee desk drops, employee break room signage, emails, webinars, in-person town hall meetings, and small team or department meetings.

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District and territory reps

This group of players is typically responsible for sharing the company strategy with the dealership. An important piece of this process is arming the reps with the appropriate tools and data to be successful in sharing the message.

I’ve seen many tools work well for district and territory reps to share the message, including videos or presentations that they can use to review specific campaign goals with their dealers, as well as campaign playbooks. The more data and specific sales targets that can be shared with dealers, the better. Sometimes this channel is where the why of a particular campaign can get lost, and where dealers can start to lose interest or confidence in what the company is trying to accomplish. Breaking down the overall goals into specifics of what the dealer needs to do and then laddering that up to the company is what I've seen be most successful. We need to make sure we’re helping connect the dots throughout the process.

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Dealership leadership and marketing team

Once the campaign strategy reaches the dealership, it is up to dealer marketers and leadership to decide how they want to deliver the campaign message or promotion to their sales force — and ultimately, to the end customers.

Most companies I've worked with like to make sure this step in the process is as easy as possible for dealers. Many choose to partner with a marketing agency to develop specific, yet customizable, campaign materials and then house them in a one-stop-shop portal like our 2RM Channel Marketing Studio platform. This platform is our easy-to-use tool for creating a customized co-op program — including co-op claims administration and fund management, custom marketing requests, and participation measurement and reporting. The goal is for the company to control the marketing message being delivered through this channel, while also making it easy for the dealer to go to market, often with limited resources.

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Dealership sales team

Finally, another critical piece in delivering a campaign marketing strategy through channel marketing is the sales team. How the message is ultimately delivered to the customer is one of the most important influences in a customer's final decision to act.

This step is where a dealership customer relationship management (CRM) system is extremely important to have in place. Having a CRM in place, and having a dealership that is dedicated to inputting accurate data, closes the loop so metrics can be shared and analyzed for future marketing activities. The CRM is not only critical in tracking the campaign, but it also helps the dealer manage any leads and their status, as well as identifying leads that may need nurturing before a sale can happen.

As you can see, there are many critical roles and tools to consider when delivering a campaign strategy through channel marketing. Keeping some of these key thoughts and tools in mind can help bring these players together for success.

If you’d like to learn more about the key roles in a successful channel marketing strategy and how Two Rivers and our 2RM Channel Marketing Studio can support your efforts, please contact us.

April English
Get to know April

As a program director at Two Rivers Marketing, April English can usually be found managing campaign timelines, lovin' on spreadsheets and tackling the world of channel marketing. While a farm girl at heart, she now enjoys her freetime bicycling through the city of Des Moines, and often tapping into her former graphic design skills for fun. Reach out to April