04 Nov The Three Is
Chad is from Cape Town. He is 33 and sells air-conditioning solutions to businesses and households.
Simphiwe is from Johannesburg. He is an IT reseller based in the northern suburbs and sells PCs, printers, storage and networking solutions to a growing customer base.
And Mel is a mother of two from Pretoria. She has been a broker for the past 14 years and sells short term insurance policies.
What do Chad, Mel and Simphiwe have in common?
They have the three Is common:
- They are part of a growing indirect salesforce, spanning multiple industries.
- They are independent, meaning they can sell the insurance policy, IT product or air-conditioning solution they see fit.
- And they are influential – very influential.
For organisations replying on indirect sales channels Simphiwe, Mel and Chad can either make – or break – your brand. How do you provide effective marketing coverage that will drive the right behaviours – i.e. influencing their recommendations to your customers whilst at the same time delivering a superior brand experience?
Remember, it’s about people
The first step is to prioritise your marketing efforts to a sales channel that is indirect, independent and influential. This involves gaining an understanding of who is selling your brand – and what they need to be successful, what motivates them, what they need more of, less of.
Stop and take the time to do an audit of your current marketing efforts to obtain insights into the audience you are marketing to. Before you do anything, understand whom your organisation’s Mels, Chads and Simphiwes are.
Guard against assumptions
We know what they say about assumptions. As marketers, we are all guilty of working on assumptions. Sometimes it’s a reflex, other times it’s behaviour that’s so deeply ingrained we fail to see that we’re doing it.
Get an outside perspective. An internally focused view is dangerous and will jeopardise the outcome of your efforts.
Don’t forget to measure
Always build measurement into your planning. Define the measurement criteria upfront. Align sales and marketing agendas. Collaborate with sales to understand the commercial impact of the marketing investment in indirect channels.
A poorly educated and equipped indirect salesforce is a poor reflection on YOUR brand.
You want Siphiwe, Chad and Mel to be invested in your brand. This means you need to continually invest in communicating, enabling, training, motivating and rewarding them.
My next article will focus on practical guidelines for building a business case for making a marketing investment in your indirect sales channels.