Sales reps are the glue connecting a brand to their local retailers, but many brands fail to properly involve and communicate with their reps. Without cultivating this relationship, a disconnect is created that can negatively trickle down to the retail level. A number of issues can arise:
- Retailers become less likely to purchase and sell more product.
- Brand guidelines and initiatives are not properly communicated.
- Low-quality program alignment on a local level.
With a face-to-face, in-person camaraderie, retailers take what sales reps say seriously, and this leads to the validation of brand programs, initiatives, and more. To ensure a top-down, holistic network of sales growth and opportunity, the brand-rep relationship has to be optimized for success.
Guided by answers taken from questions fielded to a number of sales reps using the Promoboxx platform, here are five tips to strengthen your brand-sales rep relationships:
1. Get your sales reps involved (and keep them involved).
The brand-sales rep relationship is known to be murky. Some brands don’t believe in the value of their reps, others may not even trust them. By failing to involve the team in the field, you’re leaving them, your ideas and communications, and the retailers themselves in the dark. Solidify your relationships with the reps and keep everyone on the same page. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a disjointed, ineffective system that is set up for loss.
“As a brand, there could be more focus on cultivating the relationship between the brand and the team in the field. A top down approach on team building would be a step in the right direction.” — Sales Rep Survey, March 2016
2. Keep the lines of communication open.
Once you’ve started more fully communicating with your sales reps, keep these lines of communication open and always leave room for growth. A rep we spoke to told us that the best thing their brand does to strengthen the relationship is make it so that they can feel comfortable going to various people in the organization when answers are needed or feedback is provided.
When the reps do come to you with questions, reply with accurate answers quickly and efficiently, so that they can relay them to your retail accounts. By maintaining a strong, close working relationship, your team will be all the more ready to portray a strong brand message.
3. Provide them with digital marketing training, education, and resources.
As the ones communicating the word of the brand, sales reps (whether or not they’re equipped) are given the responsibility of educating retailers on digital marketing. In order for the reps to feel comfortable explaining digital marketing to retailers, brands need to make training, education, and resources readily available to them.
As a core function of the latest brand initiative or not, digital marketing is a question that is going to come up from your retailers. It’s extremely important that your sales reps feel knowledgeable on the subject, so it’s essential that you provide them with whatever they may need to get to that certain level of expertise. Once there, they can speak with the retailers and feel fully informed, left without lingering questions.
“The brand does provide digital marketing education and resources, however, there does need to be more of a road map of when these will be available. These resources can also be cumbersome to fully utilize. Having a more planned out marketing timeline would help with the execution of the digital marketing materials.” — Sales Rep Survey, March 2016
4. Give them access to reporting and insights into retail accounts and beyond.
The sales reps we spoke to love the fact that their brands provide them with internal sales data, allowing them to summarize results and take action where necessary. Where this could be reinforced and made more valuable is by providing them with greater insights into the retail accounts themselves:
- Which retailers are taking part in brand initiatives
- How are they participating
- What retailer actions led to sales success
Providing further validation, this also allows the sales reps to get credit for their efforts and track the overall impact of their involvement on retailer engagement, sales growth, and more.
5. Generate excitement and communicate the value of your initiatives.
If your sales reps aren’t feeling excited or driven by your next brand initiative, how can you expect your retailers to feel the same?
When launching your latest initiative or product at the retail level, you have to start by coming in with a strong outline of where it’s going and what the ultimate goals are. It’s a great first step in establishing confidence.
You also have to be ready with a credible and constant line of communication regarding the program and its value on the reps’ end. This means being available for both questions and feedback, so that they’re able to properly execute it to their accounts.
The best brand-sales rep relationships (like all great relationships) are a two-way street, maintained with openness and honesty. Follow these five steps, and you’re on your way to a well-rounded relationship built upon brand loyalty and further sales success.
Looking to Create Top-Down Brand Alignment with Your Sales Rep Team? Promoboxx Can Help.
While many brand and sales rep teams work outside of each other in a disconnected way, Promoboxx creates connection and alignment from the brand to the reps all the way down to the local retailers.
With Promoboxx, sales reps are given access to individual reporting accounts that:
- Allow them to see how their retailers are performing
- Provide them with the ability to invite new accounts
- Keep retailer contact information updated
Every rep is also given their own referral link that tracks any and all engagements that result from its usage. This allows a brand to better understand their reps’ efforts and success throughout the program.
Join brands like Nissan and Electrolux who are already successfully working with their sales reps through Promoboxx to create alignment at the local retail level.