In my last blog post, I discussed how the appropriate technology tools and training help deliver a seamless brand experience at the local level in a distributed environment. Strong, collaborative communication is key to that equation.
“The greatest ideas, if not properly communicated, aligned and inspired, will fall short of achieving their goal because it requires that completeness in stakeholder management to bring everybody together behind a given idea,” says Russ Klein, CEO of the American Marketing Association in “Marketing News” magazine (October 2014). Klein goes on to say that marketing in a distributed environment can be stressful if communication isn’t effective between corporate and the team in the field.
The right technology, backed by effective training, keeps branding consistent and stress-free by giving you the tools to disseminate fresh, innovative content across all media channels used by the company and your distributed sales force. Effective information combined with the right technology will facilitate personalized experiences for customers and prospects across multiple media channels and touch points.
Ultimately, this puts customers and prospects at the heart of the business— empowering your distributed sales force and personalizing outreach at a local level.
In addition to distributing corporate-driven content, a key part of a successful technology and training strategy is ensuring that all of your local sales partners–dealers, agents, franchises—can easily communicate their initiatives and support requests to corporate for quick approval and implementation.
Taking it one step further, the company can then share an affiliate’s successful strategies (for events, promotions, etc.) with other local sales partners to generate ideas that will reach that location’s unique customers and prospects.
It’s all about collaboration. It’s all about leveraging relationships at the local level for success—and applying that strategic information in other markets.
With the right technology in place, effective bottom-up strategies make personalization at the local level a reality and cause collaboration to be a successful tool. After all, the dealers and agents in the field have unique insight into what initiatives and media channels work on a local level; they know their customers and prospects best. And what works for one area or demographic might be a great strategy for use by another partner in the company’s distributed sales force.
“I’ve always said that the store manager trumps the brand manager every time,” says Klein of the AMA in “Marketing News.” “That simply means that great ideas can be dreamt up upstream at a headquarters somewhere, but if they aren’t fully aligned at the front line, in the marketplace—perhaps, the example being a store manager—they won’t get executed with any clarity or with excellence.”
This bottom-up approach will drive the bottom line if corporate has the right technology in place for seamless communication and idea-approval—and then shares best practices with the rest of the distributed sales network.
This collaborative approach builds camaraderie between corporate and the distributed sales force and between the local teams in different markets. The more the distributed sales partners contribute to the company’s efforts, the more they feel part of the corporate efforts and goals. And this communication results in increased sales and more customers whose needs are successfully met.