How to effectively run your distribution network?

How to effectively run your distribution network?

Well running your distribution network is essential to generate additional sources of sales and increase your sales force. But stimulating its resellers is not so simple and requires to follow key steps. Here are our 6 tips to boost their performance!

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Define your business strategy

Before you start anything, you first need to define your business strategy: what are your goals? Who do you want to animate? Who are your competitors ? What are your brakes? What means will you implement and at what cost?

All these questions are necessary to prepare the action plan and to include it in a global strategy, with a business orientation. Depending on your activity, the period and the potential of your sales people, you will not target the same populations, nor with the same mechanics.

Identifying a business strategy, clear and operational, allows you not only to determine the objectives of each and especially to share a clear vision of the company strategy and actions to be deployed to boost your business.

Refine your customer knowledge

Once your strategy is defined, you must refine your customer knowledge to understand who you are talking to and what are the good levers to activate with each one.

This starts with a thorough analysis of your customer data which will then allow you to know each reseller (purchases, amounts, frequencies, potential, product knowledge, preferences …) to offer them offers, content and objectives tailored to the economic, behavioral and contextual reality of each actor.

Thanks to this data analysis work, carried out in collaboration with the Kiss The Bride agency, the Xerox company has designed completely individualized media and animation tools, reseller by dealer. An effective program that serves both the commercial and relational performance of the brand.

Incentiver your network with the right levers

Knowing your resellers will obviously allow you to animate them with the right levers, at the right time and on the right objectives.

Motivational operations or incentives are indeed excellent ways to revitalize sales over a period, provided you deploy personalized, creative and punctual challenges.

The network animation program, directed by the Muse agency for the Afflelou group, is a successful example. Entitled "The Afflelou Club", this operation makes it possible to mobilize all the franchisees of the network around a stimulating and engaging challenge. Through a digital animation platform, MAX, network members can communicate with each other, access their sales data and track their performance in real time. Connected to a gift shop, the platform allows each actor to be rewarded live among more than 10 000 reward objects, and to animate his network with customized mechanics composed of business objectives (red thread, boosters ) and corporate (e-learning courses, best practice sharing …).

To build a relationship of trust

As you know, the relationship between members of your network and your brand is inherent to the success of your sales. In a competitive context where players are over-solicited, this privileged link will play a major role in the sustainability and effectiveness of your partnership.

Beyond the tools of sales support and regular appointments, you must create a real cohesion and strengthen the feeling of pride of belonging to your company! Animation platforms, corporate social networks, VIP clubs and events, team buildings … are some of the actions to be deployed to stimulate and engage your sales network.

In fact, you really need to see them as business partners and ambassadors of your brand. Ambassadors that you must accompany, train, animate, follow … and with which you must communicate regularly in order to fully integrate them into the company's strategy.

At SNCF, for example, the Travel division has run its distribution network in order to optimize their prescribing power. On the program: personalized quizzes on the products, the offer and more broadly on the group to improve the knowledge of the resellers and develop the sales.

Develop a differentiating communication

"It is not uncommon for the brand to communicate only with the store manager and not with the sales people, who are themselves directly involved in the sale of your products, by doing so, you cut yourself off from your priority target and take the risk that your message never reaches the expected conditions " Some time ago, Cyrille Le Meaux, Director of Development at Muse, pointed out.

And we can only abound in this sense. You must communicate at all levels and with each reseller.

To stimulate its network of independent dealers, the Schmidt group has for example relied on support not only of store managers to help them increase their business, but also sellers. The group decided to aggregate all the existing devices via a program named Employer Pact, and built on five axes: recruitment, training, management support, help with the mobility of teams and follow-up of daily human relations.

But that's not all ! You must also use your creativity and your charisma to embark the members of your network and make their mark, differentiating yourself from the competition.

Finally, it is important to ensure communication and relay internally to ensure overall consistency and federate teams. Sending news, sharing best practices, training groups, feedback from the field, valuing members of the network … are essential tools to boost the spirit and cohesion of companies.

Provide regular monitoring and control

It's not enough to have a personalized animation program and a differentiating communication to guarantee the development of your sales! Monitoring and managing your business is crucial to analyze the results, understand them and identify the keys to success and areas for improvement in order to readjust the program.

Best of all, this monitoring and management offers the opportunity to empower and motivate network players: by giving them access to dynamic data-visualisations and dashboards on their business objectives, they can independently manage their commercial activity, share between them good development practices and stimulate each other.

MAX's digital animation platform, developed by Muse, offers retailers the ability to analyze and track their results in real time, compare them to other data and even encourage their members. A great way for your actors and for you to reach your goals and create a positive emulation around your brand.

Finally, the animation of a distribution network is far from simple and many factors must be taken into account to engage your sales force. But this is a huge challenge and a great opportunity to develop the reputation and business of your company.

>> For more information, do not hesitate to contact us or subscribe to our newsletter (we will soon release a white paper on the subject).