How Manufacturers Can Strengthen Dealer and Distributor Relationships to Boost Online Sales
Manufacturing marketers must market their products to consumers, distributors, and dealers. Marketing to so many entities creates a detailed roadmap. To be a successful manufacturing marketer, you must strengthen your manufacturer’s relationships with dealers and distributors to improve adoption.
As you strengthen your relationships with dealers and distributors, you’ll be able to sell more products, which increases profits for everyone involved. But how do you nourish these relationships?
Keep reading to find out as we discuss four key ways manufacturing marketers can fortify their connections with their dealers and distributors.
The Distributor and Dealer Relationship Defined
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Before we get into the details, we need to explain a manufacturer’s relationships with distributors and dealers.
Generally, a manufacturer, often called the supplier, works with a combination of the following entities: a distributor, wholesaler, dealer/retailer, and consumers. Below is an overview of how the manufacturing supply chain works.
Courtesy of Business Model Analyst
Sometimes, manufacturers use a two-step distribution process. This occurs when manufacturers or suppliers sell their products to distributors who then sell to local dealers.
Other times, a manufacturer will bypass a wholesaler and distributor and go directly to dealers and retailers.
Lastly, some manufacturers have their own branded local stores, and they’ll own the supply chain almost entirely.
Regardless of if it’s a two-step distribution or direct to dealers, manufacturers need to constantly look for ways to improve their relationships with dealers and distributors.
Below are four unique ways manufacturing marketers can solidify their relationship with dealers and distributors.
1. Give Dealers Territories
Sometimes, manufacturers increase the number of dealers they partner with in hopes of increasing revenue. Unfortunately, this strategy can lead to having too many outlets in one area competing against each other for the same product and customer base.
This blueprint makes it more challenging for all dealers to sell your products, which can result in fewer orders or product placements in the future.
The alternative is to offer existing dealers large, exclusive territories. In exchange, these dealers can provide your manufacturing brand and its products with more significant promotion and superior in-store placement.
2. Have a Consistent Budget and Inventory
Humans like consistency. According to Psychology Today, consistency from a person or organization improves commitment from others. Therefore, it’s in manufacturers’ best interest to have a consistent budget, pricing, and a steady streamline of products to its distributors and dealers.
We understand that supply chain issues are still lingering, which may be impacting your company. However, you can mitigate some of these issues by doing the following:
Your dealers will appreciate the effort to make their lives easier with consistent inventory and budgets. If you need to adjust a product’s sales prices, share this update with your dealers along with an explanation well in advance.
3. Co-Sponsor Online and In-Person Events
Manufacturers can easily promote their products and brand via event marketing. Traditionally, manufacturers have promoted their products at trade shows or host their own product releases.
Another way to promote products while simultaneously strengthening relationships with dealers is to co-sponsor an online or in-person event. If online, hold a sales event or webinar discussing new products and technical guidance.
These co-sponsored events allow you to educate distributors, dealers, and consumers about product specifications and industry trends, which also help grow brand awareness.
Alternatively, you can showcase your products at local dealers’ events, such as holiday savings or seasonal kick-off events. The same benefits mentioned above apply.
4. Be Active on Social Media
Another way to boost your online presence is to be active on social media. In 2021, 85 percent of manufacturers used social media publishing or analytics tools. If you’re not on social media, you’re losing your share of voice and brand awareness to your manufacturing competitors.
At a minimum, you should have your own branded social media accounts that produce engaging content. Partner with dealers on social media platforms to boost your social media presence even more.
We recommend using LinkedIn and Twitter for business announcements, such as new distributor and dealer partnerships. You can also post business announcements on Facebook and Instagram, but content on those platforms often need more engaging content like videos, reels, photo slideshows, and carousel images.
Here are two ways to make the most of these dealer and distributor partnerships on social media.
Provide Dealers with Content
Local dealers often don’t have the time and energy to create high-quality social media content. As their manufacturing partner, you can create engaging content and share it with local dealers. You can make this content branded or non-branded. We recommend a mixture, so the content feels organic and not too salesy. Here are a few content ideas:
- Photos of new products
- Tables showing product specifications and features
- Product demos via videos or reels
- Slideshows or collections featuring different products or industry news
- How-to guides or tutorials via reels or videos
These dealers will value your relationship even more with this high-quality content that boosts both of your online presence and increases sales.
Create Partnership Posts
Another way to improve your social media presence, and dealer relationship is by creating partnership posts. Facebook and Instagram allow you to easily publish partner posts on their platforms.
The examples below showcase paid partnerships. The one on the left uses the collaborator tag and label as seen at the top of the post, while the one on the right uses an #Ad hashtag, which can signify this is a partnership post.
Courtesy of Social Media Examiner
Twitter is currently testing the ability to CoTweet, which is similar to Meta’s collaboration feature. This test is currently limited to a number of people in the US, Canada, and Korea. See the example below:
Courtesy of TechCrunch
If you don’t have the CoTweet feature enabled yet, we recommend simply tweeting or retweeting at your distributors or dealers.
Lastly, you can also run collaboration posts as social media ads. Read our article on developing a Facebook advertising strategy for more on how to run successful Facebook ad campaigns.
For additional social media tips, download The Localized Social Content Guide for Manufacturers.
Make Manufacturing Marketing Easier With the Right Software
Manufacturing marketers need the right software and tools to promote digital content with dealers and distributors successfully. This software should help both manufacturers and their dealers with localized marketing while being able to scale efforts across multiple locations.
This is where SOCi comes in. SOCi provides a centralized platform that allows manufacturing marketers to find actionable data and insights from every localized marketing effort, including ones with dealers and distributors.
SOCi is one central place for manufacturers to scale their marketing. From local social to local listings to chatbots and local pages, SOCi’s various tools can improve your manufacturing marketing efforts!
Visit SOCi’s manufacturing page for more information on how SOCi can strengthen your localized marketing efforts and improve relationships with dealers and distributors.