How to make the most out of feedback from dealers and distributors

Feedback is important. It can help us grow in our careers, improve relationships and shape products and services.

Asking your dealers and distributors their opinion demonstrates that you value them, which helps create a strong connection to your brand and helps improve your channel marketing strategy.

Many companies take time to get customer feedback, while missing out on collecting input from their distribution channel. Never forget that your distribution channel is the key link from your brand to your customers and has access to information that can be incredibly valuable.

You might be trying to understand the most important product features and benefits. Or in some cases you need to assess difficult feedback about where you’re falling short or not offering something the competition is nailing.

Dealer and distributor feedback can provide an early indication of what opportunities or challenges lie ahead.

And, your dealers and distributors will notice when you incorporate their feedback. Demonstrating that you value their insights and want to hear from them reinforces their importance to your company.

Collect feedback quickly, easily and effectively

Time is of the essence for both you, your dealers and your distributors — so brevity is key when collecting feedback. Here are some quick options:

Email or website surveys: Promote a short (five questions or less) survey on a specific area of business. Promote the survey in an email or on an internal website for dealers and distributors. Make sure you communicate the length of the survey so they know it won’t take more than a couple minutes to complete.

Phone and virtual interviews: Schedule one-on-one interviews to conduct over the phone or through a platform like Zoom. This will allow you to ask questions, have a conversation with dealers and distributors, and dig deeper into their feedback. The interview also gives you the opportunity to thank them and start or continue building your relationship.

Advisory councils: Bring together your top dealers and distributors to form an advisory council. You can call upon this council throughout the year for feedback on various aspects of your business and to weigh in on important topics that will help shape the future of your company

In-person meetings, summits and roundtable discussions: Although in-person meetings aren’t recommended during the COVID-19 pandemic, they will be a viable option in the future. When they are, carefully plan and execute this face time with your dealers and distributors to gain better insights. Try to allow for both large and small group discussions and peer groups. Make sure to record key themes and insights.

Remember, consistency is key. The more your team reaches out to dealers and distributors for their feedback and opinions, the more you’ll strengthen your partnership with them.