One of the most interesting responses I hear from industrial manufacturers when I approach them about participating in Industrial Channel Research is that they’d really like to participate in the program to get comparative feedback about their company; but they don’t have good contact information for the leaders and sales people at their distributors… so they wouldn’t know whose feedback to solicit.
Said another way… “We’re in a small, competitive industry where we’re highly reliant upon distributors to sell our products; but we really don’t know who the people most responsible for the sale of our products are.”
Anyone else see a problem here?
If you don’t know who the people interacting with your end-users are, how do you convince them to continue to invest in your brand? How do you educate them about products? How do they find out about promotions? How do you convince them to recommend your product over a competitor’s product at that moment of truth when a buying decision is being made?
You don’t… and that’s a problem.
So before you make that next investment in marketing collateral or promotions, consider making an investment in creating a centralized data repository and supporting processes to collect and manage contact information for people at your distributors who should really matter to your business: Leaders and sales people.
Your competitors know who they are.. and they’re building relationships that will pay dividends.
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Bart Schwartz is President of Industrial Channel Research, a company focused on helping industrial manufacturers understand customer needs and perceptions. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.