You have a good product, but your sales aren’t growing. You are calling on the right people in the marketplace, having designed your product to meet the needs of the end users as well as contractors, but you’re just not getting any traction. This is the nightmare scenario for any manufacturer in the residential and commercial building materials industry.

What’s going wrong? It could be that your channel marketing strategy isn’t well thought-out. 

For manufacturers in the residential and commercial building materials categories, having a well-thought-out channel marketing strategy is a must. It allows manufacturers to align their products with their dealers, distributors and customers, as well as leverage the sales opportunities offered by multiple channels. In essence, a channel marketing strategy is absolutely necessary to maximizing and sustaining sales growth.

But it can be challenging. There are many common mistakes and pitfalls companies make that undermine their channel marketing efforts. In making these mistakes, companies may learn the wrong lessons, thinking their strategies “just don’t work,” when in fact some fairly simple corrections would generate the desired results.

In this article, we’ll explore three common channel marketing mistakes that building materials companies often make. More importantly, we’ll provide practical, actionable tips on how you can avoid them, so you can optimize your marketing efforts and maximize the effectiveness of your channel.

Mistake #1: Poor communication with dealers

Communication is the foundation of any partnership, and the relationship between a manufacturer and its dealer network is no exception. The biggest mistake companies can make is communicating poorly (or not at all) with their partners. Your dealers are essential to your success, and it’s crucial to establish a solid relationship with them to ensure that your marketing efforts are aligned and effective.

Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and missed opportunities. If your dealers don’t understand your marketing strategy or your goals, they will not be able to effectively promote your products to their customers. At best, they will take matters into their own hands and promote your products how they see fit.

At worst, they won’t promote your products at all.

How to avoid it

To avoid this mistake, you need to establish regular communication channels with your dealers. This could include regular meetings or conference calls, emails and newsletters, webinars, and videos. This will help you make sure you’re providing them with the resources they need to effectively promote your products, such as marketing materials, product information, and training. 

A dealer management portal is an invaluable tool for maintaining open communication with your channel. It makes it easy to push out messages and provide the materials and information your dealers need.

Mistake #2: Ignoring the needs of dealers

The second mistake we see building material manufacturing companies make is to ignore the needs of their dealers. Partnership is a two-way street, and it’s essential for companies to understand the needs and concerns of their network to ensure that they’re working together effectively. 

An example of this is to know the resources and support a distributor needs to promote and sell the manufacturer’s products. When companies see partners struggling, they are better prepared to make adjustments to get them the tools and support they require. This in turn can also help companies improve their marketing strategies and increase sales, because they are in tune with what their channel partners need to execute their marketing plans.

How to avoid it

Avoiding this mistake is simple, but it takes time and effort, and it goes back to maintaining open lines of communication. You may want to conduct surveys or focus groups to gather feedback on your marketing strategy and the resources you’re providing. Another approach is to train your sales teams to talk to partners and actively listen to their feedback. 

That will allow you to use your dealer management portal to quickly and effectively provide the training, materials and tools your partners need.

Mistake #3: Lack of training for dealers

The more you understand your partners’ needs, the better you are able to give them the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. Your dealers need to have a deep understanding of your products, your marketing strategy, and your target audience to effectively promote your products.

Too many building materials companies make the mistake of neglecting dealer training. This can lead to a lack of understanding of their products, their brand messaging, and their marketing strategy. That leads to confused customers, poor sales and missed opportunities.

How to avoid it

Invest in training. This may include providing online training resources through your portal, hosting in-person training sessions, or even offering certification programs. Make sure that your training materials are comprehensive, up-to-date, and easy to understand.

Communication leads to effective channel marketing

Building materials is an intense, competitive landscape. One of the best ways companies can stay ahead is to have an effective marketing program run through a robust dealer network.

Navigating the complex landscape of the building material market can be challenging, and even the smallest mistakes can have a significant impact on your success. However, these mistakes are almost always correctable. By communicating with your network, and using a portal to provide the information and resources your partners need, you can have a channel marketing program that’s the envy of your category.


Want to learn more about how ZiftONE can streamline your dealer/distributor program? Check out our Building Material Manufacturers page.