In the world of indirect distribution, where manufacturers don’t sell directly to end customers, relationships with your dealer network and finding the right dealers with the right incentives can make or break sales in a region.
The battle for exclusives with the best distributors is on, we're hearing it.
Who is this post for? Manufacturers who sell through dealer channels:
- You sell products indirectly through dealers or dealer networks
- Your dealers are divided up regionally
- You have limited incentives and want to get the right ones to the right
- You want to make better, data backed decisions about dealer incentives based on a full understanding of the region.
Why would you ever talk to your search company about regional sales and dealer incentives?
I LOVE when clients bring us big business issues and allow us to use search data across their organization in innovative ways.
Dealer networks are about relationships, not rankings, right? We want to challenge that and show how we can pull off doing both.
What I try to do with Seer is establish a relationship starting with search, but to have the client open up about all kinds of business challenges, sometimes we can use search data to help a problem that is bigger than "SEO or Paid", but it impacts e-mail, product, creative, etc.
There's is a way you can use PPC, SEO, Local, and CRM data to help you find dealer opportunities in the new region or a region that is underperforming, lets go through it.
Local SEO data will help you find the dealers saturating that market in local results
Imagine you are selling Honeywell security products and they offer different levels of incentives and partnership to installers as you can see below.
Might it help you to know in a region you are entering, which dealers have the most visibility in that region when it comes to Google search? They might be the kind of partner you bring certain incentives to. Maybe you install your product at their HQ so they can get a better feel for the product and sell it better.
If you’ve already been running paid search, but you are about to enter a new region, or maybe a long standing, top-selling dealer in a region just started selling a competitor's products from a competing manufacturer, which will hurt your sales in that region. What can you do? Talk to your search agency!
PPC data tells you exactly what words drive leads/sales
With your search query report (good luck performance max peeps) you can look at which terms are converting into actual leads for you. This keeps you from relying on “search volumes” but actual propensity to become a legitimate lead /sale.
If you have a retail distribution network vs an installer base and you have a “find a dealer” page, like whirlpool does, where you drive traffic from paid search, you can look at search terms that resulted in partner site clicks too. So maybe you can integrate your analytics data to further determine traffic here too.
Now, you have the terms that your customers were entering, that resulted in a lead form fill out or a click to a retail distribution partner, showing likelihood of conversion.
SEO - Finding the right dealer to incentivize in a region
Once you have all the right search terms from above, you run them through an enterprise keyword tool like Conductor or Stat or Nozzle. These tools will provide you with 2 important data points 1 - where a map result shows up, and 2 - which dealers are showing up in that region.
I got my paid data and my SEO data…now help me find dealers to target!
Great, now you’ve run all of the converting search terms through your SEO tool to find where Google has already learned that a map is a good answer, and the businesses they see as most relevant in the map results. Now you want to run your SEO tool in every region you want to analyze. Let's say you ran 100 keywords for security dealers.
Let's look at Region 1: you now know who is showing up the most for converting, lead driving keywords in that region locally (you have to make your SEO & PPC data speak to each other).
Questions you might want to ask for high converting dealers:
- What incentives can I offer?
- Can I cover some of their costs for their local SEO work?
- Can I offer them CRO or other services to help them convert more and grow their business?
- Are they looking to expand into region 2-3-4, where they have NO visibility or do I need to find other partners there too?
Now with this intel, you might make different decisions.
If you can only pick 1 partner to give your biggest incentive to, do you double down in 1 region or go for the person who is growing their business in multiple regions and has unlocked local SEO in every region they are in, giving you more leads? Well I’m not qualified to tell you what to do, but I want to bring the data to help you make the decisions.
What about CRM data, what role does that play?
The first time we showed this to a client, they offered to share their indirect distribution network and how much revenue was attached to each of those dealers. This allowed us to match up the names by region, and see if they had good SEO visibility or if they were selling a ton of product without the help from local rankings.
The most fun part of this exercise was getting a tough problem from a client and turning that into a solution, one that they didn’t think search could help with but they figured they would tell us anyway.
Supernova to the rescue
In 15-30 minutes we can take all converting terms from paid search that triggered a map and analyze every winning dealer by region. No exports, no downloads, no vlookups, no data cleaning. Just insights, run every month with alerts that show you who is growing in every region you care about winning in, who is losing visibility, etc etc.
Wait there's more!
Flip the process and use it for competitor dealer monitoring!
Identify Competing Dealers and Products in the Target Region
Start by defining the region where you're noticing a slip in your rankings or sales. Run your keywords in that region, and see if your competitors are bidding there. Are dealers suddenly spending more on Google Ads? Maybe they got additional co-op dollars?
SEO tools like Conductor, Stat, or Nozzle & see where dealers rank in terms of local SEO visibility. If they are growing in visibility and your sales are dropping in that region, maybe that dealer visibility is helping your competitor sell more in your region.
Armed with comprehensive data on your competitors' dealer networks and strategies, it's time to respond. Consider how you can adjust your own dealer incentives, support, and partnerships to regain or enhance your competitive edge. Could you offer targeted SEO support or marketing resources to key dealers, what about co-op marketing dollars?
Maybe the best way to win in a region is to set aside time for your corporate SEO team or agency to help dealers rankings thus strengthening your relationship with them and helping them to sell more of your product, we've seen this too.