How Brands Can Empower and Revitalize Their Reps & Independent Contractors

Skate to Where The Puck is Going

Brands rely on their representatives and independent contractors (agents, dealers, consultants, advisors, etc) to build personal relationships with their customers, support their services and sell their products. With COVID, brands have been faced with a unique challenge to respond to the changes in the marketplace as consumer behavior shifts. 

The roles and responsibilities of their staff went from in-person sales and service support to socially distanced meetups, strict cleaning guidelines, and virtual live streamed events. While some companies have already relied on digital transformation to support their growth, many brands were not prepared to integrate digital technology into their work streams.

For example, network marketing brands have had to evolve through continual changes on Facebook in addition to having to respond to quarantine and stay-at-home orders because of COVID. The forced social isolation undercuts the interpersonal nature of consulting-based selling and has placed new importance on digital tools, such as empowering reps and contractors to connect through messaging, and providing them with personal websites as a means to drive online sales.

In response to these new challenges, comes an opportunity for brands to enable their network of contractors and reps with new tools to promote their products and services online. However, the need to maintain brand consistency and voice remains a vital role with any national or global company.

How Technology Can Breed Innovation

The most critical need is to bring your company into the 21st century with digital advertising. Since the arrival of COVID restrictions in March, Americans have been spending more of their lives online. According to a recent study by Apptopia, Facebook usage has increased nearly 30% since February, and that trend hasn’t subsided. Now more than ever brands need to shift their advertising efforts to where their customers are spending their time.

The tech giants of the likes of Facebook and Google are taking note and providing free tools to small- and medium-sized businesses to usher in change as the world adapts to our new reality. For example, Facebook announced that any Facebook or Instagram Business Page will have new features enabled, allowing brands to create fully established e-commerce experiences. Most recently, Facebook announced the launch of Paid Online Events, “a free product that enables “businesses, creators, educators and media publishers” to set up paid events or classes online and keep 100% the revenue themselves — except on iOS, where event hosts must give up the 30% “App-Store tax,” as Facebook called it.”

How Do We Move From Here?

With some industries, such as Hotels and Hospitality, finding the ability to bounce back relatively quickly has been easier with the boost of summer holidays, though most verticals will take much longer to achieve pre-Covid foot-traffic.

Relative Foot-Traffic By Industry

Source SafeGraph

Here are some examples of how industry leading brands are accomplishing this:

  • Giving their team an advertising option to help them continue to drive social connections – Read Case Study
  • Re-establishing the essential role their brand plays in fostering engagement, connections, and product satisfaction through digital marketing – Read Case Study
  • Acclimating their brand message by the state or city level to respond to the ever- changing customer preferences and local government mandates – Read Article
  • Creating more synergies between sales and their brand team to pivot with the right technology

The Right Tool For The Job

Just like a locksmith wouldn’t come to a job site with one tool – brands have a vested interest in cultivating a marketing technology stack that is right for their business. Often brands wildly underestimate the number of marketing technologies they need to deploy in their organization. My advice to you: Keep things simple. Add new tech only when you are truly ready to execute on it and decide on a strategy before you go in search for the tool. The latter of which is the most important.

For the last 5 years of my career I’ve worked at SaaS companies and I have to say – I utterly hate this phrase. The reason being is that buyers or clients are not just in search of a software as a service. When someone at your organization is looking for a software, they are not just looking for a few cool features and a support email address. The truth is that your leader is looking for a new approach to their business problem. 

Elon Musk said that “Great companies are built on great products,” and if you are looking for a new path forward in these unprecedented times, you must continue to challenge, evaluate, and test new solutions. By providing new resources to your reps and contractors alike, you can align your team with the core values of your business no matter how large or small the use case.

As we have seen with other brands, when they provide powerful digital tools to their consultants and reps. The results are virtuous, driving success for the rep and their business, in addition to promoting the brand’s products at the same time.

If you’re looking for more than just new software, but a new way of thinking to enable your network of contractors and reps, I encourage you to contact Tiger Pistol to learn more about how we can help.

David Delaplane is a Regional Sales Director for Tiger Pistol. With over 9 years of experience in SaaS and paid media, David demonstrates his passions for strategic thinking and problem solving by delivering innovative and custom solutions for his clients. 

Facebook Shops is a Bigger Deal Than You Might Think

Starting last month any Facebook or Instagram Business Page will have new features enabled allowing Brands to create fully established e-commerce experiences within the app. Facebook announced this feature calling it Facebook Shops, and this move will make it easier for customers to access Shops on both Facebook and Instagram.

The best part is that creating a Facebook Shop is free and you can choose which products you want to feature with a customized look and feel. Anyone can access Facebook Shops on a business’ Facebook Page or Instagram profile as well as discover them through Stories or ads. Facebook has also taken this opportunity to gather more data about your interests and saved products, even enabling checkouts without leaving the app. Take that Amazon!

Photo Credit: Facebook

If you don’t have a Facebook Shop setup yet don’t worry. Facebook will still direct you to your website. As this becomes more widely adopted, Facebook will further establish itself as an e-commerce platform with even greater insight into buying behavior and order tracking. The future of Facebook Shops is an exciting opportunity to tie in other tools, and the possibilities seem endless. 

Facebook Live Just Got Even More Powerful

Let’s take a look at Facebook Live. Originally positioned as a way to broadcast a conversation to your Page, Group, Profile, or Event, Facebook Live now has a new application by making it easier to showcase, shop, and purchase products on your Facebook Store – all without leaving the app. We could see a shopping channel like QVC taking full advantage of this feature once it’s made more widely available.

Photo Credit: Facebook

Facebook’s Move to Loyalty Programs

The next phase of Facebook Shops will be loyalty programs. Whether you have a current  rewards program at your favorite coffee shop or you’re a new business that needs a way to create a program for your customers, Facebook is testing how they can make it easier to earn rewards at your favorite stores without leaving their app. Only time will tell if these features will begin to compete with bigger reward players like Rakuten. Our bet is on Facebook.

 

Photo Credit: Facebook

How Can Facebook Marketing Partners Help?

The introduction of Facebook Shops has arrived at a critical time, allowing companies to sell products directly through the native Facebook Platform and further increasing Facebook’s market share of online interaction. While this could be a game-changer for many small businesses, the need to advertise through all e-commerce channels in order to drive conversions is still a necessity for any company.

As a preferred Facebook Marketing Partner, Tiger Pistol provides the expertise to help you grow your business and test new tools like Facebook Stores as they become available in Facebook’s API. With nearly a decade of Facebook experience, Tiger Pistol provides a SaaS solution enabling Brands, SMB Resellers, and Agencies to localize their message at an unprecedented scale.

Want to learn more? Please contact us, we’d love to connect.

Sources: Techcrunch, Facebook

David Delaplane is a Regional Sales Director for Tiger Pistol. With over 9 years of experience in SaaS and paid media, David demonstrates his passions for strategic thinking and problem solving by delivering innovative and custom solutions for our clients. As a Chicago native, David enjoys exploring the diverse cultures of the city through food, music, and long runs and bike rides through the many neighborhoods.