The whole point of using influencers and distributors is to increase your sales efficiency by tapping into their network. You essentially want them to promote their conviction and allegiance to your brand, which is highlighted to their audiences.
That means you’re leveraging their audience, their industry contacts, their expertise and reputation and the overall trust and faith their audience has in them.
To begin with you should target the audience first (not the influencer/distributor)
So many newbies either want to attract top influencers who have huge followings or distribution partners who have a high status whether it be professional status or celebrity.
The problem is, if you focus on the distributor/influencer you’ll find yourself trying to justify your decision by reverse engineering why you think working with that person is a good decision.
A bulletproof strategy is to analyze their list…
A list, in this sense is their audience as influencers and with distribution partners, it’s their client lists.
It’s not the size of the list either! A big list or follower count does not prove any level of engagement or whether the profiles fit your offer.
You should be looking deep into the demographics of that list and whether or not there is an industry fit.
The question you want answered is whether there is enough people in that list that fit your buyer group criteria coupled with whether or not the influencer/distributor has the trust and authority to carry your sales message.
If you understand that then you are ready to begin identifying influencers and distribution partners for your business.
There are 3 main ways to start your distributor and influencer marketing campaigns.
Like any recruitment and hiring practice, you can manage the entire process internally, you can hire an outside agency or you can purchase software to help you search and select the best candidates.
- In-house management
This is more akin to a traditional recruitment or headhunting model. The positive here is that you’re going to have the most control managing outreach and ongoing relationships if you do everything internally. However, the drawbacks are linked to your experience, the systems and software you have in place, the time constraints you are working with and if you can dedicate someone to the job.
Working with agencies will essentially “show you how it’s done.” You’ll benefit from the pre-existing relationships they already have within their own networks of influencers and you’ll also be able to learn some management tips from them simply by observing. The drawback is of course the lack of control you have over the process and that the quality will most certainly vary. Plus you’d be paying an agency fee coupled with whatever the influencer is charging so you’ll need to factor that in too.
There is software which can be used for both in-house management and agencies but there is also a growing number of platforms that serve as marketplaces too. These software options can help you discover and manage relationships with both influencers and other types of distribution partners.
When I first started building my distribution channels I would use more traditional style recruitment software to search databases (including social media) and manage a variety of partnerships.
Back then people were not known as influencers but the roles were the same. They would refer to themselves as affiliates, bloggers, introducers, distribution agents (basically any other name that would describe an external salesforce)
The software I use today is called DistroChannels.
DistroChannels simply provides businesses with access to influencers who want to sell products or services. You can search for influencers and distribution partners in any industry, any country, on any topic in seconds. Searches can be targeted with your target audience requirements and you can also automate your searches so you’re always up to date on top talent.
Features are always being added but its core use case is pretty simple. If you are on the hunt for influencers I would naturally recommend checking out DistroChannels. (www.distrochannels.com)