The world of technology can be a terrifying place, especially when there are choices galore and you have no idea where to start. Finding the MAP monitoring software isn’t any better, but we’re here for you!
Choosing the right service for your brand takes time and effort to properly research alternatives and identify the best one to fit your MAP policy needs. This post will walk you through the very first thing that you should do before considering into any solutions and the six questions that you should ask yourself as you start looking.
After all, many online retailers prefer to invest in brands that have an effective MAP Policy monitoring process in place.
LET’S LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE
Before you get started on the hunt to make MAP monitoring and enforcement easier, it’s best to look at the overall goals that your brand would like to achieve with its MAP policy.
The mindset and approach that your brand takes to your policy will make a tremendous difference in the goals that you set. In one of our recent articles, we explain how a MAP policy is a long-term investment and an unknown marketing channel that brands need to start paying attention to. These goals will become your north star during the toughest decision making times and prevent your team from getting sidetracked.
During the formation of these goals, which should primarily include sales and marketing individuals, your brand should consider and incorporate these factors:
What’s the size of the company?
How many products does your brand have?
How many dealers does your brand have?
How many distributors does your brand have, if any?
What’s your vision for growth for company size, products, dealers, distributors?
How is your MAP policy setup?
Does your brand have many violators?
Is your brand aware of how many violations?
Does your brand get complaints from dealers?
Who is an example brand within your industry or product segment that’s doing a good job with their MAP policy? How are they managing their policy and handling violators?
Is there any brand that you want avoid being like?
Do you want to save employees time?
Do you want to eliminate hiring a new employee?
All of these things play a role in your MAP policy goals and ultimately, in how you choose a MAP monitoring software. In the next section, we’ll walk you through some other key aspects to find a platform that works for your brand.
HOW TO CHOOSE A MAP MONITORING SOFTWARE
The space for MAP monitoring software is ripe for growth -- if you think there’s a ton of options now, oh just wait and see! In a few years, there will be many, many more.
In the search for the right tool for your brand, you should pay close attention to how you answer these six question for each new service that you look into.
Are you provided with actionable, high-quality data?
With the sheer vastness of the internet, your MAP monitoring software should offer computer intelligent price and image recognition that weeds through information and feeds you the data that you need.
This is critical to catching your violators and getting them on the road to compliance. Not to mention, it’ll save you the agonizing headache of manually having to comb through everything yourself.
At times, software can miss or falsely identify sellers in violations which can take away more time and use up more effort on your end.
To prevent that, choose a service that provides your brand with high-quality data that’s reputable and actionable. The best way to ensure that you are getting the right kind of information is to always take advantage of the trial periods that are offered.
Are you able to communicate with your customers?
Flooded email inboxes aren’t fun and a monitoring software shouldn’t make it worse.
Imagine if you had a MAP monitoring tool where you kept everything -- seller profiles, violations, reports, etc. Everything, but your communication with MAP violators. Separating the monitoring and enforcement of your MAP policy into two different tools can be disastrous. Unless you are an extremely organized and detail-oriented person with enough time on their hands to consolidate the information from both tools, this is probably not the way to go!
Consider software that actually allows your brand to do the monitoring AND enforcement from one platform. It will make things much easier, and maybe cut down some of that clutter in your inbox. Ensure the communication features can scale no matter how many users are connected to an account or sellers you have.
Check if it’s possible to customize your communication (ie. can you schedule when notifications go out?) and segment information to different audiences. For instance, you may want to send a ‘thank you’ note to complying sellers, but a completely different message to your repeat violators.
Are you able to stay organized and on track with little hassle?
One word: streamline.
Like we mentioned in the previous point, everything should be on one platform -- centralize everything! Information about sellers, violation details, email templates, seller communication, any reports, and the list can go on. Not having to search in several different places saves you half of the battle.
It’s too easy for things to get lost, for dates to be missed, or things be forgotten. MAP monitoring software should be your brain dump that allows you to setup your information in an organized fashion, and in turn, helping you stay on track and on top of things.
Is the data easy to digest? There’s a lot that goes on under the hood to manage MAP compliance and it’s usually not sexy stuff -- there’s plenty of information going back and forth. It should be easy for you to get the information that you need when you need it the most.
Are you able to get up and go?
In other words, how easy is the software to use?
Do you need to be extensively trained by support staff, or is it a tool that you can intuitively pick up with little to no onboarding and training? Since managing MAP compliance is not the primary business activity of any brand, it’s best to look for software that requires minimal uptake time on your end.
This is especially important if you’ll be passing on the responsibility to someone else, or need to train someone new onto the platform. Think about simplicity. There may be solutions that come with all the bells and whistles and then some, but if it requires tons of training and isn’t necessary to get the job done -- why bother?
Who’s the team behind the technology and what kind of customer support is offered?
It’s not only about the technology, it’s about the people behind it as well. When you look at any new MAP monitoring software, consider two things: (1) is the service backed and/or created by a team of experts (2) are you able to easily contact their customer support?
Working with a MAP monitoring solution where the founders and team have experienced the issues and frustrations themselves makes a big difference. First hand experience often results in a product that meets most or all of the requirements of a brand and their MAP management needs.
Secondly, customer support is crucial. Does the company limit the support to certain channels? Are they easy to get a hold of? What hours are they available? How fast will issues be resolved? Many brands forget about this factor when it comes to looking for a monitoring and enforcement tool. However, you want to find a company that’s professional, responsive, and always willing to help.
How does pricing fit within the budget?
Many prospects have come to us and have turned the other way because our pricing did not fit within their budget (and we’re one of the more affordable options compared to what’s out there!).
We get it, we understand -- sometimes you have no control over how much you have to spend on a solution. Whether you do or don’t, keep in mind that your MAP monitoring software is an investment, not a cost.
Over time, the return on investment will reveal itself. How? With MAP compliance rates under control, you preserve profit margins for your sellers. With this extra financial padding, your sellers are more likely to invest in your brand and its products, leading to more sales and higher revenues.
Just like when two people fall in love, or you find the shoe that fits, or the perfect song at the right moment, your brand will know when its found the right MAP monitoring software. Things will just click!
Yet before this excitement phase, ensure that your brand has goals in place to guide your MAP policy strategy and management. From there, as you browse through the different solutions, pay attention to data quality, customer communication abilities, organization, ease of use, customer service, and cost.
With all of this in mind, your brand will be able to find the software that makes it a breeze to monitor and enforce your MAP policy.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic. – Arthur C. Clarke