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Why Sonos Needs a Referral Program

Dealers get cut out when the company reaches out directly to clients.

Before you read this, understand that I love Sonos. My company is a Sonos dealer. I have Sonos products all over my house. That said, I call them like I see them.

Sonos debuted three new products last month: Arc, Five, and Sub. The most exciting launch appears to be the Arc, a long overdue makeover of the Playbar, which has been getting a little long in the tooth since its 2014 introduction. This time certainly feels a lot different than 2014. I can remember being ushered into a luxury suite at Washington’s Gaylord National Hotel to be shown the Playbar. We proceeded to sell hundreds of them over the last six years.

Related: The Sonos Solution

Fast forward to 2020 and the Arc’s debut. I realize we’re socially distancing, but a little more of a heads up would’ve been nice. Still, it’s not the end of the world. The real friction I have centers around the marketing campaign launched right after the product announcement. Every Sonos customer (including the customers we introduced to Sonos) received an email prompting them to “preorder now.” Sonos took the step of telling our customers and your customers that they can order products sooner directly from them than they can from you, their integrator dealer partner.

Sonos could easily fix this problem by letting its dealer base know that any direct sales from a dealer-created account would be eligible to participate in a spiff program, a rebate program, a giveaway, or anything at all! Most dealer-focused vendors send their customer interest and sales back through the dealer channel. In cases where vendors see issues with doing that for a number of reasons (Control4 with 4Sight licensing or Alarm.com with their opt-in push marketing), they offer up an olive branch by cutting the dealer in somehow.

I had a chance ask Sonos if I had any of my facts wrong. They offered up this response: “We have a lot of programs in place to support our dealers and are always looking for more ways to add value to these relationships. They have been — and always will be — an important part of our business.”

Stay frosty, and see you in the field.

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