Benji Rappoport, principal product manager for Sonos, reveals how the company sees residential integrators and how they work with this valuable resource.
How does the custom channel fit into Sonos’s marketing and distribution plans?
Custom installers are our partners in delivering incredible sound experiences in ways that blend seamlessly with how a listener lives, and we aim to empower them with the tools and marketing assets they need to reach their customers. As one example, our partner dealers have direct access to a marketing resource library that provides the latest product images, logos, videos, digital ads, sell sheets, and more. We’re also in the process of building out more installer-specific assets to help meet the unique needs of the channel, including an in-depth technical document we recently shared with dealers about heat dissipation on Sonos Amp.
What does Sonos look for in a dealer partner?
We look to partner with dealers who share our mission to improve the way people live with technology and value the impact music has on the smart home. We prioritize the customer experience over everything else, and want to work with partner dealers who have this same focus and lead with solutions that deliver best-in-class listening.
Are there special programs available for dealers? If so, what do they entail?
Absolutely. We are continuously adding and evolving programs for our partner dealers. For example, we recently launched a trade-up program that allows dealers to offer their customers a discount on a new Sonos product when they trade in a Connect, Connect:Amp, or Play:5 Gen 1. We also provide professional installers with early access to relevant products during a limited GA period, which we offered for Sonos Amp and now Sonos Port. Additionally, we have programs designed to help dealers access Sonos speakers for demo use and for personal use in their own homes, giving them a chance to build hands-on knowledge of the product.
Does Sonos offer any training or support for custom dealers?
We have numerous resources to help dealers stay up to speed on our products and get the tools they need to deliver great sound experiences to their customers. We have dedicated trainers across the country who work closely with dealers in their region, as well as an online learning portal that dealers can access at any time to get information. We’ve also developed training materials specifically for the installer community, focusing on deep technical aspects of the system and ways to integrate Sonos with smart home partners. We host monthly dealer webinars and podcasts that dive deep on topics that our partners care about. In addition to training, we also offer expedited access to our internal support team to help dealers resolve issues quickly and efficiently.
How does Sonos interact with dealers — what paths of communication are open to them?
We aim to keep communication with dealers open and active. Earlier this year we hosted our first ever dealer summit at our headquarters in Santa Barbara, where we were able to share new ideas and learn from the experience that dealers are having today with Sonos. We have also established a Dealer Advisory Board who serve as a sounding board for ideas and feedback and have directly influenced the features and design of products, including Amp and Port. Sonos has a team of dedicated account managers who interact directly with our partner dealers to help them grow their business and assist them with any issues that may arise, along with a dealer portal where we communicate updates in real time and an installed solutions team who send out regular newsletters that share what is happening at Sonos.
What kind of feedback did you receive at CEDIA?
We heard a lot of excitement for our new products we announced earlier this month — Sonos Port, Sonos Move, and Sonos One SL. Sonos Port is the next iteration of our streaming component Connect, and we spent a lot of time talking with dealers to learn their needs for this product. People were especially happy with the addition of a 12V trigger and the new design that fits seamlessly in an AV rack. We also heard dealers are thinking about the backyard as an extension of the home, and many were excited to listen to and learn more about Sonos Move, our first portable, battery-powered speaker, along with the architectural speakers we developed in collaboration with Sonance and launched earlier this year.
With the announcement of new distribution deals for Sonos, how do you see the custom installer relationship changing with the company over the next few years?
We’re really optimistic about what our new distribution partners in the U.S., such as SnapAV, can do for dealers. We are striving to make the relationship with Sonos as simple and accessible as it can be, with even more choice in how dealers can purchase our products. We believe that by offering more paths to purchase from, dealers are able to fulfill more jobs and fill more homes with music.