Reasons Why Budtender Feedback Is Vital For Cannabis Brand
If your cannabis brand has been around since the end of prohibition in your state, you may remember the days when it seemed like simply getting your product onto local dispensary shelves was enough to drive sales.
After all, your entire consumer base was energized and excited: excited to shake off the stigma surrounding the use of cannabis, excited to participate in legal consumption, and maybe most of all, excited to gain access to a wide variety of high-quality cannabis strains and products.
But the nostalgia of those early days may be just that. Remember a little deeper into those times and consider the start-up costs, licensing challenges, and failures to evolve that sank some of the companies around you.
What is the difference between those of you who are still around and those of you who aren’t? What was the secret sauce that opened the doors of success and growth to some, while slamming them shut to others? And most importantly, where is the path moving forward to keep those doors open and allow you to continue to navigate a diverse, complex, and ever-changing cannabis marketplace?
No matter what kind of business you run, having an effective set of strategies to monitor and adjust to the market is critical, and in today’s blog from the team at Learn Brands — a university-level cannabis learning management system — we’re looking at one that many cannabis organizations aren’t fully utilizing: budtender feedback.
Our online budtender training and education platform provides for accessible, customizable budtender feedback modules to provide you with meaningful front-line data about your line of cannabis products, and here are five reasons why that matters:
1. Budtenders are Trained to Do This
First and foremost, the budtenders of today are not so different from the bartenders, sommeliers, and high-end waitstaff of today. These are passionate, hard-working individuals who often have received a high-level of training that allows them to develop, discuss, and disseminate intelligent, educated opinions about the products they have to offer customers.
When you ask for budtender feedback, you’re essentially asking them the same questions that they professionally address every day they clock in: “What do you recommend?”, “What’s good for an afternoon spent cleaning the house?”, “Why?”
Budtenders don’t sell cannabis products, they facilitate the sale of cannabis products, and there's a big difference. No one recommends what kind of gas you should put in your car, they just ring it in and hand over a receipt. But budtenders educate people, listen to their needs, answer their questions, and strive to provide options that will keep them coming back and continuing to put their trust in the team at their local dispensary, rather than the one across town.
In short, budtenders are trained and taught to provide legitimate and meaningful feedback, and this is something your cannabis brand can leverage.
2. Rely on Budtender Expertise and Experience
It’s not just that your budtenders are well-trained professionals who understand the complexities of terpenes, processing differences, strain nuances, and industry trends, they’re also some of your most avid and savvy consumers.
By and large, most budtender training involves sampling — a topic we covered recently. Sampling empowers budtenders to gain a level of familiarity with the wider world of cannabis products that the average consumer simply can’t afford, doesn’t have the time for, or is too set in their ways to dive into.
This level of experience makes them one of, if not the single most, relevant touch points for understanding where your cannabis products fall on the various spectrums of the marketplace: price, packaging appeal, useful application, popularity, etc.
However, budtender feedback isn’t just about technical expertise. As we mentioned, these are also passionate consumers of your products who are often longtime users of cannabis. They have an innate ability to understand and tap into the less tangible aspects of cannabis use and sales such as why people use cannabis, what motivates them to branch out to new brands, and what kinds of users are looking for what kinds of experiences.
How else and where else can your organization collect this kind of useful information outside of the arena of budtender feedback?
3. InfluenceYour Product Ambassadors
One look at the modern workplace should be enough to know that the most thriving companies — the companies that know how to attract the best talent and engage their customers in dynamic ways — offer attractive workplace cultures that almost always include an emphasis on employee input, feedback, and ideas. And while the budtenders at the various dispensaries you supply your line of cannabis products to aren’t actually on your payroll, they are about as close as someone can get without submitting an income tax document.
These people are just as much a part of your sales team as your actual sales team, and truthfully, they might just play an even more important role. While your sales representatives work to get products onto shelves, the professional budtenders at the local dispensary are the ones who work to make sure that it actually leaves those shelves in the hands of happy consumers. Without that, there wouldn’t be a home on those shelves for your products at all.
Budtenders are your brand ambassadors to your end-customer — the cannabis consumer. When you work to provide your budtenders with a sense that you care what they think, value their opinions, and understand the critical role they play in the success of your operation, you’re creating buy-in for them and incentivizing them to actively and avidly spread the word about why your brand is worth noticing, trying, and supporting.
By seeking out budtender feedback, you’re ultimately letting the point-of-sale-person in that local dispensary know that they — and their well-informed opinions — matter to your brand.
4. Rely on Informal Budtender Education
As we touched on in reason two, budtender education and training should provide you with the confidence in the feedback that you can expect to receive from them. But beyond the formal training and personal experiences they bring to the table, there is an incredible amount of informal education that they are receiving every day through their interactions with customers and consumers.
From hearing anecdotes about how a specific product helped to alleviate some kind of discomfort when nothing else had been working to receiving objections from consumers about product packaging, experience, cost, etc., budtenders’ work environments are essentially a place of non-stop professional development.
By providing a forum for budtender feedback, your brand can gain the ability to tap into the more subtle and hard to reach aspects of understanding consumer activity.
5. Support Your Own Front-Line Sales Strategy
All in all, working to collect input from the budtenders that sell your cannabis products provides you with important insights, experienced and educated opinions, critical feedback to improve your brand, and most importantly, a competitive edge in the place where your product lines leave the shelves and go home with your customer base. So the real question isn’t, “Why should I care about budtender feedback?”, but rather, “What am I waiting for?”
Learn Brands Can Help You Collect Budtender Feedback
Think we’re just blowing smoke about all of this? There’s only one way to find out. Reach out today and discover how our online cannabis learning management system can provide you and your brand with the critical feedback from budtenders from over 1,700 dispensaries — and we’re growing every day — that you’re looking for.
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