By Matt Goldman
JuralMin / Pixabay
The primary goal of a sales team is, of course, sales. Achieving that may be straightforward for small organizations with a clear, single sales channel. However, complex businesses with many sales channels can benefit from a more inclusive approach. A successful multichannel strategy engages marketing, distribution, and finance teams, among others. It may also spend equal amounts of time managing direct and indirect sales teams. This integrated approach can increase profits, but it can also increase management challenges. To reach the ultimate goal of more sales, managers should have a solid understanding of sales channel marketing and its many components.
Sales Channel Marketing Responsibilities
As noted above, a myopic focus on sales may not lead to more sales, especially in a large, interconnected channel sales strategy. An effective strategy identifies the best use of marketing and sales resources to increase collaboration and minimize conflict. To achieve those broad goals, a sales channel management strategy should align the efforts of in-house and external teams.
The Roles of Marketing, Sales, and Distribution
So what is channel marketing? What role does it have in a sales channel strategy? A channel marketing strategy supports a sales team by building awareness for a product and helping prepare a potential customer for interaction with a sales team member.
A channel marketing strategy may help prospects simply know a product exists. For well-known products, it may continue to keep a brand top-of-mind or reaffirm its core differentiators. During long sales cycles, a marketing team may deliver a continuous set of messages to potential clients to help prospects “warm up” for the sales team.
Historically, the distinction between the marketing and sales departments—the former responsible for leads, the latter for sales—has led to conflicts. When profits sag, marketers tend to claim that sales staff are failing to close quality leads. For its part, members of the sales team tend to argue that the leads are poor quality.
This potential source of conflict can quickly undermine an effort to develop a functional multi-channel strategy, which depends on deep collaboration. The need for collaboration may extend beyond the marketing and sales teams to include distribution partners as well. While the marketing and sales channels must deliver sales, the distribution channel must fulfill those obligations.
A dysfunctional distribution component can severely inhibit a business’s ability to deliver a product or service to customers. Thus, all three channels must work together to build a sustainable multi-channel strategy that promises customers persuasive benefits and delivers those benefits consistently.
Direct Sales, Indirect Sales, and Channel Conflict
Even within sales, there are important distinctions. Direct sales refer to those sales made by sales staff within the company. Indirect sales are those handled by third-party partners. This distinction has two primary implications:
- Sales channel marketing should support direct and indirect sales.
A channel marketing strategy may need to influence more than just end-of-line customers. It may also need to influence the partners that are part of an indirect sales strategy. After all, partners are interested in working with companies that will help them make Go to the full article.
Source:: Business 2 Community