It can be referred to as moving the product through integrator so as to support their sales efforts and using different marketing platforms to create demand and provide lead generation. In other words, channel-friendly sales strategy is one where companies do not rely on direct sales only; but also make use of indirect sales opportunity in order to increase sales.
Sales Strategy: Meaning and need
A sales strategy is an important factor to ensure successful outcome for the company. The long term growth of the company depends on its sales strategy. A specific and closely monitored strategy assures positive outcomes for the company.
Sales funnel is referred to as course of action prepared and followed by a company to increase its sales, revenue and in turn profits. It is very important to have a good sales strategy. It should be in alignment with the mission and vision of the company. It is imperative to keep in mind the goal of the company as a whole for preparing successful sales strategy. If this is not done, then it will have undesirable impact on long term performance of the company.
Sales strategy should be revised from time to time in order to enhance the positive outcome for the company. It should not happen that strategy once prepared is being followed year on year. This is because as the time passes, requirements of the business and outlook of the customer changes. To keep up with the changes, strategies should be updated.
Ways to drive channel-friendly sales strategy:
- Identify the benefits of following sales channels and devote to that: In order to do something or in order to start following something, it is essential that one understands the benefits of that. A company should find and understand what will be the positive outcomes of using channel-friendly sales strategy. Then only it will be willing to devote to that. Once it is found and understood, company would like to commit to it. It is seen in many cases that channel-friendly sales like using channel partnership, tie-ups with third-party vendors , partnership with dealers , etc., helps in improving sales of the company to a great extent and help in reducing efforts.
- Analyze the market situations: A company should analyze the prevailing market situations like market demand for a particular product, trends, competitors, etc., and then make strategy accordingly as to how the product should be moved. This analysis will make it easy for the company to find out and decide which all channels should be used to increase the sales and which channel is the most beneficial. This will also prevent wastage of resources and will help in saving opportunity cost (by not using efficient and effective sales channel in a proper manner).
- Do not always try to be in comfort zone: Though, many companies feel it is comfortable for them to follow direct sales method, but success cannot be achieved by always remaining in comfort zone. By following direct sales strategy, company is losing in terms of opportunity cost. This means company is not exploiting all available opportunities to increase the business. It is losing in terms of terms and thereby profitability. If company start following channel friendly sales strategy and make indirect sales as well, it will be able to extend its reach beyond national boundaries and become popular across the globe.
- Make a dedicated channel-management team: Companies should make a team to look after the management of sales channel. It should be assigned with responsibilities right form analysis to selection, training and post-selection management of the sales channel, channel partners and all other associated parties. The channel manager should also be trained to effectively channelize the product. Also, he should be able to think from global perspective but should act keeping in mind the local situation as well. This will help to increase the sales of the company at global level.
- Choose the right channel partner and simplify the onboarding process: Companies should keep an important factor in mind that only channelizing the sale through channel partners or only start following indirect sales strategy will not make them at successful at global level. In order to be successful, selection of the right partner is also very important who will drive your sales and will increase it manifolds. Also, it should be ensured that the process for onboarding the partners should be easy so that they feel like collaborating with a company.
- Learn and adapt new strategies: A company should make arrangements- like conducting seminars, case study discussion, etc. to better equip the channel management team with strategies which are followed globally. Also it should be taught that which factors are to be kept in mind while selecting strategy. There is no single fit for all the situations.
The Co-ordination between CRM team and Channel management team (Partner Relationship Management – PRM) will help the company to stand out high in the market at global level. At the end, I would like to mention one thing that while preparing sales strategy, company should keep in mind to provide for optimum use of CRM tool and provide best CRM service so as to enhance customer service experience. This is essential to drive sales of the company.