Not every channel will grow at the same rate and you can't invest in all of them equally. Frequent analysis of your business will help you uncover opportunities to expand products or services with a goal of increasing revenue and market share.
- One of the terrific benefits of a well-run channel sales plan, is that there's more than just interaction, but teamwork between so many departments. It's so clear that when sales, marketing, finance and management are onboard with a focus on solving the problem for a customer or a client only positive things can happen. The other areas are the product development, business development and corporate development teams. When these groups work closely with sales, channel partners and marketing teams, then you can really separate yourself from the competition.
Now some of you may say that the development teams are already working with you, but are they? Yes a good first step is having them included and learning from the data and account imput that's available on CRM's. They work with you and your sales staff to customize existing services and products after account calls are made. The other option is that they may look to acquire the service or product your accounts are wanting. Years ago I worked with a company where we had a pretty complex channel sales program.
We offered products and services in many different ways and it felt like we were really maximizing the opportunities afforded to us. Let me preface by saying it was also a time when the U.S. and global economies were really booming. We had one customer that we really worked well with and annual growth was over 10%. One day they approached us with an idea of setting up a series of meetings with our development teams and theirs. We would look at their growth prospects, our capabilities and see if there could be ways to partner more.
What came out were some really exciting new concepts that benefited both companies. That's an ideal situation but a more common and more realistic approach is ensuring that you include your business and product development teams in with you channel reviews. At these meetings you can flag where opportunities exist to be able to sell more products or offer more services. You won't be able to expand in each of the channels at the same time, but by focusing on key growth partners, corporations or retailers you may be able to grow revenue rapidly.
This can only happen when you include business and product development in with your channel planning right from the beginning. Corporate development teams work on potential acquisitions, strategic alliances and partnerships. I used to think that these people were off in their own world dealing with companies wanting to buy, sell or do deals. Yes that's part of what they do, but as one corporate VP once told me, sales and marketing are on the front lines of what's happening in the marketplace. This is especially true for hearing about new companies.
Ones growing quickly, or making a real impact with customers. The feedback sales people can provide to corporate development is invaluable. Intelligent and strategically fit acquisitions are an excellent way to expand channel sales growth and market share. Not every channel will grow at the same rate and you can't invest in all of them equally. The regular reviews of the channels and analysis of the business will help you uncover opportunities and target increased investments.
It's the sign of a strong and well-managed organization that can take advantage of those opportunities to expand product or service offerings, increase revenue, add market share, and taking profitability to new levels.
- Surveying the marketplace
- Reviewing channels
- Managing channels and investments
- Developing a go forward plan
- Working with other departments and teams
- Handling channel conflict
- Forecasting sales
- Creating a channel marketing structure