You must also align your sales channels with customer demand. When sales channels overlap in functions, both costs and customer frustration increase. How can you best allocate the channel mix to controls costs? And to be sure that customer needs are satisfied?
Here are a few things you should consider when optimizing your channel strategy.
Which products should be sold to which customers through which channels?
There are many factors to consider when thinking about channel product fit. Some things to consider here include:
- How much customization is required?
- What skills need to surround the customization?
- What services need to compliment the product?
- Do you need education and support post sales?
- How much market demand is there?
Also, consider the channel preferences of your end customers. What is the easiest way to do that? By talking to them. One idea is to do an annual purchase behavior study. It should look at both clients and prospects, allowing you to collect thousands of data points. This eliminates over reacting to single or anecdotal data that you may encounter.
Should we consolidate channels?
Channel consolidation is a trend we’ve been seeing in many industries. For example, the conditions in some software companies are causing channel consolidation. It’s a trend you should keep your eye on.
So what should you do? Watch how the market takes shape. Pay attention to your industry. Is channel consolidation happening? If so you’re going to have to respond with a new channel strategy.
Do I have proper coverage across the channel partner network?
There are three simple things you can track here:
- Capacity – How many do you have?
- Capability – How capable are they?
- Location – Where are they located?
This will give you a general sense of your coverage map. And what if you see differences in performances or gaps in coverage? That’s an opportunity to recruit new partners. Or a chance to better enable your existing partners through additional training.
How Should I Select a New Channel Partner?
You’ve determined you need a partner. How should you go about getting one? Any new channel partners must first align with your needs. Some questions to ask yourself here include:
- Do they have an existing relationship with customers that are desirable to your organization?
- Do they promote complimentary products?
- Will it be a natural extension to sell our product?
- Are they committed and willing to invest?
Once you have selected a new partner, the onboarding process can begin. Things like training, certification, etc. should be used to ensure early success.
Your sales team needs a channel optimization strategy. Many companies struggle with this. Often times they instead rely on a series of tactics. Maybe it’s worked in the past, but it’s not enough anymore. If you need help with your channel optimization strategy, sign up for our workshop here. We will walk you through the steps to best allocate your channel mix.