By: Dan Webster
How important is channel engagement?
If your company’s go-to-market strategy is through an indirect sales channel, keeping your entire channel engaged is critical when it comes to driving sales and increasing revenue for your company. So, this begs the question: what are the most effective ways to engage your sales channel? The 6 Reasons That Front Line Sales People Sell is probably our most popular white paper; it outlines our research findings of the six reasons sales people move your product.
The challenge is often that not all of these are under your control as a person trying to increase actual engagement from the top of your channel to the bottom. Things that are in most cases out of your control are things like quality of your product, brand awareness, and price point – either your product is of high quality or its not, either the brand is recognizable, or it’s not, and where is your product priced relatively speaking in conjunction with quality and brand?
Things that are in your wheelhouse when it comes to channel engagement are making sure that your entire sales channel is educated on the product itself, because we all know an educated channel generally speaking moves more product.
Relationships are another controllable factor when it comes to keeping your channel engaged, hence the better relationship each channel partner has with those above and below them is likely directly related to how much product is on the move.
Then there’s the third and most important driver: incentives. There are all types, and they are the most important factor when it comes to engaging your entire sales channel, especially on a short-term basis, or on a particular product. Whether it’s offering a sell through allowance to a distributor to purchase a larger volume of your product at a reduced price, or an instant rebate to a dealer to increase sales on a specific product, or offer a sales spiff to retail sales associates to have them sell your brand over your competitors or even incenting the consumer with a simple rebate having them buy your product knowing that they are going to get a portion of their money back through a simple online process.
People are not engaged naturally – it takes a direct effort from a product manufacturer to make sure that the product is continuously pushed through the channel. Keeping your channel engaged by educating them on new products and their features and benefits, making sure relationships are fostered between channel partners, and constantly incenting the channel at all levels, will lead to more sales, more revenue, and more fulfillment by each person taking your product to market.
Dan Webster is a Sales Channel Incentive Specialist with 360Incentives.com. Connect with Dan on Twitter @iamdanwebster ,LinkedIn or Google +.