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Channel Management 101
In today’s highly competitive marketplace, maintaining a fruitful relationship with channel distributing partners is a fragile endeavor. Without a moment’s notice, a business-rapport that seemed impenetrable can suddenly evolve into something dangerously unstable, and risk everything that was once firmly established.
But in regards to such ‘channel partner gaffes,’ who is to blame? Sure, in many instances context would seem to be the underlining culprit to reprimand, but perhaps this way of thinking is the reason so many businesses find themselves in such circumstances in the first place.
Whether it’s ego, negligence, arrogance or simply inadequate supervision, it seems many manufacturing businesses have difficulty managing relationships with their channel (distributing) partners. Fortunately, the core of most inefficiently-run B2B partnerships are easily avoidable and don’t take a substantial amount of resources to improve.
Here are 3 of the most common mistakes manufacturers make when dealing with their channel distributing partners:
Viewing your Distributor as your Consumer, not as your Teammate…
Sure, you may cash your checks at their expense, and it may be their business that streamlines your own, but that doesn’t make your channel distributing partners your customer. In fact, interpreting your distributor as your consumer (instead of your teammate) is a surefire way to instill hostility into your working relationship.
Ultimately, your business and your channel distributor’s business should be working towards the same goal: selling your product to the end-customer. After all, your relationship with your distributor wouldn’t exist unless there wasn’t someone who required your product and their service respectively.
Putting your Eggs all in One Basket
Anyone who has ever been involved in sales will tell you, “selling is hard.” It requires not only a well-rounded understanding of the product at hand but also a considerable amount of patience, time, energy and empathy towards the end-user’s best interest(s).
Unless the product he or she is selling is a “true commodity,” capitalizing on a lead and/or finalizing a deal is by no means easy. And when you combine that reality with the reality of your product being one of many products your channel distributing partners salespeople sell, maintaining a profitable profit margin becomes even more complicated.
With that in mind, assuming your distributor can sell your product “at will” is foolish, and all too common delusion of the B2B relationship. Limit this threat by expanding your sales platforms/channels and diversifying how information gets into the hand of their end-customer. Solely relying on your channel distributing partners to be the begins-all-ends-all money-maker is risky (and potentially detrimental) sales strategy.
Failing to Rely on Communication to Resolve Basic Discrepancies
As goes the common conflict regarding most spousal-disputes, miscommunication is the reason why so many (once fruitful) relationships fall apart. It’s the “glue” that holds people together, resolving the dispute via collaborative discussion while providing insight into another’s doubts, misconceptions, and ideas.
The basis that makes communication an imperative component to longevity within a romantic relationship, the same can be said about channel ‘partnerships.’ Failure to communicate with your distributors on a regular basis all but guarantees issues down the road. Seldom communication between you and your channeling partner broadens your objectives, making issues harder to adjust the longer they go unspoken. And B2B communication shouldn’t always elaborate on problems, they should also focus on suggestions, industry news/threats/updates, competition, and casual conversation.
The Power of ‘Automation’ via Channel Sales Management
Computer Market Research (CMR) helps businesses maximize their relationship with distributing partners and establish transparent, two-way communication that is built around one common goal: success. Our robust, state-of-the-art automation module presents the perfect platform for managing your channel sales program, and we have 32 years of industry experience to prove it.