Understanding and Defining Sales Channels | Summary and Q&A

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September 2, 2018
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Understanding and Defining Sales Channels

TL;DR

Channels and distribution in marketing involve determining how to get a product from the company to the end-user, whether through direct sales, channel partners, or OEMs.

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Key Insights

  • ❤️‍🩹 Understanding channels and distribution in marketing involves deciding how to deliver products to the end-user.
  • 🧑‍🏭 Channel partners act as intermediaries that help expose products to a broader audience.
  • ❤️‍🩹 OEMs are large manufacturing entities that may have relationships with channel partners and sell products directly to end-users.
  • 😥 It is important to choose a focal point for your distribution model and consider expansion over time.
  • 🥺 Having multiple routes to market can lead to channel conflict, where the end-user is unsure who to buy from.
  • ❓ Managing channel conflict is crucial to prevent competition within your sales organization.
  • 📁 Direct sales require establishing a one-to-one relationship with each customer.

Transcript

the first part to go to market is understanding what a channel is in the channel definition on one side as you as a company and you are the producer let's say of software or product on the other side is the end user what we need to figure out is how do I get a product from here to here if I decide to know what's called direct that means you as a co... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is a channel partner in the context of marketing?

A channel partner is an intermediary entity that helps expose a company's product to a large number of end-users. They can be retailers, distributors, or other businesses that facilitate product distribution.

Q: How does selling through channel partners differ from selling directly?

Selling through channel partners means the company doesn't directly interact with the end-user. Instead, they rely on the channel partner to handle sales and distribution. Direct sales require establishing a one-to-one relationship with each customer.

Q: What is an OEM in the context of marketing?

An OEM, or original equipment manufacturer, is a large manufacturing company that may also have relationships with channel partners. They can sell products directly to end-users or through their distribution mechanisms.

Q: What is channel conflict and why is it important to manage?

Channel conflict occurs when different routes to market, such as direct sales and channel partners, compete for the same end-users. Managing channel conflict is crucial to avoid confusion for the end-user and minimize competition within the company's sales organization.

Summary

This video discusses the concept of channels and the different ways a company can bring its product to the market. The three main distribution models mentioned are going directly to the end-user, utilizing a channel partner, or working with an OEM (original equipment manufacturer). It emphasizes the importance of choosing a primary model to start with and avoiding channel conflict.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the definition of a channel in the context of bringing a product to market?

In the context of bringing a product to market, a channel refers to the means by which a company delivers its product to the end-user. It involves establishing a connection between the producer (the company) and the consumer (the end-user).

Q: What does it mean for a company to go direct?

Going direct means that the company interacts directly with the end-user and handles all aspects of the transaction themselves. There is no intermediary involved in the distribution process. This requires establishing a one-to-one relationship with each customer and managing the entire sales process.

Q: What role does a channel partner play in the distribution of products?

A channel partner is an intermediary entity that helps expose a company's product to a larger number of end-users. They act as a bridge between the company and the consumers, leveraging their distribution mechanisms and networks to reach a wider audience. In the tech world, channel partners may include dedicated intermediaries or distributors who enable the sale of products through their channels.

Q: Can you provide an example of a channel partner?

A drug store can be considered a channel partner in the context of selling products such as aspirin or toothpaste. Instead of directly selling these items to the end-users, the producer goes through a distributor or channel partner, which in this case would be the drug store. The drug store acts as a distribution channel, making the products available to a large number of customers.

Q: What is an OEM and how does it fit into the distribution model?

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. It refers to large manufacturing entities that have relationships with channel partners and also sell products directly to end-users. Companies like Amazon or Hewlett-Packard are examples of OEMs. They are capable of functioning at multiple levels within the distribution chain, leveraging their size and influence to reach a wider audience.

Q: Why is it important to choose a focal point or primary model when defining the channel strategy?

Choosing a primary model is important because attempting to execute all distribution models simultaneously can be overwhelming and ineffective. It is more realistic and practical to have a focused approach and gradually expand into other models over time. Selecting a primary model allows the company to allocate resources and develop expertise in one area before expanding further.

Q: How does channel conflict arise and why is it a concern for companies?

Channel conflict arises when there are multiple routes to market and different touchpoints for end-users to purchase the product. For example, if a company is both selling directly to customers and through a channel partner, the end-user may be unsure of which option to choose. This creates competition within the company itself, leading to the need to reduce prices or offer additional incentives to secure the sale. Channel conflict can impact sales and relationships with both end-users and channel partners.

Q: What should companies be careful of when starting out to reduce channel conflict?

When starting out, companies should be cautious of potential channel conflict and aim to minimize it as it starts to materialize at the end-user level. It is crucial to ensure that there is clarity and coordination between the direct sales organization and the channel partners. Communication and alignment are key to reducing channel conflict and maintaining a smooth distribution process while avoiding competition between the company's different sales channels.

Q: What are some key considerations when deciding on a distribution model?

When deciding on a distribution model, companies should consider factors such as their target market, the nature of their product, the capabilities and resources available, and the competitive landscape. It's essential to evaluate the potential benefits and drawbacks of each model in relation to the company's goals and long-term strategy. Careful analysis and understanding of the market and customer preferences can guide the decision-making process.

Q: How can a company adapt and evolve its distribution strategy over time?

A company can adapt and evolve its distribution strategy over time by staying attuned to market dynamics, customer feedback, and emerging trends. Continuous evaluation of the chosen distribution model and its effectiveness in reaching the target audience is crucial. As the business grows, additional distribution models can be incorporated, new channel partners can be explored, or a shift to direct sales may become viable. Flexibility and the ability to adapt to changing market conditions are essential for long-term success in distribution strategy.

Takeaways (in one paragraph)

When defining a channel strategy, companies need to carefully consider the various distribution models available to them, such as going direct, utilizing channel partners, or working with OEMs. Choosing a primary model to start with is important, as it allows the company to focus its efforts, establish relationships, and allocate resources effectively. However, companies should also be mindful of potential channel conflict and work towards reducing it by ensuring coordination and clarity among their sales channels. Adaptation and evolution of the distribution strategy over time is essential to address changing market dynamics and customer preferences, allowing for long-term success.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Companies must decide how to deliver their product from themselves to the end-user, either through direct sales or by using intermediaries like channel partners or OEMs.

  • Channel partners are entities that expose products to a large number of end-users, such as retailers or distributors.

  • OEMs, or original equipment manufacturers, are large companies with multiple levels of relationships that may sell products through channel partners or directly to end-users.

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