Monday, April 14, 2008

Channel partners are not your direct sales force

There's a nice post over at the Achieve Market Leadership blog talking about why B2B companies struggle to sell through channel partners. In sum, companies treat channel partners as if they were direct sales forces, instead of treating them like retailers.

A direct sales force sells what the company has. It has no option to sell anything else.

Retailers pick and choose which products they stock, decide where to place them, and simply remove those that don't sell enough. Companies selling through retail realize they need to entice their retailers, either with incentives, great product, or pull-through marketing.

Channel partners often don't have issues with shelf space, but they still decide which products to recommend to customers. If you treat them like a captive sales force, you will be blind to their priorities and issues. As a result, your program won't fit what they need, and they won't push your product.

There's a lot more in the post. It's well worth reading in full.

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