Friday, February 19, 2010

The Sales Channel: 5 New Rules for the Manufacturer

If you're a manufacturer and sell through a sales channel of distributors, dealers or reps, here are five new rules for success:

1) Talk to the channel. If you don't communicate in-person (on the phone, video conference or on site), they will forget you're human. It's all about people--show them you're one.
2) Communicate in one language. Simplify the corporate-speak. Reduce the fancy themes for every platform and program you have. The channel is supposed to be busy selling, not doing translations.
3) Include. Don't just focus on the salespeople; the entire dealership, for example, is full of influencers, from the receptionist to the service folks to the technical geeks. They all count. Give them attention and access to as many programs, events, and opportunities as possible. They may be more value than some of the salespeople.
4) Face the invisible elephants. If there are perceptions or issues that might be barriers to the sales channel performing, own up to them. Put them on the table. Address them and what you're doing about them.
5) Ask and expect. Ask of the channel. Don't just entertain them with incentives or meetings. Expect them to know your product before you reward them with incentives or glamorous meetings--that includes training and certifying them. Ask them for input. They have ideas, let them speak. They just may know something valuable.

If you're a corporation with a sales channel or if you're a sales channel (dealer, distributor or rep) feel free to follow our blog dedicated to that single topic. It's called:

Barry LaBov
LaBov and Beyond
LaBov Sales Channel
PB&J Newsletter

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