Channel Management is another sales and marketing phrase that is thrown around like everyone knows what it means.
After our decades in working with the channel, Those Infocomm industry manufacturers that understand the fine nuances of channel management are the ones that consistently grow their sales with annual double digit growth. Those that don't can still grow, but it is usually more costly to achieve similar results and creates much more unnecessary work for all involved. Channel management in this vertical market of audio and visual communications is different from the consumer distribution chain in that it is up close and personal. It is a small industry and word spreads quickly. It is one where personal face-to-face conversations have tremendous value to the dealer. We make sure we do our best to communicate the needed steps our manufacturers should consider in working closely with the AV Channel.
What is Channel Management Anyway?
First, it is more how we manage our time and resources in the channel. You will NOT manage and independent dealer or integrator. They do not work for the manufacturer. You may influence them to do what you hope or influence them to move away from you by your people or your policies, but you won’t manage them. Ask a dozen AV hardware manufacturers their definition of channel management and most likely you will get twelve dissimilar definitions.
A Suggested Plan for Your Effective Channel Influence when working with Anew C.T.
- Work with your Anew C.T. Sales Director closely.
- Communicate Frequently with Anew C.T. about all field related subjects
- Do not make calls into the dealer channel in their territory without them present unless absolutely necessary. If so, both do a review afterwards
- Do ask your channel what they need to succeed in selling more of your product, then create that for them
- Train your Anew Sales Director Technically so he can train the dealer channel so everyone is comfortable and excited to sell your product
- Design dealer sales people incentive programs that have some longevity. Stay away from the end of quarter panic – slashing prices for the sake of volume
- Know your customer – Make special programs for those special Key Accounts
- Technical Support – Make this a priority as a company. It will launch you or sink you, your choice
- Incentives – Offer exciting incentives and clearly communicate the expectation of sales volume or growth expected. Track results and keep all parties accountable. Pay incentives quickly
- In the end, channel success is much like the Golden Rule. If you were a dealer, and you wanted to succeed, what would you want of your manufacturer partner?