If your company manufactures a product or service, how can you get it into the consumer’s hands as quickly and inexpensively as possible? You could invest in an in-house sales and marketing team, but that solution might be difficult to develop and scale, especially if you’re breaking into a new market.
Instead, many organizations opt for channel partners, or third-party companies that sell products and services on behalf of the original vendor.
What Are the Types of Channel Sales?
Channel sales can come in many varieties and setups. Some of the most common include:
- Distributor: A company might act as a middleman between a manufacturer and a channel partner. This arrangement occurs when the distributor can shorten the time to market by providing specific training and assistance to the partners.
- Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM): Common in the computer and smart device hardware industry, OEMs manufacture the product initially and allow another company to modify and brand it for sale.
- Systems Integrator (SI): An SI company purchases multiple components from various manufacturers and integrates them together into a sellable product for the end-user.
- Value Added Reseller (VAR): As the name implies, this channel partner adds its own extra features to a product before selling it, whether it’s extra software, technical support, training, or otherwise.
Other versions of channel sales are IT consultants and Managed Service Providers. There is no “one size fits all” solution to channel sales, so don’t be afraid to go through your options carefully.
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Why Invest in a Channel Partner Strategy?
There are several benefits for a manufacturer deciding to adopt an indirect sales channel with partnerships:
- Faster time to market. Channel partners typically already have the distribution infrastructure in place ready for the host company to use.
- Lower cost. With no need to establish your own sales department, partnering with another company to handle the work saves you on your business budget.
- Great way to branch into new markets. Because the partner already has influence in your target audience, your product will have a head start in terms of marketing and brand recognition.
However, not all channel sales initiatives are successful. One of the most common reasons for a partnership program to fail is a lack of channel sales training.
How Do You Increase Channel Partner Sales?
Channel partner sales training is a necessary part of any indirect sales initiative. As the manufacturer of the product or service, your business knows exactly what the features are, how they can help the customer, and what the best ways are to market the product.
Channel sales training aims to provide partners with the information and resources they need to sell effectively. It also gives the manufacturer a chance to align the goals of the sales funnel with its own key performance indicators (KPIs).
Examples of topics for such a training course would include:
- How to answer specific customer questions.
- How to communicate effectively with buyers or with other companies.
- What features of the product should be given emphasis.
- Where some learning resources for buyers would be.
- How to foster additional leads.
- Cross-selling and upselling.
What Tools Can Help?
Channel partner training with a learning management system (LMS) is becoming the standard in business-grade education. Online training specifically engages your partners with your business while minimizing costs.
Because all coursework is available online, partners can access the material from any location and at any time. As a result, there is no need for physical meetings.