Sales channels to reach your customers

Making your sales channels work together

Guide

Using different sales channels - selling directly, using agents and so on - can make your business more successful. But it can also bring a number of complications.

Most channels - other than face to face sales - distance you from the customer. This means communication becomes a priority. You need to make sure:

  • the channel gets all the necessary information across - whether this is a sales agent or a direct mail letter
  • end customers trust you to deliver quality products or services

For example, you need to ensure sales agents sell your product according to your specifications and enhance your reputation. It is a good idea to ask customers to give feedback to ensure there are no quality issues.

Be particularly careful if more than one channel reaches the same customer. For example, suppose you sell books at your shop and also online. How will customers react if they find you charge different prices? How will agents or distributors react if you compete with them through other channels?

How to manage your sales channels

Each channel you use must be managed. Otherwise, the channel will underperform. For example, if you sell through retailers, you need to encourage them to display your products prominently. You should also offer to train them in the features and benefits so they can sell your products more successfully.

You should:

  • regularly review how each channel is performing
  • look at how you can support the channel - with advertising, service and so on
  • compare the sales the channel provides against your additional costs
  • consider whether sales through that channel are new sales, or sales you would have made anyway