Entrepreneurs – when you choose a distribution channel – a sales organization – how do you make that decision?
You want the distribution channel process to be easy to navigate and abundant for both of you.
Recently I asked a collection of passionate entrepreneurs this question and they all answered in a similar manner: The product will sell itself!
Truth is that hardly happens. You need a sales force and for many that is a luxury that we can not afford. So our salesforce will be outsourced through a partner distribution channel. Before you sign with a distribution channel; make sure you know the answers to the following questions:
- How are they paid?
- How should you incent the salesforce to ensure that they sell your product?
- How do you integrate your product and processes into their selling and fulfillment process?
- How difficult is your product to sell? Be honest, is the problem that your product solves for their client intuitive? Or is it difficult to explain?
- Have you written and provided the distribution channel the sales aids that they want or just the ones that you like or think are good?
- Do you treat your distribution channel like your client?
- Do you share the same corporate principles and values? This makes a long term distribution agreement easier to negotiate and enjoyable to implement.
So get in your kayak and paddle together. You have built a great product and service and your distribution channel will lead you to profitable sales.
Cara MacMillan MBA