Effectively growing your business revenue needs a lot more than just a regular sales effort. Developing and implementing sales channels is a key strategy to get to the next level, and build your business into an Asset of Value. But, before you begin utilising specific sales channels, consider how effective they will be for building your business. You must first understand where, why, and how, your customers want to buy your products and services. On The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield, Pavlo Phitidis showcased different types of sales channels, and how you can use them to grow your revenue:
Listen to the podcast HERE.
WHAT IS A SALES CHANNEL?
A sales channel is the mechanism you use to sell to your customers. These can be direct or indirect, and creating a variety of sales channels is imperative to remain ahead of your market and competitors. But, beware: poorly considered sales channels will not deliver the results you want. In fact, they may well generate more complexity, mixed messaging, cashflow bleed and cannibalized sales. Here are a few that you should be using:
1. DIRECT SALES CHANNELS
Direct sales channels involve selling your products to your customers, face-to-face.
- The ability to easily explain and demonstrate complex products.
- The opportunity to learn more about your customers’ unique problems and desires, while delivering a specialised service.
- The potential to use and improve your sales skills.
- The chance to build a personal relationship with your customers.
- Direct sales channels can be expensive to run, requiring a larger team, premises, and travel expenditure.
- They are people intensive, creating a variety of performance management and customer experience challenges.
- Replicating your success in other regions can be difficult: A successful business in KwaZulu-Natal may not be as successful in Gauteng.
- In growing businesses with ambitions to spread their reach and drive sales, opening new branches is a common strategy.
2. INDIRECT SALES CHANNELS
Adding indirect sales channels to your sales generation activity is vital if you want to grow beyond a small, survivalist business.
Indirect sales channels can help you build your business because they:
- Change your cost of selling overheads and enable you to reach customers that you would not be able to reach through a direct sales channel.
- Enable you to reach and service customers who are not located geographically close to you.
- Equip you to sell your products and services in bundled formats, saving you both time and money.
- Learn more about your new target market before you invest in creating direct sales channels to serve it.
Using indirect sales channels to build your business can help to build your business revenues, but getting the implementation right is key. Carefully consider your relationship with your channel and design it to become stable and reliable. A watertight agreement, including clearly defined terms and conditions relating to pricing, supply, service, stock, and benefits is important.
3. DISTANCE SELLING
Israel provides the perfect example of distance selling done right. It attracts 38% of all global venture capital investment and is widely regarded as a global startup hub. Israel is, however, surrounded by sea, hostility, and constant conflict. How did Israel get it right? Through the purposeful implementation of distance selling methods. Distance selling means selling by phone, television, or the internet. Using distance selling, you can:
- Approach hard-to-reach customers, who may be geographically located far away from you.
- Support repeat orders from established customers.
- Reach potential new customers and establish your share in new markets through the internet.
Distance selling can be a relatively low-cost way of reaching potential new customers, that enables you to get through to hostile markets, and can translate into subscription or membership-based sales and annuity revenues. Distance can creates a hostile barrier to sales, and demonstrating your products can be difficult, unless you’re able to effectively communicate the ins and outs of your product using the internet. Building relationships of trust can also be difficult through distance selling. Keeping your customer acquisition cost in check is important, especially when using distance selling methods.
4. OUTSOURCED SALES CHANNELS
Using a sales agent, or listing your products with a retailer, means you can build your sales without having to make heavy investments. You won’t need to recruit, train, and pay for your own team, and can take advantage of the agent or retailer’s existing customer base. They may already be selling complementary products, which means they’re able to sell your products cheaper than you can.
Outsourced sales channels can help you build your business into new markets. Again, a watertight agreement is imperative, including clearly defined terms and conditions relating to commission, pricing, supply, service, stock, and benefits. Offering exclusive rights for your products to a sales agent or retailer could effectively cut you off from other potential target markets, so ensure that your contract ensures success for your business.
Building effective sales channels for your business isn’t easy. Aurik can help, as we help you build your business into an Asset of Value.