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PCWorld don’t sell Pizzas 7 April, 2009

Posted by varoom in Selling.
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Apologies to PCW as I’m sure they could sell Pizzas if they really put their minds to it! This point is related to the importance of choosing the right sales channel for your product based on skills and customer recognition. Two main problems with selecting the wrong sales channel, firstly the channel may not be skilled to sell your product and secondly, much worse, the customers will not recognise the channel as a supplier of products of your kind.

In order to select the right channel, initially you will need to do detailed analysis on buying practises in your targeted market and use this data to drive the development of your channel strategy. How do customers find products like yours, where do they expect to find them, how do they normally purchase these products and how ingrained are these behaviours? Getting customers to change these behaviours can be quite difficult, your sales channel strategy needs to take account of what behaviour change you need.

One sales channel strategy is a partnership with a major player in the supply chain. In one agreement you can avoid creating a new channel and also build credibility with customers by being associated with a known supplier. There will be some effort for the first channel partner to take your product, there is some risk too, so be ready for them to request some exclusivity even for a period of time.

Another mechanism is to adopt a disruptive approach. Enter the market deliberately through a unique channel to cause a breakdown in the existing pipeline and force players to change their approach. To do this you need a disruptive product or service which compels the market to take it seriously. Not all products can do this and you need to consider, carefully, which approach is feasible.

There are many past examples of channel disruptions, EasyJet with it’s internet based solution caused a behaviour change in the buying practices of travellers, Amazon caused a change in buying practices of book and music buyers, other examples being EBay, Google, and Dell.

The success of your product depends on having the best sales channel, gaining behaviour changes in the customer base is difficult unless there is a further disruption that helps your strategy succeed.

When you enter the marketplace not everyone will welcome you but adopting the right market entry strategy can make a big difference to your business.

Grev

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