Sales As A Core Business Competency, Part 3: Channels

SIBP-2I’m a process guy. I like to break down complex systems into their most basic structures, looking for places where things can be improved or made more efficient. In my work with entrepreneurs and small businesses, I often see the biggest process bottlenecks in the early stages of sales process. And there’s no place this is more obvious than in how a business approaches their channels.

A channel is simply another way of saying “Places to sell your stuff.” You can also look at channels as a series of branching paths, almost like branches on a tree, with each one reaching out to a specific kind of customer. Just like a tree, you can often get the best results by knowing which branches to prune.

Right off the bat, most businesses need to make a big decision in which branch to prune. Will they focus on direct or indirect sales? Direct sales means selling directly to the customer or end user, while indirect sales means that your customers aren’t the final customer, and instead they sell to the final customer as middlemen. Continue reading