Channel management explained
Channel management is an important aspect of any business that conducts sales and marketing through different channels and mediums.
Managing these through a method called channel management allows companies to reach more customers, thus successfully bringing in new business and revving up the revenue.
Learn all about channel management and its importance in your marketing strategies below.
Defining channel management
Channel management is a sales and marketing process in which businesses find compatible partners or mediums for their products and services. The “channel,” in this case is the means, the partners, or the tools through which the company promotes and sells its offerings.
For instance, if the company is selling a product tailored for remote teams, online channels are their best bet to reach their intended audience who are always on computers.
Analyzing which way to go is one of the objectives of the channel management team. They have access to present and historical data as well as the freedom to choose over vendors and partners.
8 best practices in channel management
Like any other business process, there are best practices in place for channel management too.
The practices below are a general guideline of how channel management should be.
Letting the experts in
Subject matter experts or SMEs can be found in any nook and cranny of every industry. Their job and expertise allow them to move from company to company without any hitch.
SMEs are industry professionals that can make the process so much easier and more efficient. Businesses shouldn’t be afraid of letting these experts step in and help.
Concise onboarding process
Onboarding processes for managers and experts shouldn’t be long-winded. Not only does the slow onboarding process impact their productivity, but it also mirrors the company’s overall operations.
Having a brief yet informative onboarding should be the norm for a company, especially with channel management.
Monitoring metrics with the team
Having a transparent metric-setting process with the rest of the team will ensure that everyone is on the same page with the KPIs they need to achieve.
Not only that, but monitoring metrics can expose problem spots and areas of improvement before they go out of control.
Channel management is a process that continuously evolves and grows with the market trend and the company. It’s only right that teammates and team leaders in charge of this process are continuously learning as well.
It can be as wide as digital marketing or as specific as search engine optimization and social media marketing. These can help them immensely and hone their skills further.
Open communication with the team
This best practice isn’t just limited to the department as it also applies to any department inside an organization.
As previously said, the process requires flexibility and delicacy. Being open with the rest of the team and communicating with them is key to the success of the whole department and the whole company as well.
Timing it right
By “it” we mean every web and social media post.
This best practice goes beyond the confines of the department as it can also apply to creative professionals in charge of content creation.
Web and social media posts have a huge impact, especially if and when it’s done right. Channel managers who work with digital mediums can use data to determine which days and times people are most likely to generate organic traffic.
An understanding of your audience demographics can also help determine the perfect timing for your content.
Preserving the company culture
Channel management, whether it’s subtle or not, reflects the way the company works. One of the best ways to showcase a company is through its culture and its best practices.
It’s always good to remember that this is a process that both deals with the company and its existing and prospective partners.
Implementing company culture right off the bat is such a pertinent custom in any organization, with each department having its own best practices and way to do things in an efficient manner.
Aligning goals with the capabilities of the team
Hitting goals puts everyone in a good mood without fail. So one of the best practices when it comes to this is aligning goals in accordance with everyone’s capabilities.
When delegating tasks, make sure that team members know their strengths and weaknesses, for them to gauge if they truly are fit for that project.
Even the most functional teams can hit a snag if the goals they’ve been given aren’t in line with their strengths. So for channel managers, this best practice should be observed.
The challenges of being a channel manager
Being a manager means that they are handling their own team in addition to vendors, manufacturers, and partners. With this immense responsibility, even the most efficient channel manager can still hit a number of snags such as vendor incompatibility, partner loyalty, and drastically changing trends.
Besides following the best practices covered above, a channel manager should also be aware of the common challenges in this field in order to effectively avoid or address them.
This happens when the department onboards or works with a vendor that isn’t helpful in any way. This can stem from a couple of reasons like incompatibility of industries and incompatibility of core values, mission, and vision.
To combat this problem, before onboarding a vendor, the managing department should vet the interested party first via a rigid process.
In this day and age, partner loyalty is financial-based. It may be crude to some but it’s the reality for most partners and clients. If another company provides a partner vendor a larger incentive, more benefits, and more revenue, chances are they will choose that over others.
Combat this problem with a time-bound contract and a fine for early termination of terms. By doing so, the parent company can ensure that the vendor won’t entertain any other competitors while the contract is still active.
Drastically changing trends
The department has to deal with changing trends so often that channel managers are sufficiently trained to go with how the trend is flowing.
Always remember that channel management is a sales and marketing strategy, but instead of clients and customers, it deals with vendors and manufacturers.
Drastically changing trends is a cumbersome phenomenon that every company goes through. It’s especially stressful for managers as they oversee entire departments and teams that have to work together in order to catch up.
This importance of channel management
Without proper channels to go through, products and services won’t be able to make it to the general market. Company stocks of products will remain stagnant, further contributing to its inevitable failure and bankruptcy.
Without the department to oversee the profitability of each channel, the company wouldn’t have the means to predict different trends and the surge of resources from different mediums.
The importance of channel management is that you have a specific team responsible to look for the best, most compatible, and most cost-effective channel to market their products on.
Managing channels is such an important part of running a business for the sole purpose of knowing which medium and mode of distribution and marketing works best for the brand. By knowing and mastering the ups and downs, the company will be much better off.