Most organizations have a way that they sell based on their comfort zone. The story is typically one of circumstance. A previous connection into an industry or a network started the first customer engagement. This is not uncommon. It’s low hanging fruit to work with who you know and leverage your knowledge and relationships.
But it can quickly turn into a comfort zone as well. It is only one channel of distribution. This is true whether social media, direct sales or inbound marketing were the original mode for selling.
There are other channels that could have been unexplored or left without any serious investigation to open up more opportunity and revenue.
I think intuitively, management tends to know that it takes investment in time, resources and attention to make a new sales channel work. It is fraught with exploration and uncertainty. But it is a new venue for distributing the goods and services you produce.
Channels are a way to lower risk in the long run. When one channel does not work like it used to because of the rapid change and uncertainty in our connected economy, then the ways to sell and connect are diversified to handle any downturns.
Furthermore, new sales channels can open up product development and new markets where a silo focus on serving one channel may limit innovation.
Taking Action and Making a Channel Work
From my experiences working with teams, having an iterative approach and managing systems, process and the first customers are part of making a new channel work.
I can remember working to put in a direct sales team and process to win new enterprise customers with a client. The indirect approach they used was working fine. But they wanted more opportunities to drive revenue.
The model had to shift and we had to work with a new set of talent internally that spoke a different language. They needed customization of a CRM solution, working ways to approach new prospects and a high trust selling approach.
All of this did not happen overnight. It took teamwork, focus and leadership over months and it led to an entire new sales channel to open up.
It takes action and initiative and not getting caught in the Who Moved My Cheese? syndrome. There’s plenty of new ways to sell and win customers. Opening that spicket wider means setting up the approach and systems to make it all work.
Think about how you sell and who you sell to.
If you thought about an additional sales channel, would this diversify your approaches and opportunities? What holds you back?