The term channel management is widely used in sales and marketing circles, but what exactly is channel management?
It is defined as a process where the company would develop various marketing techniques as well as sale strategies to reach the customer base they are looking to serve in a particular channel. This all is done with the aim, to foster a better relationship between the customer and the product.
Before a company could start approaching a customer to sell or service them, they must first establish the best channel to reach the target group. Some research needs to be conducted on whom is the decision maker, how do you make contact and when to approach the person. Segmenting potential customers into their needs, buying patterns, success factors, etc are all vital to the success of the approach. The main goal of channel management is to establish direct communication with customers in each channel.
A business must determine what it wants out of each channel and have a framework for each channel to produce the desired channels. With this the technique used in each channel is never similar but the overall strategy must always brand the business consistently no matter what channel is used. Determining which segment of the population is linked to that channel also helps determine which products are best pitched on it.
Back in the time before the internet, the channels were much simpler but nowadays with technology growing at a rapid rate than ever one must manage each separate channel properly so as to not lose revenue or market share and to keep the partners and customers happy with the service of the product. Some businesses such as hotels could potentially work with up to a hundred channels at a time to sell their products!
Because of all this, with so many diverse channels to sell in, a manager must remember to always be sure to keep the message of the products to be as linear as possible so as to not avoid confusion for the company’s clients or potential clients.
What does a channel manager do then?
This is why a channel manager’s job is so important. The person must manage the relationship between the customer in the channel and the company’s product. A channel manager would have to nurture the customers as well as identifying new potential customer’s they could approach. He is the customers point of contact and the company’s representative for the product they are selling. This person is the liaison between them both and must keep the customer happy while keeping the company profitable.
Most importantly he must also assure that the messaging of the company is communicated compellingly and clearly with each channel to avoid confusion and keep the identity of the products and brand as intact as possible. With the growing number of channels, a channel manager must be ready to face the various challenges of a potentially new channel that he had never interacted with before.
For a channel manager to be successful he must be able to establish a clear and direct line with the customers he is serving in a channel he sees fit to establish a repertoire with his clients and to use for the highest chance of success for him and his company.