Website-Channels

Many of our clients rely on partners or channels to sell their products and services for them. Some of these clients don’t do any marketing or selling themselves, or so they think.

To be clear, here’s a good definition of channel sales from businessdictionary.com

“A sales channel can be direct if it involves a business selling directly to its customers, or it can be indirect if an intermediary such as a retailer or dealer is involved in selling the product to customers.”

For purposes of this post, I am referring to the second half of this definition – the indirect channel model.

If you rely on others to sell your products or services, do you think your website matters? Here are some reasons why I think it matters a lot…

Attracting Potential Partners to Your Website

Channels aren’t built out of thin air. Your company needs to attract potential resellers to even have channels. And you need to convince them to put their name on the line to peddle your goods.

Gone are the days when you could have a sales rep “smile and dial” their way to a solid channel. In today’s sales world, companies are facing some very daunting challenges…

  1. Respecting the sanctity of the inbox – it’s getting harder and harder to make any traction using email to sell. I get tons of emails for companies wanting Wood Street to offer this service or that product to our clients. If I don’t know you or your company, the chances of me responding to these emails are slim to none.
  2. Getting noticed in a referral economy – more than ever, people go with what they know. It’s not always a person who offers a referral. Sometimes it can be Google or social media. Buzz, in a sense, is a referral. Popularity today is based on referrals, shares, and rankings. These are tough to manufacture. Referrals are cultivated over time.
  3. Understanding that the funnel is dead – the typical sales or marketing funnel is now obsolete. Prospects will look for information on a product or service on their terms now. You need to be prepared for them to find you at multiple points of the sales cycle.Welcome to the Zero Moment of Truth.

We’ve written exhaustively about the need for content. Not content for content’s sake but content that can solve a problem. This is how you build awareness. This is how you build solid channels.

You attract partners by offering them useful content to help them solve their problems and the problems of their clients.

Which brings me to…

Your Website Should Support Your Channels

Just like the need for you to offer useful content to your channel partners, they need to do the same for their clients. They do have one advantage that you do not of course, their clients will be more likely to realize that they have a need.

But, that doesn’t mean that the leads will just come pouring in. Don’t believe me? We practice what we preach…

  • We offer useful content to potential clients, resellers, and fans on a consistent basis on our blog and through multiple social channels. And we do this expecting nothing in return.
  • We also offer examples of our work with brief case study descriptions that the potential client can use to either identify in or out.
  • We get good leads on a consistent basis. We hear quite often when a lead comes in that they’ve been following us on some social channel, or they really like our work, or they love our blog.

But enough about us. How do you support your channels with your website? Content!

Use your website as a resource of different types of content your channel partners can use to sell your stuff…

  1. Case Studies – useful evidence that your products will do for their customers what is promised.
  2. Marketing Materials – a reseller section of the site (maybe with a login) where they can access logos, brochures, videos, and more.
  3. Utility Content – content that your reseller can use to help their clients with industry or topic related issues.

These are all things that help everyone’s bottom line. Your website is your central hub for all communications with channel partners. They will rely on this when selling for you.

Help them help you!

Jon-Mikel Bailey - Before co-founding Wood Street in 2002, Jon worked in sales, marketing and business development for technology and marketing firms. A popular speaker, he gives seminars on marketing, internet marketing, branding and web design to chambers of commerce, trade associations and colleges. He has a BFA in Photography from Frostburg State University and still shoots photos for Wood Street clients.