Don't expect your channel to create demand for you

When you’re selling through some kind of sales channel – a partner, an agent, super markets, stores, OEMs, value-added resellers, etc. – it’s common to want them to increase sales for you, that is, to create demand.

But demand creation is always going to be your job. Demand creation, also called lead generation, is the process of getting people interested in your product or service and get them to make an initial contact: Go into a store looking for your product, get on the phone with your reseller, etc. You can’t leave that to your sales channel, no matter how badly you would like to.

The sales channel can convert leads into paying customers, if you have set it up right so the leads that your demand creation activities generate match the capabilities of the sales channel. They may add value by handling the relationship, adding services on top, and all kinds of other things.

It’s especially common for technician-come-entrepreneurs, such as programmers, photographers, writers, etc., to want ot hire an agent to do the heavy lifting of generating more sales for them.

But in order to increase demand, you must have a clear positioning, a credible and compelling story to tell. In short, you must get your marketing straight so people will know when to buy and when to recommend you.

And that’s your job. No-one can do it for you.

(But I have a program in the works that can help you. Stay tuned.)



Speaking of creating clear positioning, just got done with this quick read called "Selling The Invisible" by Beckwith. In it he says that in order to position the sort of value proposal that gets people to take their wallets out, you must answer all of these increasingly difficult questions: Who are you? What do you do? For who? What special needs do those you use your "thing" have that they can't take care of without you? Who are you positioning yourself against? How are you different? Who cares about your difference? Why do they care and to what exent? Hope this is useful in some way.
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Computer Consultants Secrets Blog

Thanks for these words of advice! I think a lot of technology providers and others working with partners or that belong to partner programs make the mistake of thinking that they can sit back and let the program work for them without having to do anything. Partner programs are meant to provide additional resources to help with sales and developing effective marketing techniques along with connecting consultants to opportunities; but none of this is possible without proactive involvement. That typically means getting a hold of your field rep to ask questions and keep in touch regularly. But you have to approach it already having a plan of action and a very diverse marketing strategy that includes a clear message and a clear idea of who you want your clients to be.
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