- Posted by: Irena Rezec
- Categories: International Markets, Internationalisation Strategies, Marketing & Sales, Strategic Management
With the online media influence growth on marketing and sales, the number of digital sales channels and the diversity of sales models are increasing. Moreover, traditional sales channels are also changing and adapting their business models to digital trends. Integrations and connections are made also among individual software solutions. All of the mentioned brings companies many combinations and new or different opportunities to expand sales channels.
Individual sales channels can vary greatly, both in terms of conditions for entering an individual sales channel, in terms of target markets and target customers that you can access through each sales channel, as well as in terms of the type of products and/or services to be sold through each sales channel. In this regard, knowledge of possible sales channels and how to enter an individual sales channel is essential and is the basis for preparing the company’s sales strategy. Individual technological solutions enable seemingly fast entry into many sales channels at once, but only if you meet the conditions for entry into an individual sales channel. However, these conditions can be very diverse and more or less demanding.
For example, individual channels differ depending on:
- whether your customers are business (B2B) or individual (B2C) and/or from public sector (B2G);
- whether or not you can sell your product/service through online sales channels;
- whether you sell raw materials, semi-finished products, products, services, perishable goods;
- whether your products/services are suitable for the local and/or international market;
- what standards and certifications you have for your products or services;
- whether you meet the entry requirements of an individual sales channel or you can meet the requirements within a reasonable time;
- whether you sell goods/services only under your own brand or also under white label;
- what production capacities do you have;
In addition, there are many modern technological solutions on the market that allow you (a) fast access to the global market through various marketing and sales channels, (b) connectivity and synchronization between different technological solutions, (c) process automation in relation to the customer and direct contact with customers regardless of the customer’s location, (d) optimization of your positioning in the market or in an individual sales channel, etc. All of the above is, of course, conditioned by a good knowledge of technological solutions, the appropriate fulfillment of the conditions of individual products and services to enter an individual target market as well as to enter an individual sales channel, the company’s ability to enter one or more foreign markets and a well-prepared strategy of market entry through various sales channels.
Let me list a few examples of the use of modern sales in the case of (1) traditional and (2) digital channels as well as in (3) the development of partnerhip models.
- Use of modern technological solutions in traditional sales channels
Traditional sales channels run through distributors, agents and retailers, and modern technological solutions can be used at all stages, i.e. both in the phase of searching for sales partners and in the phase of managing relationships with them. What is all at your disposal?
- online directories and platforms (B2B) to help find business partners, including distributors, agents, retail stores, industrial customers; these directories and platforms are often sectoral, geographical or otherwise focused on one sector, one region, one business model;
- online directories and platforms for monitoring public procurement notices (B2G) as well as for finding consortium partners for the purpose of joint application to the call;
- digital tools for automated marketing in terms of systematic, pre-planned dissemination of electronic messages to (potential) customers;
- intranet, platforms or other solutions for centralized sales monitoring and/or managed communication with an existing traditional sales or other partnership network;
- The use of modern technological solutions in digital sales channels
Digital sales channels are greatly changing the current sales models of companies. Every day, new online stores, new online marketplaces and new sales platforms are created, or existing ones expand their business to new categories of products and services and/or new markets. Even the original marketing channels often outgrow their role and at the same time become sales channels. Traditional forms of distributors are complemented by new wholesale platforms, and technology also enables integration or also synchronization of data between different systems, stores, marketplaces, platforms, online channels. Of course, these integration options can be hampered by your current solutions of your website or online store. Therefore, when developing your website or online store, it is important to know the possibilities of expansion or upgrades, so that “cheap” solutions do not disable or make it difficult for you to use modern digital sales channels in a more advanced form in your next stages.
- Use of partnership or collaborative business models in the sales process
Digitization also facilitates work with the partnership network and thus increases the number and diversity of partners. This means that in practice, many partnership models have emerged, which are becoming an important competitive factor for every company. The more you connect with a variety of partners (i.e. also outside your sector), either in the process of defining sales packages or in the sales process itself, the more you become innovative in your offering. The co-branding model is already very well established, and the development of platforms or business ecosystems is already a common model for market leaders. This means that more advanced companies try to solve the problems of each target segment comprehensively and in one place (supported by an appropriate technological solution), together in partnership with other providers of complementary products and services.
From the short and simplified description above, it is clear that companies should be able to know the different options and also be able to choose and use the best combination of sales channels according to the type of product or service on sale, the desired entry market and target customer segment and last but not least according to their human, technological and financial capabilities to enter an individual market through one or more sales channels.
Therefore, the website or online store, online or even traditional sales should no longer be seen as a stand-alone project, but as part of a wider business ecosystem and as an integral part of broader strategic decisions. This, in turn, requires management to systematically analyze options and appropriately select and use a combination of marketing and sales channels and a variety of partnership models.
* the article was originally written in Slovenian language and published in the magazine “Obrtnik” of the Slovenian Chamber of Craft and Small Business
In relation to marketing and sales channels, we also offer consulting services tailored to individual customers, among others:
- reviewing the existing use of traditional and online channels and making suggestions for improvements;
- designing and developing a marketing and sales strategy for an individual client, taking into account the diversity of channels, a particular purpose, product or service group, a target market and/or target group;
- taking over sales network coordination and/or marketing and sales activities for all or a single market, and for all or for a particular channel;
- support in building your business ecosystem; and
- any other related services.
For more information contact us by telephone or via the »Enquiry Form«
In our work we come into contact with numerous companies offering various semi-products, products and services that are intended for sale to commercial entities (B2B), final consumers (B2C) and/or to the public sector (B2G) through public procurement procedures. Many of these companies’ products and services are not ready in the shape or form that is suitable or appropriate for marketing abroad, namely due to a lack of certificates, unfulfillment of standards, unsuitable price policies, unsuitable packaging, competitiveness regarding the design and functionality of the product or service, in addition to many other reasons. Even companies themselves often do not have the proper internal organisation or have inexperienced staff when it comes to selling on foreign markets.
With the rise in online sales, online social media and analytical tools for monitoring sales and visitor behaviour on websites, marketing and sales have become significantly more complex. Today, that means that in addition to the traditional sales channels, there are a large number of possible online marketing, advertising, and sales channels, as well as a wide selection of associated software tools available.
Our trainings reveal various aspects of marketing and sales in the international context.
Courses on “Marketing and Sales” are developed modularly, separately by individual types of communication and sales channels, by product or service groups, by individual markets and/or by other criteria and received companies suggestions. We therefore recommend various courses (currently we offer only online courses), online consultation and mentorship related to the “Marketing and Sales”, among others:
- Diversity of Marketing and Sales Channels;
- Characteristics and Ecosystem of a Modern Online Shop and how to develop good online sales;
- Selling on Amazon;
- various specific courses on marketing and sales channels dedicated to an individual sector (e.g. food, wood, software solutions, printing industry etc.);
- various courses related to the partnership strategies and collaborative business models used in the marketing and sales process or even before, i.e. in the product’s/service’s development phase; and
- any courses on specific requirements of our clients.
For more information contact us by telephone or via the »Enquiry Form«.
Among our clients who ask for our support are clients from different countries, from the private and public sectors as well as membership-based organizations (e.g. Chambers of Commerce, Chambers of Crafts, etc.). Our clients are looking for solutions on how to improve the efficiency of existent channels and expand their marketing and sales channels across various diverse channels and countries in the sectors of information technology, tourism, food, wood, printing sector, healthcare, renewable energy, etc.