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9 Powerful Sales Channels to Boost Your Business

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If you’re not using multiple sales channels, you’re leaving much money on the table. Imagine we’ve got a toolbox with exactly 9 tools designed specifically for getting your items noticed by people who can’t wait to buy them.

 

I know what you’re thinking – “But I’m already selling on my website!” That’s great, but why stop there? Dive into different channels, and you’ll start seeing more customers, and your earnings will take off.

 

Whether you run a cozy little shop or crack the marketing code, now’s your chance to think creatively about how you sell. Trust me, your bank account will thank you later.

 

What Are Sales Channels?

Sales channels are the places you offer your products or services to reach your customers. They can be direct, such as your website or marketplace, or indirect, such as distributors and affiliates.

 

Depending on your business model, some organizations do business over a single sales channel. Others use multichannel strategies to meet the needs of their customer base across several different sales channels.

 

The channels you use in the sales process can make a significant difference, whether for indirect or direct sales to your end customers. 44% of B2B buyers say they won’t do business with a company if it isn’t active on its preferred marketing channels, which can make the job of your sales force even more challenging.

 

The channels used will also impact your marketing strategies. For example, targeting direct-to-consumer eCommerce will take a different approach than B2B sales to a small business or enterprise company.

 

How your marketing and sales team approach customers and close deals will change, as will how you use your customer relationship management (CRM) software and the metrics your sales reps track.

9 Types of Sales Channels to Consider for Your Business

Let’s examine some of organizations’ most common sales channels to sell their products and services. In no particular order, here are 9 sales channels brands use today.

Brick-and-Mortar Retail Sales

BRICK AND MORTAR

 

You choose a retail sales strategy if you open your storefront to sell your product or service. Grocery, clothing, convenience, and discount stores–among many other store types–are all different retail stores.

Pros:

  • Retail setups allow sales reps to build relationships with customers in person, one-on-one, which also provides more opportunities for cross-selling
  • Revenue can be collected immediately upon the sale being made since there are no middlemen involved

Cons:

  • There are significant costs for purchasing/renting storefronts and paying monthly utility bills
  • Additional costs include staffing for your property beyond the sales and management team, such as clerks/cashiers, security officers, janitors, etc

How to use this channel in your sales strategy: Opening a brick-and-mortar retail store requires a property lease, local ordinance approvals, on-site staffing, scheduling product ordering, delivery, stocking, and more.

Traditional and eMarketplaces

ECOMMERCE

 

Traditional marketplaces are usually local, in-person events, such as flea and farmer’s markets.

 

However, small and large businesses can now compete against each other in online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, eBay, Google Shopping, and more.

 

The difference between an ecommerce platform and a marketplace is that the latter sales channel offers multiple products and brands, allowing customers to search and compare price points.

Pros:

  • eMarketplaces present your product to tons of potential customers who are actively searching for a similar product/solution

Cons:

  • Online product listings are presented side-by-side with your competitors
  • At-a-glance catalog listings almost force you to compete based on price rather than on distinguishing product features
  • You must agree to the marketplace’s terms and conditions, with little room for negotiation, listing formatting, or customer communications.

How to use this channel in your sales strategy:

Create an account on the site you’d like to use and set up your in-platform shop. This may require linking to your product catalog, WooCommerce or Shopify store, or individual product pages you’d like to promote and sell.

Social Media Marketplaces

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

Modern social media marketplaces such as Facebook Shops, Instagram Shopping, Pinterest Shops, and TikTok Shop are gaining popularity.

 

These social shops exist online, where thousands of users log in and congregate daily.

Pros:

  • You can expose your brand to specific, highly targeted audiences through both paid and organic campaigns
  • Collaborating with influencers can cause brand awareness and product sales to skyrocket

Cons:

  • To be effective, these modern, social marketplaces usually require a very active and engaged effort from your marketing team, often posting multiple times per day
  • A campaign that’s too successful can cause supply/demand issues or may overwhelm customer support staff
  • Negative reviews or interactions can quickly drive a social campaign into the ground and must be mitigated quickly

How to use this channel in your sales strategy: Much like creating an eMarketplace account, you’ll first have to open your social media business page and create your in-platform online storefront.

Organic and Paid Social Media

Organic and Paid Social Media

If you don’t want to try setting up an entire social media shop, you can focus on building your social media brand and funneling sales to your site. The poster child for this type of online sales strategy is Dollar Shave Club, which leveraged social selling to build a brand that sold for $1 billion to Unilever.

Pros:

  • Use platforms for both organic and paid advertising
  • Source potential customers and sell directly to them
  • LinkedIn is a treasure trove for B2B sales, with 65 million decision-makers among its members.

Cons:

  • Social media can be noisy, so it’s important to create quality content and campaigns that get noticed and engage your audience.

How to use this channel in your sales strategy:

First, know your audience, which platforms they use, and what topics they care about. Then, involve yourself in the conversation there.

 

If you have a creative marketing team that can create Dollar Shave Club-quality content, all the better—but if not, your followers will appreciate helpful and insightful information, and later, when they need your solutions, they’ll think of you first.

B2B Sales Channels

b2b sales channel

Business-to-business (B2B) sales involve selling your product or service directly to another business, using it in its work.

 

Examples include functional requirements to get work done (like office desks and computers), raw materials needed to produce a final product (like paper needed for printing books), and software or services (like accounting software).

Pros:

  • B2B sales generally just trend upwards over time. The eCommerce market is expected to grow to $18.7 billion by 2027
  • Business-to-business buyers have become more comfortable making significant purchases online

Cons:

  • B2B deals may have a long sales cycle, requiring various departments to approve the purchase
  • B2B customers may request customizations or modifications to have your product/service altered specifically to their needs

How to use this channel in your sales strategy:

If your product or service is ideal for professional use, develop an ideal customer profile for your B2B customers, and begin identifying leads and targeting them with B2B sales strategies. Check our guide to the ultimate B2B ecommerce trends to watch in 2024.

Direct-to-Consumer

direct to customer sales channel

With direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales, your customers have no other option but to buy directly from you.

 

DTC strategies rely heavily on providing high-quality goods and services and a fantastic customer experience. They lean on word-of-mouth marketing and a hefty marketing budget to attract new customers.

Pros:

  • Full control of the customer experience and journey
  • Easily develop close relationships with your customers, increasing brand loyalty and customer lifetime value
  • Margins for goods sold are generally high, as there are no payments or commissions owed

Cons:

  • Marketing costs and campaign management are entirely your responsibility

How to use this channel in your sales strategy:

Ensure your website, online sales, and customer service functions are fully functional and user-friendly. Then, promote, promote, promote. Put your brand and products on full display with various strategically targeted marketing campaigns.

Sales Agents and Brokers

sales agents and brokers Sales Channel

Sales agents and brokers earn a commission based on the deals they help you close. Sales agents are companies or people that sell your products or services to customers on your behalf. You can work with a sales agent continually.

 

Brokers do similar work and will bring eligible and qualified leads or customers to you to help broker a deal. However, working with a broker is usually a short-term relationship during a one-time deal–think of a real estate or franchise broker, for example.

Pros:

  • Agents and brokers work to promote and sell your product, much like an in-house sales rep, but without the costs of employment and overhead

Cons:

  • Successful sales agents can drive revenue for your business, but it’s often inconsistent
  • Broker commissions can be quite high due to the nature of their one-time deals

How to use this channel in your sales strategy:

Find sales agencies and business brokers specializing in your industry, negotiate the terms of your agreement, sign on the dotted line, and watch the leads or sales come in.

Partnerships

Partnership Sales Channel

‘Partnerships’ is a general term that involves forming a relationship with someone to help sell your products. Influencers, affiliate marketers, resellers, and channel partners are all examples of partners. In all cases, your partners will earn some sort of payment or commission for an agreed-upon action taken by their followers, such as a click to the product page, a free trial sign-up, a 6-month subscription, or a full and complete sale.

Pros:

  • Gain access to new audiences or markets that hadn’t yet been tapped
  • Quickly gain credibility due to partnerships with reputable brands
  • Both partners benefit from a well-structured partnership: Your company gains more business, and your partner earns a commission from each lead or conversion they generate

Cons:

  • There are marketing costs associated with partnerships, such as flat fees and commissions for each newly generated lead

How to use this channel in your sales strategy: Based on the product or service you sell, decide which type of partner makes the most sense. Do some digging to see which partners are at the top of the game in your industry, and work your way down the list to reach out, see what their partnership agreements look like, and find the best fit for your product.

Personal Selling Channels

personal selling channels

Personal selling channels involve one-on-one interactions between a salesperson and a potential customer. These could be in person, over the phone, or via video chat. The goal is to build a relationship, understand the customer’s needs, and then tailor the sales pitch to address those needs.

Pros:

  • Allows for a high degree of customization and personalization in the sales process
  • Builds trust and rapport with potential customers
  • It can be very effective for high-value or complex products/services

Cons:

  • Time-consuming and resource-intensive compared to other sales channels
  • Requires skilled salespeople who can effectively communicate and persuade

How to use this channel in your sales strategy:

To use personal sales channels effectively, understand your audience, choose suitable channels like meetings or emails, personalize your approach, follow up consistently, listen actively, track performance, and integrate with other channels. This ensures tailored engagement, builds relationships, and drives sales success.

Deciphering Your Customer Service Software Needs

Deciphering Your Customer Service Software Needs

How to Develop a Multi-Channel Sales Strategy

We now know the what and why of channel sales. So, let’s examine how your business can create and manage them.

 

If you’re interested in channel sales, the first step is to determine the purpose of your future sales channels.

 

Don’t invest time and money in channel sales without a clear directive; otherwise, those resources will go to waste.

Understand Your Products, Services, and Channels

Before expanding your sales channels, you must deeply understand your products, services, and existing channels.

 

What are your top-selling products? Which channels are driving the most revenue?

 

You’ll also want to make sure your CRM allows for customizable data fields and activities so you can track conversions by channel.

Apply Channel Knowledge to New Opportunities

Once you have a solid grasp of your current sales channels, look for new opportunities.

Could you reach untapped markets or customer segments with a new channel?

 

For example, if you primarily sell through brick-and-mortar stores, maybe it’s time to launch an online storeYou could expand to marketplaces like Amazon or eBay if you’re already selling online.

Establish Channel Partnerships

If you’re going to succeed with multi-channel sales, you can’t do it alone. You’ll need to establish partnerships with other businesses that can help you reach new customers.

 

This could include partnering with a complementary brand for a co-marketing campaign or working with a distributor to get your products into new stores.

Incentivize Channel Partners

Your channel partners are key to your success, so you need to keep them motivated.

Offer incentives like exclusive discounts, early access to new products, or co-op marketing funds.

 

You should also provide regular training and support to help your partners sell more effectively.

The more successful they are, the more successful you’ll be.

Track Sales Channel Performance

As you expand into new sales channels, tracking your performance is crucial.

Which channels are generating the most revenue? Which ones have the highest conversion rates?

 

Use this data to optimize your sales strategy and focus on the most effective channels. Don’t be afraid to cut ties with underperforming channels so you can focus your resources where they’ll have the biggest impact.

Maintain Partner Communication

Finally, don’t forget to maintain regular communication with your channel partners.

 

Keep them up-to-date on new products, promotions, and any changes to your sales process.

Schedule regular check-in calls or meetings to discuss performance, share best practices, and brainstorm new ideas.

 

The more you collaborate with your partners, the stronger your relationships will be.

Choosing the Best Sales Channels for Your Business in 2024

Shopping channels can be beneficial ways to broadcast and sell your products.

 

They can extend your reach beyond its normal parameters and allow you to reach out to new consumers and those who previously would not have come across your line of products.

 

You can also use shopping channels to compare products, which helps you get the best deal when purchasing a product.

Agents, Representatives, and Distributors

Working with agents, representatives, and distributors can be a great option if you’re looking to expand your reach and tap into new markets.

 

These intermediaries can help you sell your products to customers you might not be able to reach on your own.

 

When choosing an agent or distributor, look for someone with experience in your industry and a proven track record of success.

 

They should also have strong relationships with the retailers or businesses you want to target.

Export Intermediaries

Export intermediaries can be a valuable resource for expanding internationally.

These companies specialize in helping businesses navigate the complexities of selling products overseas.

 

They can help you with everything from market research and product localization to shipping and customs clearance.

 

Some popular export intermediaries include export management companies and export trading companies.

eCommerce Platforms

Of course, no discussion of sales channels would be complete without mentioning eCommerce platforms.

 

In 2024, online sales are expected to account for 22% of all retail sales worldwide.

If you’re not selling online, now is the time to start. There are countless ecommerce platforms, including giants like Amazon and eBay and smaller niche marketplaces.

 

When choosing an eCommerce platform, consider factors like fees, audience size, and competition in your product category.

 

You’ll also want to ensure the platform integrates with your existing systems and processes.

Key Takeaway: 

Start by nailing down why you’re adding new sales channels—don’t waste resources without a clear goal. Know your products and where they shine, then explore fresh markets or customer segments.

 

Forge strong partnerships for broader reach and keep those partners motivated with perks. Always track how each channel performs to focus on winners and stay in tight communication with partners to grow together.

Conclusion

So 9 sales channels can take your business to new heights. The possibilities are endless, from social media marketplaces to old-fashioned brick-and-mortar stores.


But here’s the thing: simply having multiple sales channels isn’t enough. You need a solid strategy to make them work together like a well-oiled machine.


That means understanding your products, partnering with the right people, and tracking your performance like a hawk.


It might initially seem overwhelming, but the payoff is worth it. With a killer multi-channel sales strategy, you’ll be able to reach more customers, boost your revenue, and build a brand that stands out from the crowd.


So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring new sales channels. Your business (and your wallet) will thank you.

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