Organise an efficient sales force to reach the right customers with your offer at the right time via the right channels. In principle, you are free to use our own and third-party sales channels. With the former, you offer your products directly to the consumer without involving other companies. In indirect sales, you activate partners (for example, sales representatives, wholesalers).
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Which sales channels (own sales/third-party sales) are planned for my product and why?
- Which sales partners will I use?
- How much money do I lose by selling through intermediaries?
- How strong will the dependency on my sales partners be?
- Which target areas do I aim for?
- Who maintains contact with the customer?
- What are the costs of distribution?
- How high should my sales be?
Sales deals with the question of how and by what means the products or services reach the buyers.
A well-positioned sales organisation is a basic prerequisite for competitiveness and customer satisfaction. There are different ways and means to bring your products/services to the buyer, hence the term “sales channels”. Transports, dealer discounts or commissions—distribution is often the most expensive part of a product and can even exceed the manufacturing costs. By choosing the sales or distribution channel, you can not only save a lot of money, but also decide how strongly you are involved in the distribution process yourself.
Own sales/direct sales
The direct line to the customer: If you sell your product or service yourself, you offer it directly to your customers: either at an agreed time at the customer's home, in your company or via electronic media (telephone, internet). A special feature of own sales is direct sales, which are ideal for speciality and large customer business, where technically demanding products requiring explanation are involved. The importance of direct sales has recently increased thanks to the increasing possibilities offered by new information and communication technologies. For a long time, this form was chosen mainly for the sale of capital goods to other companies (business-to-business). But today there are numerous companies (Otto, Amazon, etc.) that also choose direct sales for consumer goods for private customers.
With the establishment of social networks, social selling has experienced an immense boost. This direct sales method enables you to find interested parties via social networks, to contact them, understand them and maintain the contacts you have made. Create a professional presence, i.e. a meaningful profile. Focus on your target groups and make yourself an expert. The basis for this is good and useful content.
The advantages of in-house and direct sales: You will have better control over the use of resources and the achievement of targets and will be able to better design the marketing in your interests and those of the end consumer. In addition, the close contact with the customers gives you an information advantage.
Retail sale, commission sale: Consumer goods for private customers in particular are often sold externally. This is because a large, nationwide distribution of large quantities of goods and their presentation in the shop is essential. The product may change hands several times along the so-called value chain. You lose direct contact with the end customer with this model. The relationship is therefore fully focused on trade. In this case: Keep an eye on your end customers in other ways. It is essential that you set up feedback or response models to check customer satisfaction. Depending on the size of the company, this can include surveys, market research, customer mailings or a telephone hotline for questions and criticism.
More and more entrepreneurs take multiple approaches. Trade, internet, sales reps: The simultaneous use of several sales channels is referred to as multi-channel marketing. The multi-solution helps you avoid dependence on only one sales channel. But beware: The use of multiple sales channels also increases the complexity of administration.
You can judge which distribution channel is the best for your product on the basis of the following criteria:
1. Performance-related factors
The more complex your product (e.g. special software), the more advisable is it to sell via an individual and personal sales channel (e.g. specialist trade). Conversely, goods requiring less explanation can be better offered via consumer markets or the internet. So first check how much explanation your product or service requires. Expensive goods with high storage or transport costs should also better be delivered to the customer via direct sales.
2. Customer-related factors
Cardinal rule of thumb: The more customers you have, the more likely it is that you will be able to make use of external sales, especially if your customer base is geographically dispersed and has a frequent requirement. If your number of customers is manageable, a small but efficient sales team is often recommended. This allows you to look after your customers individually and intensively. For important customers, the managing directors take over the sales personally, as with small businesses. Additionally, the following applies: The more open your target group is to modern sales methods (e-shops, shopping TV, etc.), the better direct sales will work.
3. Competitive factors
Study the sales behaviour of your competitors. Depending on the number, type and offer modalities (dispatch, door-to-door business, internet), you can set yourself apart from the usual industry methods—or learn something from experienced competitors.
4. Legal factors
In certain sectors there is protection of distribution relationships and distribution reservations for certain types of business, compensation claims (e.g. of the commercial agent) in the event of termination of the business relationship, as well as possible prohibitions of discrimination and boycotts. Find out in advance what the legal basis in your industry looks like and then assess your options.
We will contact our customers directly. We will carry out all services ourselves. For initial information and to order the different services we mainly want to use the internet. Once our website has been created, there will be no major costs for us.