Big Words For Some Highfalutin Systems.
Just in case you manufacture something and are looking for some help, here’s a breakdown on one of the software applications you might need. It seems like everyone needs to make their product sound like it’s some kind of big deal. Well, sometimes it is a big deal, but in this case, I don’t think it needs to be a big deal for everyone.
Channel Management, implies that you sell through dealers or distributors, and have enough dealers or distributors that it can take a lot of time and effort to manage your partners. By manage your partners, what I mean is to make sure that they have everything that they need to sell your product effectively. So an industry has grown up around helping manufacturers keep dealers and distributors happy.
Sorry, you still need sales people. Channel Management is just to get the mechanics of delivering your exact message to all partners at the same time.
The nuts and bolts composition of a Channel Management System includes four parts.
- Security so that only your “Channel Partners” can access the system. Channel Partners would be your dealers and distributors, or whatever you happen to call the folks who sell, and maybe stock your product. Each employee of your Partner will need separate credentials, after all, you need to know exactly who ordered that container of product. Each Partner Employee will have individual authorizations. Like registering warranties, ordering product, approving orders…
- Something called a Content Management System, or CMS. This gives you the ability to put new documents on your Channel Partner Web Site. It’s where you can upload marketing material, manuals and all the “stuff” that you need to deliver to your “Channel Partners.” Putting it on your Channel Partner Web Site, means that the problems you are having with email are solved.
- Product Ordering, with all the complications associated with selling wholesale instead of retail. Often not as pretty as the retail system, but weight and volume, and purchase order processing, and draft orders, Partner approval levels, order status reporting. Not to mention product configuration, including validating that the order is “Valid.” Where valid means that your partner has answered all the questions in the product configuration script.
- Warranty Registration so that your Channel Partners can enter the end-user name, address and such, saving you the trouble of entering it from those stupid mail-in cards.
Well, as you can guess, as with anything, as you dig deeper the hole gets deeper. Of course, there is more, but how much more did you want? After a point the system can become very specialized, some would say unique or custom, and then you are spending real money. If you are new to the concept of a “Channel Management System,” start with something that is pretty standard, surely many people have similar businesses, save some cash, stand on other’s shoulders.
I like to spend time outdoors, either boating or riding my bicycle. Since 2000, I've worked with manufacturers, creating systems to save time. You can reach me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.