Channel Sales

What are Channel Sales?

Channel sales are a type of business-to-business (B2B) selling in which businesses sell products or services to other businesses through intermediaries, such as distributors, value-added resellers (VARs), systems integrators (SIs), and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Channel sales can be direct, in which businesses sell products or services to other companies through their own sales force, or indirect, in which businesses sell products or services to other companies through intermediaries.

The main advantage of channel sales is that they allow businesses to reach more potential customers than they could if they were selling only through their own sales force. Another advantage is that channel partners often have expertise in a particular industry or market, which can help businesses grow their sales. However, some challenges are associated with channel sales, such as managing and motivating channel partners and ensuring that they provide quality customer service. However, when done correctly, channel sales can be an excellent way for businesses to reach new markets and grow revenue.

The main disadvantage of channel sales is that they can be more complex and expensive than direct sales, leading to conflicts between the business and the intermediaries.


  • Multi-channel sales
  • Channel sales model
  • Channel strategy
  • Channel sales partnerships

What are Channel Partners?

Channel partners are businesses that work with a company to help market, sell and distribute its products or services. In return for their assistance, channel partners typically receive commissions, discounts, or other financial incentives from the company.

Types of Channel Sales Partnerships

Channel partners can be retailers, distributors, system integrators, or value-added resellers (VARs). Companies typically form relationships with channel partners to reach new markets or customers they could not easily access on their own. Channel partners can also provide valuable expertise and support to help a company sell its products or services.

There are different types of channel partner relationships, depending on the level of involvement that the partner has in marketing and selling the company’s products or services. Some channel partners simply resell the company’s products and do not provide any additional value-added services. Other channel partners may provide installation, customization, or training services to help their customers use the company’s products. Finally, others may be authorized to service and support the company’s products. The company will typically have different arrangements with each type of channel partner, depending on the level of support and services the partner provides.

A channel partner program can be essential to a company’s go-to-market strategy since it helps them get their products and services into the market quickly and efficiently.

Qualities of a Good Channel Partner

Choosing the right channel partner is crucial for a successful business relationship. A good channel partner can be a valuable asset to any business, providing essential sales and marketing support and offering expertise and insight into the market.

Here are some qualities of a good channel partner:

  • They should be knowledgeable about the company’s products and services and able to offer advice and guidance to customers.
  • They are proactive in their approach to sales and marketing and are always looking for new ways to promote the products or services they sell.
  • They should be able to provide the company with honest feedback, both positive and negative.
  • They should be committed to the company’s success and be willing to invest the time and resources necessary to help the company grow its business.
  • They should be responsive to the company’s needs and available when needed.
  • They are responsive to customer inquiries and complaints and quickly and efficiently resolve issues.
  • They should be professional in dealing with customers and the company’s team members.
  • They are trustworthy and can be relied upon to deliver on their promises.

Channel Sales Strategy

There are a few channel sales strategies, but they all have one thing in common: they provide a way for companies to reach new customers and grow their revenue.

Three types of channel sales strategies are direct, indirect, and dual-distribution.

Direct Channel Sales

The direct sales channel strategy is when a company sells its products or services directly to customers through its own sales force, retail store, or website. The main advantage of this channel sales strategy is that the company has total control over its product, customer experience, and branding. However, the main disadvantage is that it can be very costly to maintain a sales force and a website.

Indirect Channel Sales

The indirect channel sales strategy is when a company sells its products or services through intermediaries such as retailers, wholesalers, resellers, or distributors. The main advantage of this channel sales strategy is that it can reach many potential customers with a lower acquisition cost. In addition, indirect channels can provide a cost-effective way to sell products or services because they typically have lower overhead costs than direct sales channels.

Indirect channels allow companies to reach a larger audience with their product or service since they have a larger distribution network than direct sales channels. Additionally, indirect channels can provide valuable feedback to companies about their products or services. This feedback can help companies improve their offerings and make them more appealing to customers. 

There are a few disadvantages of indirect channel sales. First, it can be more difficult to control the quality of the product or service when selling through an indirect channel. This is because there are typically more people involved in the process, each of whom may have their own standards and procedures for handling the product. 

Second, indirect channel sales can be more expensive since channel partners need compensation for their time and efforts. This can sometimes lead to higher prices for the consumer. Lastly, indirect channel sales can also be less efficient. There are typically more layers involved in the process, each of which needs to be coordinated and managed.

Dual-Distribution Channel Sales

The dual-distribution, or hybrid, channel sales strategy is when a company sells its products or services through direct and indirect channels. The advantage of the hybrid channel is that it allows the company to tailor its channel strategy to the specific needs of each customer segment. The main disadvantage is that it can be more expensive to maintain both a direct and an indirect channel.

The most effective channel sales strategy will vary depending on the products or services sold and the channel partners involved. Therefore, companies should carefully consider their options before selecting a channel sales strategy.

Channel Sales Optimization

The best way to optimize channel sales is to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each type of channel and then use the channel mix that helps the company reach the widest possible audience. Once the channels are selected, the organization can optimize each channel by developing their channel partners and correctly managing their partner relationships.

Channel Partner Development

Channel partner development strategies focus on recruiting new and developing existing channel partners. This can be done by providing training and support, creating channel partner programs, or offering incentives.

When sourcing new channel partners, it’s important to identify companies that complement the business’s own products or services. It’s also essential to consider the potential partner’s size and reach. Additionally, it’s helpful to clearly understand what each company can bring to the table.

Here are four tips on how to develop channel partners:

  1. Define the target market
    The first step is to identify the target market. Once an organization has a clear idea of its target customers, it can reach out and build relationships with companies that would be a good fit.
  1. Find the right partners
    Not every company will be a good fit as a channel partner. Determining the kind of partnerships that would help the business achieve its goals is vital. Things to consider are the partner’s size, geographic region, business model, and other products or services they sell. Also evaluate whether or not they have the right resources and capabilities to sell the product.
  1. Build relationships
    Once potential partners have been identified, it’s time to start building relationships. The best way to do this is by offering value upfront. Let potential partners know how the partnership will help them reach their business goals. In addition, ensure that training will be provided to their sales team to help them successfully sell the product or solution.
  1. Create a partnership agreement
    A partnership agreement formalizes the partnership. It specifies how the two companies will work together, what each party will contribute, and how disagreements will be resolved.

Channel Management

Channel management strategies are focused on managing relationships with channel sales partners. This can be done by creating channel conflict management policies, developing channel marketing plans, or providing channel partner support. In addition, channel sales management involves monitoring sales channels regularly and making adjustments as needed.

For example, adding or removing sales channels, changing the pricing strategy, or modifying the marketing approach. By constantly monitoring and tweaking the strategy, a channel sales manager can ensure the organization maximizes its sales and reaches its target market effectively.

People Also Ask

What are channel sales examples?

There are many examples of channel sales programs. Some common examples include:

Distributors: These companies purchase products from manufacturers and resell them to retailers or customers.

Wholesalers: These companies purchase products from manufacturers and then resell them to retailers or other customers. They may also provide services such as warehousing and logistics.

Agents: These are individuals, sales reps, or companies that represent manufacturers and help them to sell their products. They may work on a commission basis.

Dealers: These are companies authorized by a manufacturer to sell its products. They may also provide services such as installation and repair.

Channel Partners: These companies provide services or support to customers of a particular product or service. They may be involved in marketing, sales, or technical support.

What is channel sales vs. direct sales?

Channel sales is a strategy that involves a company selling its products or services through intermediaries, such as retailers, wholesalers, or distributors. Direct sales is when a company sells its products or services directly to customers without intermediaries.

Channel sales can be beneficial because it allows companies to reach more potential customers and access established sales channels. However, channel sales can be more costly and time-consuming than direct sales, and building strong relationships with intermediaries can be challenging.

Direct sales can be beneficial because it gives companies more control over their sales process and builds stronger customer relationships. However, direct sales can also be more expensive and time-consuming than channel sales, making it difficult to reach potential customers.

How can I improve my channel sales?

There are several ways to improve channel sales. One way is to focus on providing quality products and services that meet the needs of your target market. 

Another way is to incentivize channel partners to sell your products and services. And finally, you need to manage and monitor your channel sales process regularly to ensure that it runs smoothly and efficiently.

Focusing on these three key areas can significantly improve your channel sales, increase customer satisfaction, and help the organization reach its desired market share goals.