Distribution Channel: A sequence of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, resellers, or other value-added partners working toward a common goal – getting goods and services downstream into the hands of delighted customers.
Some refer to it as a supply chain. Ultimately, it’s a VALUE chain.
When the value chain is implemented well, the strategies, people, and programs that enable and support it, offer reach, speed, volume, and scale to companies wishing to build or expand their access to customers. In other words, reach more customers, faster, with more products to more places.
When implemented poorly, it can create confusion between manufacturers and suppliers. It can also create conflict between distributors and sales professionals; even worse, it can result in dissatisfied, confused, and sometimes, angry end-customers.
At DC1, we plan, build, and optimize value chains. Said differently, we do “channel.” We help you build the right distribution channels for your business.
Distribution channels have a set of foundational elements necessary for optimizing channel performance – “The 4 Ps of Distribution.”
1. Partners – The right channel strategy starts with the right channel partners. Securing mindshare, shared-urgency, common goals, and relevant capabilities makes all the difference.
2. Programs – It’s not just about driving end-customer awareness and demand. The right programs influence channel behavior and accelerate product momentum.
3. People –“The right person in the right seat on the bus…” is supported with high-quality training and thoughtful performance incentives that are core to driving successful outcomes.
4. Prices – Channel conflict is a real thing. Developing effective pricing structures and understanding upstream, cross-stream, and downstream channel implications can give you competitive advantage and keep your channel “healthy.”
When you build a new distribution channel, invest in an existing one, or repair an under-performing one, DC1 helps you create, implement, and refine the best channel strategy for your business.