Channel Partners Extend a Brand Owner’s Reach to End Customers
- by Birgit Starmanns, Senior Director, Solution Marketing, EPM and Finance Solutions, SAP
- October 15, 2006
Partner Channel Management allows companies to manage their indirect sales channel, which are their channel partners. Find out how brand owners can develop and manage these partner relationships through the partner life cycle, and how they can improve collaboration with their channel partners across marketing, sales, and service processes. Examine how partner and channel analytics provide channel partners with their own data, and allow brand owners to evaluate their partners’ performance.
Brand owners are companies that manufacture and market particular products and product lines. To sell these products, they often enter into relationships with channel partners, such as distributors, dealers, resellers, and agents. These channel partners are an extension of the internal sales force, and as such, require support from the manufacturing company, or brand owner, to optimize sales and to provide service to end customers.
Why do companies that manufacture products need channel partners? Think of your own experiences as a consumer. When you buy a car, you do not travel to Detroit, Germany, or Japan to see the latest models from various manufacturers. Instead, you visit dealer showrooms in your local area. When you buy bottled water or soft drinks, you shop at your local supermarket, not at the headquarters of the company providing these beverages. When you purchase a computer, you visit your local electronics store and compare different brands side-by-side. You do not travel to different computer manufacturers’ plant locations.
The core competence of a manufacturer, or brand owner, is to build the product, to continue to enhance it with new features, and to control the branding and perception of the product. The distribution of that product to consumers often is not the strength of the brand owner. Instead, brand owners rely on their channel partners, including distributors, resellers, and dealers, who provide a local presence that allows consumers to find, purchase, and receive service for the brand owner’s products.
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