Philip Kotler said, “Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value.”
The end goal of every business is to make revenue and profits. And marketing is the path through which companies reach their customers and execute sales.
Over the years, the scope of marketing has evolved. Marketing is now customer-centric where a customer dictates what, when, and how he wants to buy. In this situation, distribution channel visibility becomes critical.
The journey of a product from the manufacturer to the end-user involves a whole series of steps. Creating a good product is just the start. Finding the right fit between the product and the customer, and finally delivering it is also vital.
In this article, we will elucidate what channel management and visibility of channels are and what is an excellent solution to increase distribution channel visibility.
So let’s dive right in.
What is Channel Management?
Channel management is the process of developing strategies to administer the various distribution/marketing channels that a business uses to reach its customers.
Channel management aims to understand and streamline the distribution and communication between the manufacturer, distributors, and the customer.
Need For a Channel Management Strategy
A business makes use of a variety of distribution channels. These may include direct sales over email, retail sales, e-commerce sites, wholesalers, dealers, retailers, to name a few. The explosion of the internet has only expanded the channels available to reach customers.
Channel management is not a simple task, especially if you have a multitude of products and different customer segments. The process of leveraging each channel to its full potential to deliver the best customer experience is complex.
This is where a channel management strategy comes into place. A carefully developed plan can pivot the distribution process in the right direction.
Identification of better performing channels and concentrating on them leads not only to the better movement of orders but also higher revenues and profits.
Another concept that needs explanation here is channel visibility, which is vital for any sales or distribution business.
Understanding Channel Visibility
The visibility of distribution channels is nothing but the management and synchronization of the sales channels to know how every channel is performing.
This process makes it possible to track the sales function at every level of the sales cycle from manufacturer to distributor, to a dealer, to a retailer, and finally to the customer.
How a Channel Management Software Helps Improve Channel Visibility
Every business is different, and the sales cycle and the channels it uses are also different. Manually tracking the movement of a product from the manufacturer to the customer is an exhaustive process. This task becomes all the more difficult when there is an expanded sales process involving various players in the distribution pipeline.
Today, businesses are also focusing on tapping the emerging markets, and the final distribution channels may involve numerous small retailers. Technology is the solution for better distribution process management.
Now, we have channel partner management software that is a boon for distribution management.
Benefits of Using Channel Visibility Software
Investing in an agile channel manager software can deliver multiple benefits to businesses. Some of these benefits are:
Accurate and Usable Data:
CMS helps aggregate, organize, and analyze data from different sources along the sales journey and present it in a usable format. This software leverages automation and machine learning to deal with the high volume of data. Accurate insights help a business make data-based decisions.
Better Inventory Management:
One distribution problem is improper inventory management. Using channel software, tracking of the stock is real-time. Timely information to manufacturers and distributors helps avoid overstocking or out-of-stock situations. Companies can avoid tying up funds in dead inventory.
Streamlined Order Fulfillment:
Proper management of product catalog, pricing, sales orders, and delivery gives control over order taking and fulfillment. Order tracking makes it possible to identify reasons for delays in order completion and rectification. Automation of invoices, purchase orders, and receipts reduce the time and effort involved in keeping records up-to-date.
Getting Most Out of Promotions:
Understanding the impact of trade promotions by in-depth analysis of various metrics across various point-of-sales is highly useful. This software identifies the factors influencing the success or failure of promotions. The predictive capabilities also make it possible to select better promotion avenues.
Expanding the Distributor Base:
Channel software makes onboarding dealers and vendors easy. The time involved in the onboarding process gets reduced, and a business can expand its reach in emerging markets. The distribution chain can now include small retailers in newer markets for greater profitability.
Knowing the Customer Better:
The ultimate success of a sales process is when a customer derives real value from it. Software for global channel management gives insights into customer behavior, buying habits, and preferences. It is now possible to segment customers and incorporate more personalization in product creation, promotion, and delivery. Customer satisfaction goes a long way in creating brand loyalty.
Positive Impact on Revenue, Profits, and ROI:
Data-driven decisions and optimization of the sales process impact the finances positively. Real-time data at every point of sale gives decision-makers the ability to divert resources to better performing channels. The predictive and simulation capability of this software has made it a must-have tool for any channel management team.
The business scenario is changing. The internet has expanded the reach of businesses to global proportions. Now companies at one end of the globe can service customers at the other end of the world.
This scenario demands advanced capabilities in distribution management software. Today’s channel management systems are highly robust and offer cutting-edge capabilities.
So investing in a channel management software is a must for any business that wants to fast-track its marketing.
We hope this article convinced you about using channel visibility software solutions for your enterprise. Please do comment and tell us if you are using CMS for your business.