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Managing Distribution Channels


(2 Days Duration)

Managing distributors and wholesalers are often seen as a matter of ‘servicing’ the account, and this can put the distributor/wholesaler manager in a ‘one down’ relationship. Yet modern selling dictates that the whole network should be a series of partnerships rather than just customers. This, however, is not always easy and/or practical – particularly when working through several layers. This session looks at the detailed and often complicated relationship between marketing, motivation and sales management to really drive the business through the distribution channel.

Core behaviour/competencies developed during this module:

  • Understand the three key aspects of Channel Management (Marketing, Motivation, Sales)
  • Recognise the key elements of the ‘distributor/wholesaler mindset’
  • Apply marketing principles to create a powerful business proposition
  • Motivate distributors/wholesalers through management of main business drivers
  • Formulate an account plan specific to the distributorship and business circumstances
  • Define and use elements of a contract-based ‘Development Matrix’
  • Empathise more with the distributors/wholesaler both from the point of view of their management and their sales team


Day One:

  • Welcome, introduction & review personal objectives
  • What is Channel Marketing?
    – Definitions and application
    – Distributors, wholesalers, resellers
    – How this kind of business thinks
  • Working Fundamentals
    – Profit Parity – business for everyone
    – Winning ‘Brainspace’ – internal competition
    – Black Widows and Vultures – supplier and customer mindsets
    – Mushroom Effect – use and abuse of information
    – Authentic Behaviour
  • ‘MMS’ Model
    – Marketing – 4 Ps and beyond
    – Motivation – Paying EXTRA attention
    – Sales – 2 Page Plan and ‘Development Matrix’
  • Managing the Marketing Mix
  • Introducing the 4Ps
    – Product – Understanding the whole offer
    – Place – Investigating all routes to market
    – Price – Adopting the right policy
    – Promotion – Maximising all the elements
  • Extended Marketing Mix – Adding the 7Ps
    – People – Sales, customer service (and customer!)

    – Process – Applying the Marketing Mix
    – Physical Evidence – Dealing with intangibles
  • The 8th and 9th Ps
    – Packaging – First contact
    – Philosophy – Organisational ethos and introduction rationale

Day Two


  • ‘Managing’ the Distributor
  • Attention to EXTRA elements
  • Earnings
    – Raison d’etre of distributor
    – Establishing ‘fair’ profit balance
    – Quantifying ‘goodwill’
    – Avoiding investment ‘double counting’
    – Principles of Negotiation – ‘If I… Then You…’
  • eXcitement
    – Basis of strong Communication
    – Emphasising ‘WIIFM’
    – Promoting Brand and Image
    – Joining the Family
  • Training
    – Ensuring optimum sales effort
    – Product knowledge and process efficacy
    – As a PR opportunity
    – ‘Reverse Training’ – educating Internal teams
  • Results
    – MBO – Management By Objectives
    – Setting targets – minimum standards to stretch
    – Using ‘dashboard diagnostics’
    – Planning and implementing Incentives
  • Actions
    – Progressing and encouraging sales activity
    – Implementing appropriate promotions
    – Considering the importance of effective Product Management
    – Nurturing and developing the Product Manager
    – Searching for ‘Ambassadors’


  • Using the ‘2 Page Plan’
    – Setting SMART Objectives
    – Plotting the Organisation structure
    – Conducting a SWOT Analysis
    – Surveying Competitive landscape
  • ‘Development Matrix’
    – Elements of the ‘Contract’
    – Defining scope of criteria vs sales activity
    – Scoring and developing action plans
    – Reviewing and rewarding top performers
  • Putting it All to Work
    – Designing and owning your Personal Development Plan
    – Prioritising action points
    – Maximising input from others
  • Summary, review personal objectives & close