Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part article. Bill Warner is managing partner of Paladin and Associates.As we said yesterday, you need more than a product and hungry sales people to be a success.

For example, if you are going to use indirect channels, you will need to have a sophisticated process to sell to the channel partners through which your product will reach the ultimate buyer.

The value proposition has to be specifically tailored for this audience to show them how they are going to make money in a relationship with your company.

The partnerships could be with wholesalers, distributors, integrators, value added resellers and dealers. All of these partnerships have to established, and in addition to your product or service, will require you to sell some combination of:

  • Training
  • Product information
  • Sales support
  • Problem support
  • Warranty management
  • Inventory
  • Discounts that make them profitable

Your sales efforts are to close a channel partner agreement that will result in financial success for them and an increase in revenue for your company.

What about alliance partners?

If your product requires that you have to go to market jointly with another company, you have to make sales calls to them too. For example, if your product is integrated with another company’s product, then you may have to have an agreement where you are jointly marketing and selling. You may be integrating some other company’s product into your solution, so an agreement is needed for you to market and sell their product along with yours. The value proposition here has to bring a share of the overall revenue to the partner to recover the expense that they incurred plus a reasonable profit.

Sell to the influencers

When your product is ready to be taken to market, it is important to make sure all of those that influence your customer are aware of it. Industry consultants, partners and early customers need to know of your plans to launch your product. During the time when the product is first being introduced, you want potential customers to be able to call their outside consultant and get advice on your product. You also want your customers to be able to contact your early customers as a reference for your product. So, you need to make sales calls on all these influencers and make sure they have the most important facts and messages about your product or service. You will look very smart if a potential customer contacts one of them and learns the truth about your product. That is, the truth that you taught them.

Oh, the media too

Who would ever give up on some free visibility? Another important influencer is the media. They represent trade magazines, local newspapers, business press, television specials and radio news programs. When you launch your product, they too will need to know about your product or service. You want your customers to read the right messages, and from the media source that makes them aware of new products and services. The media will want to get quotes from consultants, analysts, customers and partners. They make the story come to life with the reality that it’s not just your company talking about the new product or service. Always make the media aware of positive news and use them as a way to get effective marketing information to customers.

So, selling is a process that involves much more than sending the hungry sales people after potential customers. Selling involves approaching the whole set of stakeholders in your market segments. You need to make sure that your company properly fits and that your customers know all the right things about your product or service.

To read Part One: www.localtechwire.com/article.cfm?u=4347

Bill Warner is managing partner of Paladin and Associates. You can reach him via e-mail (thepaladin@paladinandassociates.com) or phone (919 570-1023).