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Developing an international channel strategy

Checklist for developing an international channel strategy

  • Analyse the existing main channels to reach the end users: direct and indirect via distributors, agents, etc. A diagram plotting this can be helpful.
  • The existing physical means of delivering the product or service: national and international physical location of deliveries and outline schedules. This needs a summary of delivery points, carriers used, level of stock held, competitor usage, etc.
  • The main discounts on price: included under this heading will be all forms of credit, financial deals, export guarantees, etc. More difficult to obtain, but friendly buyers and experienced sales personnel will have no difficulty in producing useful data,
  • The main forms of sales force support and sales promotion both by competitor suppliers and by the distributors: everything from free holidays to specialized technical design teams. Examples of offers or levels of support are usually the best way to produce this rather than some detailed classification. In material collected, the distinction needs to be drawn between selling to a distributor and selling to the end-user through the distributor.
  • The competitive sales team: background on individual senior people plus structure, location across each market and numbers in sales teams is essential. And it is important to include the sale-force technical back-up where relevant. Also any other form of direct or indirect selling such as the telephone and the internet.
  • For third-party distributors, the stock levels held, the stock turn expected and the range of stock covered. Also the level of service.
  • For direct end-users, the level and quality of service (which will need to be defined carefully): included here must be the means used to tackle end-user queries and complaints.
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