Over the past week in meeting almost 90 business people in events with Niall Devitt of Beyond the Boardroom and David Brock of Partners in Excllence at 4 different events and hearing some great stories, the question of combining strategies of Direct Sales and Partners Channels Sales came up a number of times.
The story goes as follows:
A company builds up its business with an effective international direct sales organisation targeting their primary markets in a very focussed manner. Secondary market opportunities are presented to the company but the organisation is not structured to sell or deliver outside their primary markets and thus the opportunity is not responded to. The direct sales focus on the primary market is essential but it leaves the secondary market untapped.
The business has the opportunity to established sales-side partnerships to sell and deliver into their secondary markets.
Your Secondary Markets could be defined as:
1) Alternative geographical regions that are outside your primary focus. Western culture or English speaking markets may be your primary market, then gaining access to non-English speaking regions is typically executed through corporate partners.
2) Alternative industry sectors for existing product outside your primary sectors. You likely do not know your secondary sector markets as well as your primary markets. It may be more effective for your company to focus on partnering into these sectors than to distract your primary direct sales teams in building up expertise in a new sector.
3) Alternative uses of your technology into different types of customers. Some of your technogy may be applied to solve different business needs targeting buyers outside your current industry or current target customers.
While your organisation stays focussed on its primary strategy consider establishing a secondary strategy to tackle secondary markets through partnerships, whether OEM, Strategic Partnerships or System Integrator reseller partnerships.