Sales and Marketing Plans – Direct Selling without Channel Conflicts

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Sales and Marketing Plans must be strategically developed to support your selling efforts. Surprisingly, many businesses unwittingly shoot themselves in the foot in an effort to gain more sales and better results.

The Sales Process, Direct Selling and Beware You Don’t Alienate Distributors as Part of Your Sales and Marketing Plans

Throughout this discussion, it’s been assumed that all your marketing efforts are to support your salespeople through lead generation.

However, there are other areas that could be important. But you must be careful…


Beyond lead generation, effective sales and marketing plans also outline the elements that support salespeople with the selling process.

This is done through brand development where prospects are made familiar with your product and company, as well as providing a means for prospects to research your company, its specific offerings, the features and benefits of your products and services, etc..

These can include brochures and collateral material, websites, emails, and other resources where a customer can learn about your company, its products and services.

Again, these support your reps, but there is another side.


Of course, beyond supporting salespeople, your marketing may also compete with sales reps through direct marketing, including Internet and retail-based order generation.

However, competing directly with your sales reps could cause conflicts (called channel conflicts), so be careful how you strategize this.

If you haven’t figured this out yet, realize the number one reason to develop your sales and marketing plans is to be strategic and methodical about how you roll out your marketing efforts. Without a well thought-out written plan, it’s too easy to miss strategic opportunities and obstacles, and to implement elements that conflict with each other.


Effective sales and marketing plans will reduce channel conflicts by determining that certain products need to be renamed so they do not appear the same, or will determine that direct marketing should be used strategically to open un-served territories or underserved markets.

This can be helpful, especially in generating brand awareness prior to mass distribution.

For example, the George Foreman Grill was heavily promoted through direct marketing on QVC, the home shopping network, before it was launched through retail stores using sales reps.

The initial direct marketing generated a massive amount of profits while building name awareness for the brand, which helped when the product transferred to retail and distributor selling.

Sales and marketing plans like this implement elements at timed intervals, so that rather than competing with each other, they nicely supplement the selling effort.

So direct marketing could work along side distributor selling. But you need to be careful that you do not alienate your distributors and sales reps or they will generally stop selling for you.

Sales and Marketing Plans – a Summary

The conclusion from all this is that sales and marketing plans can be tremendously valuable in coordinating your selling process.

For all three parts, from the Selling Process to the Sales Management Process to the Marketing Process, each of these elements can be effectively managed individually, but they must also be coordinated so they support each other.

By crafting your sales and marketing plans, a coordinated selling effort can more easily be achieved and managed.


Also See: Small Business Marketing Plan