Distribution channels and go-to-market strategies have been around forever. Yet, they are often the most difficult for a business to master. Manufacturers work with distributors/resellers, medical service provider’s work through physicians, and so on. Insert a business’ sales and marketing organization into the mix and you have a channel that can often be fraught with obstacles to get a consistent message communicated and a flow of sales growing.

Recognizing what each of the players need to be successful and to not only push the messages to the customer but provide what is needed to pull the customer into the sales process is often overlooked. Many businesses are good at push strategies. Some are good at pull strategies. But, very few can do both effectively.

It’s a seemingly easy concept to understand but a difficult one for businesses to execute.

Look at each level of your go-to-market process and make sure each level has the right tools to communicate, support and push or pull consistent messaging through each level. Do sales have what they need to work with the distributor, hospital or reseller? Does the distributor, hospital or reseller have what they need to work with resellers, physicians or others? Then, make sure all of the tools support some level of the sales cycle (Selling, Engaging or Protecting).

If a business can execute on these concepts sales will flow and profits will grow.

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It is all to common that an organizations international strategy is determined by the part of the world that contacts it first and sends an unsolicited purchase order. While we all like to take the orders and keep the cash flow going, be careful not to jump to quickly.

Every company needs a strategy. What’s the opportunity? Why is this country or region preferable to another one? How are you selling your products in that country? What are the shipping, legal, environmental and tax implications? All too often we take the path of least resistance rather than invest some time to determine the best opportunity and how to approach it. Be careful.