Marketing products through indirect channels such as retailers or distributor outlets is an efficient way for your business to serve large numbers of customers that your sales force could not reach. An effective distribution strategy can boost revenue and profitability, while poor channel performance can have the opposite effect, according to Marketing MO. To encourage channel members to stock and market your products, you must motivate them.

Build Preference for Your Brand

Motivational tools help to ensure that channel members give preference to your products over your competitors. Distributors and retailers typically carry a wide range of products from many different suppliers. They must therefore make decisions about the level of sales and marketing resources they allocate to each product or manufacturer. Motivation plays an important role in winning channel members’ mind share, according to the business school MMC Learning. By winning mind share, you can ensure that channel members recommend or actively promote your product.

Add Value to Your Product Offer

Motivating distributors and retailers is an important strategy for influencing channel members’ behavior, according to the marketing consultancy Pure Channels. Offering training programs or marketing support to members adds value to the relationship between supplier and channel by helping them to improve their performance and grow their own business. A strong relationship makes it easier to launch new products or marketing campaigns through the channel, helping to build your own revenue and profit.

Increase Sales Through the Channel

Financial incentives are an important source of motivation to channel members. By offering discounts on purchases above an agreed level or rewarding sales above target with bonuses, you can encourage channel members to stock and sell more of your products. Financial incentives can help you launch new products, increase sales of existing products or widen your distribution base, because channel members recognize that they will benefit from cooperating with you.

Improve Performance with Structured Programs

If you have a network of distributors or retailers, you will probably find that performance and commitment to your brand varies across the network. By setting up a structured channel program that offers different benefits at each level, you can motivate members to improve their performance. The program might take the form of a tiered structure, with tier 3 members receiving basic benefits and tier 1 members receiving a wide range of benefits that help them grow their business. The benefits might include different bonus or discount levels, marketing and training support, joint promotions and exclusive products. To reach higher tiers, you can set requirements such as stocking certain products, achieving sales targets, participating in training programs and agreeing to participate in promotions.