Aberdeen: Leading Companies Are Embracing Channel Complexity

Report states that companies can't eliminate channels, must learn to work within their environment to better leverage benefits

Boston — October 7, 2004 — Companies are increasingly recognizing that complexity in their sell-side channel is a customer-driven business requirement and leading companies are embracing rather than seeking to rationalize this complexity, according to a recent AberdeenGroup report.

The report, "Sell-Side Channel Management: Benchmarks & Best Practices," found that leading companies recognize channels often perform services that customers demand. Consequently, leading companies are increasingly recognizing that they cannot eliminate or even effectively rationalize their channels, but must rather learn to work within these complex environments and better leverage their benefits.

"While channel complexity — and conflict — can cause a multitude of issues for the seller, they are increasingly a requirement for doing business with the buyer," said Chris Selland, Aberdeen's vice president of sell-side research and author of the report. "Market leaders are no longer attempting to eliminate channel conflict but are turning attention toward better leveraging their channel breadth toward the goal of responding effectively and quickly to as many revenue opportunities as possible."

To optimize sell-side channels, Selland recommended the following:

* Accelerate efforts to integrate data and processes initially with your best and most trusted partners

* Implement incentives to align channels and drive desired behaviors as well as to eliminate the self-cannibalization and conflict caused by misaligned channels

* Recognize that increasingly empowered buyers will attempt to foster channel conflict and use your own channels against you

* Align sell-side channel strategies toward the goal of "Response Optimization," responding as rapidly and effectively to as many revenue opportunities as possible

"Sell-Side Channel Management" quantifies the business benefits of improved channel management strategies and procedures; discusses how to leverage the channel to more effectively respond to revenue opportunities; and recommends specific actions for maximizing sell-side channel performance.