Following the introduction and first 5 steps yesterday here are 5 more steps to grow sales from an indirect sales network. These steps are also an invitation to debate and add to the ideas presented. At the end of the post I’ve also added a novel idea focussing on strategic partnerships. The final element to adress is the questions to ask yourself before signing on a reseller, more on that next week.
Keep your pricing simple
Complicated pricing is not only bad for clients it also leads to more changes over time that have to be communicated to a large number of companies. This leads to more admin and unhappy partners who have to adjust their systems regularly (in fact, most simply won’t do it). It’s also important to anticipate price movements and ensure yours stay relevant longer. (for example prices for online uses)
Experiment with new models
New licensing models are surfacing regularly. These are indirect sales opportunities in a different guise. Not all of them will be successful but it is important to experiment with a number of them and learn from the experience. Advertising spend is moving online rapidly creating challenges for the more traditional companies. Some of these new models will bring compensation for lost revenue in the future. It may seem a long shot now but things are moving quickly. An example of this is Picapp and there are other application out there that are worth exploring, including integration with Blogging tools, something the Microstock industry is allready embracing.
Build a Brand
By making sure the network uses the correct branding tools your identity becomes consistent globally. You don’t have to be a company to build a brand; Yurci Arcurs, a microstock photographer has made himself into one. A fixed set of logo’s accompanied with branding guidelines and the ability to download these for marketing campaigns will improve the quality of the communication. Having these tools prepared will also save time by not having to react to ad-hoc requests. Everything a company or individua does should stay close to the chosen brand (it helps to write down your brand values, if only as a reminder to yourself). When done consistently on all levels, a Global brand will be built step by step.
Promotions and marketing
The industry is flooded with discounts and gifts. This may help to get some short term traction but it’s difficult to compete when there are so many other deals to be had at the same time asking for the clients’ attention. Why not team up with a partner on a local event? These will be more relevant and can create real goodwill for a group of committed clients. Co-sponsorship of local organisations are another way to build strong relationships.
Get to know the power of Social Media
Social media are a quick way for a single company to reach a large number of interested people. Start a FaceBook group or fan page for informal contact, a LinkedIn group for the latest news, combined with discussions and Twitter to inform your partner network at once with the latest news, observations and opinions from you and your team. This can quickly create two way traffic, debates and mutual support. There are too many networks to mention so don’t go crazy, choose the ones that are important and update these regularly. You can check just how many networks there are by exloring the SHARE button at the bottom of this article.
After the large marketleaders, the stock photography/stock media industry is highly fragmented. Because barriers to entry are so small a large number of companies are doing similar things, developing their own technology and conducting their own negotiations. There is room for a Novel idea:
Partner up with other producers
When different products in similar segments enter a single market there is an opportunity to co-operate with companies that would normally be seen as competitors. When talking to distribution partners products can be offered as a single package, with a similar pricing model, comparable marketing and branding and perhaps even through a shared extranet. This will make the experience for all parties smoother and cheaper while ensuring clients get access to the products quicker and have a better overall experience.
These partnerships combined can create complementary content packages that truly meet customer needs and fill niches instead of competing head-on for a small marketspace. The joint weight of these collections will add negotiation power while cost sharing on partner communication and management makes companies more agile and effective.
Picture: Stock exchange: Bearing | Alexander Rist