Sales Distribution “Score Card”

In my series about different sales distribution models, I talked about the direct model (ones own sales force), indirect (reseller/distributors) and direct marketing (emails, bloging, etc) along with their pros and cons (see our blog for more detail,


Noting that generalization is always dangerous, I will ignore it and state that if one had to list just one  key consideration for the three models it would be the following:


Direct model – Leads. Leads, leads – thus marketing is a key functions


Indirect model – Selection of the partner (who sells what, where and their value proposition)


Direct marketing – awareness and compelling messages (marketing again)


NOTE: each model has its issues and as I stated, you must start first with knowing your overall strategy and goals before you even consider which channel(s) to consider. AND if you decide on more then one model, things get very complex very quickly.


In any case, here is a score card that will as a minimum give you some direction on what distribution model(s) you might want to consider.

Score yourself 10 (closest to your needs/goals) to 1(least needed or relevant) for each category.




 Well established  10


 Specialty/Niche market  5


 Startup/unknown  1


Company Strategy


  Growth- organic/not necessarily profits  10


  Financial-margin -profitable  5


  New markets- 1




 high margins(70%+)/low volume


 avg margins(40%)/avg volume


 low margins(30%<)/avg  volume


 low margins/high volume


Account Control


  total control


  Some visibility


  Not an issue




 complex or needs explanations


 multiple options/ products


 simple or easily understood




 Integral part of the sale


 service aug product


 No service or just return




 primary function is leads


 primary function is awareness/message


 primary function is generating responses




 Large ASP or pricing quotes required


 multiple selections per product


 Public list price




Total Score



Here is where it gets tricky!  If you scored 80 points plus or minus 5, then you should consider the direct model.  If your scored 40 + or – points, then the indirect is your most likely model, but if you got 8 points + or – then the direct marketing model is the most likely choice.  But if you are like most and scored in the “grey areas” like 65 points then, sit down, gets lots of paper, block out your calendar and start analyzing the multiple model approach.



Again, thanks for your comments, if we can be of any help regarding channel selection or any marketing or business development issues; give us a call or email us


RHL 9/14/09


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