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What Are the Elements of a Channel Strategy?

A channel strategy is used to distribute and deliver products or services to your customers through various sales channels. The sales channels you select play a very important part in your business’s success.

A strong channel strategy begins with a thorough understanding of the needs of your customers. It also involves selecting the appropriate channels and workflow optimization. 

To develop an effective channel strategy, you will need to identify your key markets and goals and then establish some essential partnerships with other types of businesses, such as:

  • Resellers
  • Agents
  • Vendors
  • Retailers

What Is a Channel Strategy Template?

A channel strategy template is a great way to help your company reach its goals by outlining key steps and considerations. For example, your channel strategy template might include the steps required to partner your operation with a company that specializes in online sales and possesses comprehensive market reach.

What Are the 4 Types of Distribution Channels?

There are four main types of distribution channels in the context of sales. Understanding them and what they entail can help you decide which is best for your business. These four types of distribution channels include:

1. Resellers and MSPs

Resellers are intermediaries between manufacturers and end-users that buy products in bulk and distribute them. Similarly, MSPs (managed service providers) are third parties that manage and optimize a business’s IT infrastructures using their own toolbox of software products.

2. ISVs and VARs

ISVs (integrated software vendors) partner with manufacturers to develop software specifically for the manufacturer’s OS or hardware platform. VARs (value-added resellers) purchase software products and enhance them by adding additional features or bundling them with complementary products before reselling them to end users.

3. Referrals

Referral partnerships are when businesses with complementary products or services work together to promote each other’s offerings, effectively combining customer pools. A strategic referral partnership is a great way to spread your business’s reach to adjacent markets.

4. Direct Distribution

Direct distribution is one of the most straightforward B2B distribution models. It involves the manufacturer selling products or services directly to end-users. This provides the business with control over the entire sales process, but it also requires significant time and investment.

Distribution Channel Strategy

There are many kinds of distribution channel strategies. Distribution channel strategies usually involve planning and managing how your products or services move from producers to consumers. 

A channel strategy template is one of the best tools to help you outline your operational goals and find practical ways to meet them. For example, you can use the 6 Cs of distribution channel strategy as a template for your business’s channel strategy.

The Six Cs of Distribution Channel Strategy

The six Cs of distribution channel strategy are often defined as

  • Cost
  • Capital
  • Control
  • Coverage
  • Character
  • Continuity

This channel strategy framework template example involves six key operational elements that provide an easy-to-remember overview of the most important parts of your business’s channel strategy.

The 3 Types of Marketing Channels

It’s also crucial to understand the different types of marketing channels in addition to the 4 types of distribution channels. There are many different types of marketing channels, and which you choose will largely depend on your operational goals, financial positioning, and desired partnerships. Some of the most commonly used marketing channels are:

1. Digital Selling

Digital selling uses online platforms or channels to help your business reach a globalized audience. With hyperscaler cloud marketplaces like those available on Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS), your operation can successfully reach new and trending marketing, allowing it to grow and thrive.

2. Direct Selling

Direct marketing involves personalized communication with your potential customers. This model helps foster a direct connection with your audience, leading to repeat sales and improved conversion rates.

3. Network Marketing

Network marketing involves an entire distribution network. It mainly relies on word-of-mouth and relationship-building to help promote your product or service. Like direct selling, it helps establish a stronger connection with your consumers and increases brand loyalty.

Marketing Communication Channels

Marketing communication channels get the word out about your brand and create customer engagement. There are many channel strategies and channel strategy frameworks, like:

Sales Channels

In marketing, sales channels support your marketing efforts through methods like direct sales, intermediaries, and digital platforms. Sales channels can either be brick-and-mortar locations or ecommerce or echannel strategy.

Digital Marketing Channels

Digital marketing, as the name suggests, is conducted via digital platforms such as social media (like Facebook or TikTok), email campaigns, and search engine optimization (SEO). 

B2B Marketing Channels

B2B marketing channels focus on business-to-business relationships and selling. This is typically accomplished through customized strategies or by providing a specific solution to a business need.


Marketing communication channels facilitate the delivery of promotional messages to your target audience, expanding your reach and establishing a strong brand image. A well-defined channel strategy framework can help guide you in selecting and optimizing these channels. A channel strategy framework example may involve combining online advertising, social media engagement, and targeted B2B outreach for comprehensive market penetration.

What Are the Elements of a Channel Strategy in Marketing?

What are the elements of a channel strategy? A well-designed channel strategy must involve meticulous planning and execution to optimize your product distribution. This includes understanding your customers’ key needs and wants, finding channels and channel partners that are a strong fit for your operation, and overall optimization. 

For example, some of the types of channel strategies you might employ may include direct sales, intermediaries, or online platforms. An actual channel strategy example would be using a hybrid approach and combining various channels to maximize your market reach. Utilizing a marketing channel strategy template or a channel strategy framework template can provide a structured guide for defining and implementing your distribution channels effectively.

Channel Marketing Strategy Examples

Here are a few more examples of effective channel strategies in marketing:

1. Referrals

A common B2B referral channel marketing situation would be a software development company partnering with a complementary IT consulting firm to exchange leads and tap into each other’s client bases.

2. Outside Sales Distributors

Using an outside sales distributor channel strategy, an industrial equipment manufacturer might rely on external sales representatives to engage with potential buyers by visiting the manufacturing facilities of prospective clients.

3. Resellers

A reseller strategy might look like a computer hardware manufacturer distributing its products to retailers, who then sell the hardware to businesses. Resellers may also offer value-added services to end-users, like installation and ongoing support.

Key Elements of a Channel Strategy

Your channel strategy provides an important framework for the distribution and delivery of your product to customers. The sales channels you choose have a pivotal role in the long-term sustainability of your business, so it’s crucial that you properly understand your customers’ needs before committing. Identifying your business goals and target customers can help you select the right sales channels.

Improve Your Channel Partner Management With Torchlite

Many organizations tend to think of channel management as a strictly-human job because relationships are built by people. And while that is true, partnership management skills can only take you so far in the business world if you don’t have the tools to effectively manage your partner portfolio. Even the most skilled carpenter can only do so much with a simple hammer, after all.

Think of Torchlite as an entire toolbox for channel partner managers: it’s a software platform that provides an entire suite of tools, capabilities, and channels that can house an entire partner portfolio. On top of that, Torchlite’s “Simply Intelligent” software design makes it easy to customize workflows, channels, and portals for each partner, meaning that as your relationships evolve, Torchlite evolves alongside them. You’ll always have the tools you need and the ability to incorporate new ones through our seamless integration. Perhaps then, it’s better to think of Torchlite as not just a toolbox, but the entire tool shop.

It’s time to set fire to the old ways of Channel Management—and Torchlite is here to offer you the match. Book a demo with us today and see the power of Torchlite software for yourself.

Kelly Schwedland

Kelly Schwedland is the CEO of Torchlite, where he is at the forefront of scaling partner programs and revolutionizing the way businesses collaborate and drive growth, with a passion for driving revenue and fostering innovation through partnerships.