Indirect Sales is the process of a vendor selling through partners (one
or multiple levels) to either business end customers or consumers.
The topmost level usually is called distributor and often also provides
the required logistics service for the German market. Broadline
more on the logistics service plus their reseller
relationship. Huge distributors have more than 6,000 German resellers
at least once every month. Difficult products can be sold through Value
Added Distributors (VAD).
They need higher margins but are able to
train resellers and provide the presales services needed.
The layer below often is named as reseller. This can be a system
integrator, computer shop or other company selling IT products,
services and solutions. Some use the vendors product as part of their
own solution (adding at least consulting and/or customizing), others
are only box movers.
- distributors and their resellers already have client
- reduces the required German team size
- distributors and resellers both expect their margins
- no direct touch with the end user (influences
feedback and customer loyalty)
Who should do so?
If the product is too difficult, resellers and distributors are not
able to handle it. Even VADs are very limited in their possibilities to
support a difficult solution.
C-brands are usually not accepted by German distributors. The biggest
only accept A-brands. Distributors expect serious marketing activities
by the vendor (pull) before they agree to add the product. An exception
is a new product without recognized competition.
Products with low margins usually do not fit well in a hierarchical
foreign vendors thought that indirect sales could work if they find a
(or multiple) reseller on a trade show and then leave that reseller
alone in the market. This brought the bad image to this sales approach.
A succcessful market entry in the indirect channel requires a local
team in Germany managing these resellers:
- budgeting and forecasting with the partners
- micromanagement and support in single deals
- marketing (pull activities)
- support (collateral, presales, postsales, lead
How to find the right German Partner?
Finding the right German Partner without a local German
contact can be difficult. One of the German contacts who
are able to
Enterprise Europe Network Hessen
HA Hessen Agentur GmbH
Internationale Angelegenheiten /
International Affairs and Economic Development
65189 Wiesbaden, Germany
Fon: +49 (0) 611 774-8957
Fax: +49 (0) 611 774-58957
EEN Hessen has an excellent contact network to companies
in Hessen, which is one of the 16 German states. They are funded by
German public authorities. therefore their services are free.