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Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

The A-B-C of Route to Market: A Simple Guide to Achieving Success

Posted by Michael Thompson on Wed, Jun 05, 2024

Myself and Enchange colleagues have written 100’s of posts and articles about Route to Market for well over five years.

It is fair to say that our message has spread far and wide and attracted a lot of attention in the RtM and commercial world.

I want to bring this work together in the form of a simple new model. I will call this model the A-B-C of Route to Market.

The A-B-C of Route to MArket Management

My aim is to simplify the world of RtM into a series of three steps that any RtM practitioner can execute.  I would like the message to be actionable by all professionals be they small business owners trying to find new export markets, commercial heads of large multinationals or RtM management consultants.


All RtM work starts with the Assessment Phase which involves gathering essential insights to understand the market, internal capabilities, and trade partner potential.

  • External Perspective: Analyse market size, trends, segments, channels, customer preferences, competitor strategies, cost to serve and regulatory requirements.
  • Internal Perspective: Evaluate your organisation’s strengths, weaknesses, resources, technology, demand creation processes and supply chain efficiency.
  • Trade Partners: Assess the capabilities and reliability of potential distributors, wholesalers, and other trade partners.

We also refer to this phase as “Where to Play”.


The blueprint phase involves designing a detailed strategy based on the assessment findings.

  • External Perspective: Choose the best distribution channels that you are able to effectively compete in, develop a tailored RtM strategy and execution plan.
  • Internal Perspective: Define your sales strategy, align internal departments, plan for risk mitigation, develop training and development plans and design all of the RtM tools needed to execute the RtM strategy.
  • Trade Partners: Select trade partners (e.g. Key Distributors), design incentive programmes, and provide necessary training and support.

We also refer to this phase as “How to Play”.


The catalyst phase focuses on executing the blueprint and achieving your market goals.

  • External Perspective: Launch your new RtM Strategy, e.g. run marketing campaigns, engage with trade partners and customers and ensure that you to gather feedback especially in the early days and weeks after launch.
  • Internal Perspective: Monitor performance through key metrics, foster continuous improvement, optimise logistics, execute training and development plans.
  • Trade Partners: Support and actively engage with trade partners, develop and maintain strong relationships, and establish feedback loops for continuous enhancement.

We also refer to this phase as “How to Win”.

You will have noticed that within each of the three phases of Assessment, Blueprint and Catalyst, we consider three further aspects – the External Environment, Internal Perspective and finally our Trade Partners.  It is important that each of these three aspects are considered in each phase as your RtM Strategy is developed and then executed.

By following the three phases, all businesses, large or small, can create an effective route to market strategy that drives growth and meets customer needs.

I will explore this in further detail in the coming weeks.

Tags: Route to Market, Michael Thompson, RtM Strategy, The ABC of RtM

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