Welcome to Perspectives.
Although ChannelPace is aimed at all business users, my primary experience over 25 years has been my involvement in Channel and Alliance Management.
Perspectives is my collection of thoughts related to channel matters, and whatever else I find on the internet that may be of interest to Channel and Alliance Managers and Channel Leaders.
When I first embarked on a career in Channel Management, there were no courses to do, no training and certainly no real systems in place for Channel Managers. To this day, Channel Managers are quite often seen as an appendage to the "real" sales team and indeed, many training courses that companies send Channel Managers on are really Sales Courses, not Channel Management courses.
You may learn something, or you may not. You may pick up something to make you more efficient, you may learn how to be more effective, and you may get tips to make yourself a more valuable asset to your company and your partners.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has been around for decades, yet it has not fundamentally changed throughout my career. Sure, there are new bells and whistles, it can now be in the cloud and most CRM vendors are implementing it on mobile platforms, But that’s just evolution. More features and prettier interfaces are nice, but in my opinion, there are some higher-level issues at play that are poised to fundamentally change the CRM landscape.
Recently I was discussing with a Channel Manager some tactics to help a partner into an end-user account and I asked what their channel eco-system was like. I got a blank stare. Fair enough, so I explained what I meant. I got another blank stare. This article is about building a channel eco-system; what it is and how to use it.
Some vendors have them, some don't. When done correctly they can be a powerful force for both the vendor and the partners. When done poorly, or for the wrong reasons, they can be an absolute waste of time, and actually damage relationships. If you have an Advisory Council, or are considering implementing one, this article may be of interest.
As Channel Managers, we make commitments all the time. What defines us however, is how well we keep the commitments we make. From the mundane "I'll get back to you" to the implementation and execution of strategies, your partners will notice when you keep and break your commitments. No pressure, but this will play a big part in how you are perceived as a Channel Manager.
Working out who your best partners are is something that many channel managers don't spend a lot of time on. Typically, revenue will be the only measure used, but that doesn't answer the question of who your BEST partners are; only who your LARGEST partners are. Here's a test: Ask ten people in your organisation who your best partners are. If you don't get the same answer, then you may find this article interesting.
As a professional channel manager, you will be tempted now and again to mention to your partners what is wrong with your competitors. It's hard to hold back sometimes, especially when you have a ground-breaking product, or a competitor that is shooting itself in the foot. It's wise to resist the urge.
If you are interested in my thoughts on a particular topic, or a problem you may be experiencing in your role as a channel manager, or indeed, just want to provide some feedback, use the form below.