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6 Ways to Turn Your Channel Managers into High Powered Partner Growth Consultants

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Most companies that sell their products or services through an indirect channel have a team of “Channel Account Managers” to work with their partners to build their business. The channel account management (CAM) staff is one of the biggest investments that most organizations make to encourage growth and investment by their channel partners (i.e., resellers, ISV’s, etc.). Unfortunately, most companies with channel organizations don’t equip their CAMs with the right tools to build their partner’s success. CAMs that are the most successful are equipped with tools designed to meet the needs of their partners.

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Partners are looking for 3 primary things from their suppliers & CAMs to help them succeed:

1) A clear path to profitability: (CAM-Delivered Service) The ability to simulate how partners can generate the most revenue and profits with your brand

2) A support structure to help partners be successful: (CAM Delivered Service) A set of marketing, sales, services, and finance support to help partners confidently invest in your brand.

3) A competitive product / service offering to help differentiate themselves in the market: A differentiated product or service that they can use to build their business.

A competitively differentiated product is not enough for a partner to get behind and succeed. If partners are going to commit to invest their own time and money in sales, marketing, and other resources they will be looking for “Partner Business Services” from your CAMs to help them grow. CAMs can deliver these services with the support of planning and modelling tools to simulate partner business profitability. Additionally, partners expect to be provided with a range of sales, marketing, and training tools to help them build their growth strategy. Examples of these include scorecarding tools to help partners build their capabilities, and marketing planning tools to help partners build ROI-based demand generation programs. Many partners will tell you that a well-trained and equipped Channel Account Manager who delivers effective business support services is as important as the product itself to achieving business growth goals.

Most indirect channel organizations today do not equip their CAMs with tools to deliver these valued business support services to partners. Unfortunately, CAMs in these supplier organizations are given no choice but to simply do their best on their own. As a result, their partners do not deliver nearly as much revenue as they could because they are not enabled with the right business modelling tools.

For channel teams that do supply their CAMs with the necessary business services tools, here is a workflow for managing and motivating their partners to invest and grow.
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  • CAM Workflow 1 (Scorecard): CAMs can conduct a quarterly assessment with their partners on best practice attributes on a 1-100 scale, compare to average partners, set goals and measure improvement in 10 minutes.
  • CAM Workflow 2 (Business Plan): CAMs can help create goals, strategies, a sales plan, and a complete 3-year profit forecast with their partner in 10 minutes.
  • CAM Workflow 3 (Marketing Plan): CAMs can create a quarterly marketing plan with their partner complete with tactic details, timing, lead and revenue forecast, budget and ROI in 10 minutes.
  • CAM Workflow 4 (MDF): CAMs can help partners submit MDF requests that are more likely to be funded because they use a consistent, ROI-based methodology
  • CAM Workflow 5 (Execution): CAMs can more easily coordinate with marketing and services vendors to execute and meet their business and marketing goals.
  • CAM Workflow 6 (QBR): These other processes above all feed into the Quarterly Business Review (QBR) which is pulled together automatically for the CAM to deliver to the partner.

This streamlined business process creates very happy and motivated partners. Partners feel much more supported with this approach. It also gives CAMs confidence that they can deliver more relevant and valued business services to their partners.

Here is a 12 month map of how these simplified and streamlined CAM processes will gain even greater partner commitment to their brand.

 

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Automated partner planning, assessment, and profit modelling tools give CAMs an effective way to deliver growth consulting. CAMs can guide partners through a thoughtful capabilities, development and investment planning process. Each step of this process is easily managed and tracked via a progress bar.
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CAMs are able to access all of their partners’ business plans, scorecards, marketing plans, and performance-to-plan data in one consolidated “CAM Dashboard.” From this dashboard, CAMs can conduct partner QBRs and update their plans based on further partner input.
The partner Quarterly Business Review (QBR) is prepared automatically for the CAM. All plan and actual values can be integrated in advance so CAMs have the data they need to deliver performance-to-plan reviews and consult with their partners on how they can improve their growth moving forward.

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QBR’s is where CAMs can discuss partner improvements to key scorecard metrics, effectiveness of partner sales efforts, and lead generation outcomes of marketing programs. Partners appreciate the opportunity to fine-tune their growth and investment strategy based on this progress-to-date review.
All players in the channel win with this approach. Channel managers win because they can do their job more effectively, partners gain confidence in their growth and investment plans, and channel executives can more effectively manage their entire partner ecosystems.

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Channel Account Managers (CAMs) are a critical part of a suppliers “partner value proposition.” From a partner’s perspective, CAMs deliver a significant portion of the value associated with a supplier’s brand and business. Providing CAMs with the right tools to build partner commitment and investment levels may be the most important investment that a company can make to grow its channel business.

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1 Comment
  1. good stuff, thanks!

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