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Six Tools to Turn Channel Managers into Rock Stars for Your Brand

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Your senior executive team will be cheering your channel managers with their concert lighter phone apps for the fantastic job they are doing driving new revenue growth for your channel.   This is because your channel managers will be transformed into high performance partner business growth consultants who are motivating partners to invest in your brand.  This will happen when your company invests in the six key channel management enablement tools to simplify and streamline the development of partner scorecards, plans, profitability forecasts and performance measurement QBR’s (Quarterly Business Reviews).  There are six key tasks that channel managers have to master to build partner performance.

Rockstar

Your channel managers know what they need to succeed but they often can’t get what they need because of the limitations with channel systems and enabling tools.  This is because channel systems are not specifically designed to support these six key CAM tasks.   Channel managers spend too much time doing administrative tasks to pull data from multiple systems and not enough time consulting with their partners on new growth and investment strategies.  These 5-10 minute tools are designed to do all the administrative work and analysis for channel managers so they can focus their time doing consultative selling with their partners.  Channel Managers are able to assess, plan, coach, motivate, and measure partner performance in a fraction of the time than in the past.   And, channel managers are able to manage and activate a much larger set of partners armed with these productivity tools.

Detailed Exhibit

Each Channel Manager key activity is designed to help improve partner effectiveness, growth, and success.

  1. Partner Scorecarding and Enablement: Helps partners assess themselves against best practices, compare themselves to peers, and define goals for improving capabilities
  2. 12-36 Month Partner Plans: Gets partners to commit to a growth and investment plan in your brand
  3. Partner Profitability Forecasting: Shows partners the path to greater profitability by creating a customized P&L with the sale of your brand
  4. Quarterly Marketing Planning: Creates a quarterly marketing plan, including activity and tactic definitions with a budget, lead waterfall, revenue and ROI forecast
  5. Quarterly Business Review (QBR): Creates a performance-to-plan and performance-to-scorecard report in minutes to allow for a highly productive monthly or quarterly review meeting with your partner
  6. Channel Chief Dashboard: Instantly generates a summary of these partner QBR’s to roll up the individual partner performance-to-plan reports to the Channel Manager and regional levels

Each tool is designed to complete the Channel Manager’s task in 10 minutes or less.  These tools accomplish this by providing all of the following features:

  1. Sample Values: Produce sample values for all scorecard, business plan and marketing plan development tasks
  2. Customize Everything: Give Channel Managers the option to work with partners to use suggested values, or customize virtually any value in the scorecard, business plan or marketing plans
  3. Instantly Simulate: Allow partners to instantly simulate alternate scenarios for goals, strategies, pricing, costs, and other plan values
  4. Automatically Calculate: Automatically calculate budgets, lead forecasts, revenue, profitability and ROI for each strategy decision made by a partner

Channel Manager tools are designed to make life easier, so partners will be motivated to invest and grow their business.

Examples of these tools in action:

3 Minute

These partner score carding tools are setup in a questionnaire style to allow partners to assess themselves in 2 to 3 minutes each quarter. Partners are asked questions by category and by topic within each category about their capabilities and their strategies.

Score Carding

Once the partner answers a series of questions, a partner scorecard is automatically generated that compares their score by topic and category to best practices on a 1-100 basis.   It also compares the partner’s score to average (peer) partners.

Score Carding 2

The partner can then set goals and a timeframe for the achievement of these goals.   Each quarter, a partner can update their scorecard metrics in minutes to help with a streamlined QBR process.  Progress can be tracked for the previous six periods to compare progression over time.   The channel chief dashboard allows you to instantly review scores across all partners by topic and by category.

10 Minutes

Channel Managers can use this ten minute planning tool to create a customized 36 month business plan with their partners.  It can be customized to match the specific partner forecast, costs, pricing, staffing, and other unique assumptions of a partner.  The result is a detailed product-level, sales play level, and consolidated product line view of the partner forecast.  This tool guides a partner through 8-10 steps in ten minutes to create a first draft business plan.   Then, a partner can do simple simulations of alternative strategies like increasing marketing investments, adding new sales people, and changes in pricing and staffing to forecast revenue and profit outcomes instantly.

10 Minute Planning

 

 

Sample Partner Plan

These ten minute planning tools allow Channel Managers and partners to build plans they believe in because they are customized specifically for the partner.   As a result, partners are more committed to achieving their plan because they understand how much money they can make with the sale of your brand.

5 Minute Partner

One of the most important tools for Channel Managers is the ability to create a customized partner profitability forecast in five minutes.   Channel Managers can easily demonstrate how much money a partner can make with a brand and how changes in strategies and investments can improve profitability.

Instant Revenue Expense

Channel managers can lead the discussion with partners on how to build a more profitable business plan and simulate virtually any partner business strategy instantly.

10 Minute Marketing Plan

Channel managers have long struggled to help partners build confident and ROI-based marketing plans that actually generate quality sales leads and opportunities.  This is because partners don’t have deep experience in marketing planning and lack a guided how-to process to build the right kind of marketing programs.

These ten minute step-by-step partner marketing planning and ROI forecasting tools make it easy for partners to become expert marketers with minimal training and support.  They guide a partner (with the help of their channel manager) through a marketing planning process to select the right tactics, accurately forecast budgets, and then calculate a complete “lead waterfall” forecast all the way through to closed sales including revenue and marketing ROI.

QBR

 

Lead and Revenue Forecast

Not only will these 10 minute partner planning tools give your partners a lot of confidence but they will also help improve the ROI on any co-funded marketing efforts you are offering to your channel today.
5 Minute QBR

5 Minute Channel Chief Dashboard

One of the biggest frustrations for channel managers is the degree of difficulty it takes to pull together a simple performance-to-plan QBR and Channel Chief Dashboard.   Channel systems are difficult to access – obtaining the appropriate data is challenging, and more often than not they are separated from partner business plans.   These five minute QBR tools put the actual sales data together with the partner plans to make it easy to conduct a performance-to-plan review with your partners.  This allows your channel managers more time to focus on more value-added tasks like coaching your partners on new growth and investment strategies for your brand.  Partner QBR’s and the Channel Chief Dashboard are contained in the same integrated performance management system.

Reporting

 

Partner Performance to plan

 

Partner Performance By Product

Channel Managers have one of the most difficult jobs in the indirect channel because they are expected to be business consultants, salespeople, trainers, analysts, and advocates for their partners.   Armed with a range of simple-to-use enablement tools, virtually any channel manager can be a rock star within their organization.  Channel Managers can build committed partners that are motivated to grow by better understanding a path to greater profitability. Channel Managers will be more successful because they’ll have more confidence in their roles as a value-added advisor to their partners supported by these expert tools.

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