Channel Sales – the way forward

We’ve been doing some work over the last month developing a Channel Account Management (CAM) quarterly timeline for a client. And with their permission, I’d like to share the activity charts we generated for their CAM team.

First of all though, we needed to agree on what is the role of a Channel Account Manager. Through no fault of their own, our client’s CAM’s had been burdened with administrative and compliance tasks that diverted their proactive sales activities. Whilst the CAM is the information link between partner and vendor, the partner programs can be administratively heavy. Successful channel enabled organisations ensure their CAM’s can focus on portfolio growth, margin improvements, and marketing activities. The partner program compliance tasks, should be self-serve, and only a light touch for CAMs.

The most successful CAMs known to us, have strong business and financial acumen, which they leverage to develop a deep understanding of their partners’ business, in terms of their priorities, how they make money and the challenges they are facing. This, in turn, allows CAMs to establish credibility, provides partners with a compelling reason to do business with their company – beyond products and programs – and helps them deliver the advice and support they need to be successful.

They also have deep and far reaching relationships in all areas of their partner, this is combined with a desire, to understand every component of the partner’s operation. The aim is to help make the partner a self-sufficient flywheel of opportunity creation. To do this, a regular cadence, of new product introductions, opportunity creation workshops, training, and marketing initiatves are key activities.

In order to help our client back on track, we rewrote the partner business and marketing plan templates. Whilst our client’s CAMs have been focussing on the short-term tactical activities, these exisitng documents had remained dormant collecting dust. We know, the most successful CAM’s work jointly with their partners to document mutual goals, underpinned with SMART objectives, and in the case of a strategic partner, signed off at board level. These plans need to become living working documents that have meaning, and are the mutual path to success.

Our last recommendation to the client, was around trust creation. The relationship will not function if trust is not there. Not a glib “trusted advisor” status, but someone, who, over time, earns enough trust and respect that the partner will listen and act upon the CAM’s recommendations. To do this the CAM needs to be knowledgable in their own products, but more importantly understand the business concerns, challenges, threats, and aspirations of their partner. The CAM has to be upfront, transparent and continually act with integrity and the be genuinely interested in the long-term success of the partnership.

To help them on the way, we developed a quarterly activity planner, that can help CAM’s focus on the right stuff, and not be distracted with the unnecessary. Please feel free to download or comment.

Philip Hesketh is the founder of Qdos Performance.

Qdos helps sales leaders – across all industries – deliver greater productivity, motivation, collaboration and performance.

Qdos was founded by a cross industry team of sales leaders. We’re fanatical about sales effectiveness and performance. And we’re driven to understand and share what makes a high performing sales team.

Qdos Performance is a dynamic platform that gathers key data connecting sales people’s activities with their customers’ feedback. It puts these real-time insights in their hands, so that they can learn from every customer interaction. And it equips sales leaders to help their teams perform better.