ChannelVision Sept-Oct 2017

By Peter Radizeski The channel manager has the responsibility of assisting partners in making sales. In some cases that includes being on the call to close the sale. Other times it is about removing the friction in the sales process in order for the partner to make the sale. That friction can turn up in any part of the sales process. The channel manager at its core is the con- duit to the company. The partners will use the channel manager as a type of switchboard op- erator. The channel manager will need to edu- cate partners on who to contact and for what, in order to clean some of the noise in that conduit. Again, there are obstacles everywhere to sales. One obstacle is the quoting process. Another is the ordering. Yet others include implementa- tion, billing and post-sales customer care. If the channel manager is spending a lot of time on non-sales efforts, the quota will never be met. Some providers have automated the quot- ing process either with a portal, such as Mas- terStream, or through a master agency portal, such as Microcorp’s Nautilus or Telarus’ GeoQuote. That can remove some friction, un- less the portal is clunky or the partner refuses to use it. That’s one reason providers occa- sional spiff better for orders quoted through the portal – to force the partners to use the tools. To the provider, the channel manager also is the brand ambassador. According to Seth Godin, “Ambassadors do two things that are really difficult for most people within organizations: • “They listen and send the notes up the chain. They’re at the front line, and they listen to what’s happening and figure out how to get the right people back home to hear what’s being said. • “They apologize. Not for things they did wrong, but for things that others did wrong.” Sounds like a channel manager, right? The Many Roles of the Channel Manager N o matter all the different titles a channel chief could have – channel manager, partner development manager, national partner manager – it all comes down to sales management. And what is the number one job of a sales manager? Remove obstacles to sales. channel management Channel Vision | September - October, 2017 64