ChannelVision Magazine

These people think channel managers have all the fun and that success is nearly guaranteed for anyone that walks into an existing book of business. Reality, unfortunately, is much harsher. The life of a successful channel manager is filled with long work days, many nights away from families, heavy competition and an expectation of instant responses to quote requests and escalations that inevitably come with the territory. Having success as a channel manager is no guarantee, and there are plenty of case studies out there that prove it. Indeed, being a channel manager is no easy feat, and the challenges are very real. Let’s look at some of the top hurdles that most channel manag- ers face and how to overcome them. Knowing is only half the battle; but learning how to overcome these chal- lenges can help talented channel pro- fessionals sustain long-term success and avoid burnout. Challenge one: Long work days. The best agents are “on” long after the lights at most offices go off. These agents are out all day meeting with po- tential clients to develop business, then they spend their nights working on pos- sible application designs and requesting the applicable pricing from their service provider channel managers. Not only do requests from some of the best partners come late at night, sometimes feedback is needed prior to the next day. Fair? Maybe not; but being successful often involves overcoming situations that may not be deemed “fair.” Solution: Channel managers need to understand their best part- ners and get to know their schedules. Regular communication is key; good channel managers should talk to their key partners enough to have an idea of upcoming appointments. They should try to discover needs in advance and know when long days (and nights) may be coming. In those cases, a late arrival to the office or a long lunch may go a long way to stave off burnout. Challenge two: Nights Away from Home. To the outsider, travel seems glorious. New cities, social events and expensive dinners can look very appeal- ing. In reality, most channel managers have an expansive territory to manage and will spend time on the road each week visiting agents in the same few cities. Meanwhile, back at home, parent/ teacher conferences are missed, wed- ding anniversaries and birthdays are I ’ve seen channel management often mischaracterized by other industry professionals as “being easy.” They talk about how nice it must be to travel frequently and attend parties on a regular basis, or how great it would be to have a sales job filled with inbound activity that make lots of money. And how channel managers can overcome them By Bruce Wirt channel management Operational Obstacles Channel Vision | September - October, 2018 64