Continuing with Wednesday's message, a good channel manager should be...
Trainer: Selling another's company's product is not easy. It requires the VAR to represent another company's product as if their own. This requires a thorough understanding of the product including technology, value proposition, features, ROI, TCO, support and maintenance requirements and how it will fit into the VARs overall business. Additionally, the VAR must represent the company or in this case Broadvox. They must understand who we are, our corporate culture as it relates to product reliability, support, financial strength and integrity. A channel manager must educate his VARs with this information and point them to other resources provided by the service provider to deliver this information.
Advocate: A major responsibility of the channel manager is to be an advocate for his channel members as they encounter valid needs in the market. Partners may require better marketing materials, new features to the product offering, new products, sales support, and my least favorite, non-standardized product discounts or new pricing. Being an advocate does require the channel manager to have the ear of management within the channel organization and that brings me to a final quality.
Great Employee: While it is popular to say "I work for you" to a channel member or even "My success depends upon your success", it is equally relevant for the channel manager to be viewed as a good employee of the company. Having the ear of management, knowing how to access and secure internal resources, and being view as a valuable employee are very important. The enthusiasm that the channel manager exhibits to his channel partners must also extend internally to his company. A good channel manager projects an image or persona that reassures the company and the channel member that he has their best interests at heart. I do not want to second guess my channel managers. When a request is made for resources, new features, new products, or the dreaded pricing flexibility, I want to believe that the channel manager has already considered the impact on the business of the partner and ours.
Being a channel manager is an exciting position to hold within a company. I find it exhilarating positioning hundreds to thousands of other sales people to sell my company's product. Indirect sales is where a person can best utilize their sales and marketing skills. Too often the position is viewed solely as sales; however, without marketing skills and overall business acumen, a channel manger will not succeed.
So as I interview candidates these next few weeks, I keep these thoughts upper most in mind and I think about the people we currently have. We are building a strong and talented team at Broadvox. Hopefully, the members of our channel see it that way as well.
See you on Monday with a new recipe! Enjoy the weekend!