Most of us have an immediate reaction to what makes a good channel program. I often see columns stating the top ten elements or criteria for selecting or participating in a channel program. Some of these are not debatable.
· Recurring commissions
· Prompt payment
· Marketing and lead generation
· Reliable product
· Competitive feature set and pricing
· Access to operational tools and systems
· Financial stability
The order of the above may be questioned and some may want to add a phrase or two but the essence of a good channel program will contain all of the above. However, I have read nothing that describes perhaps the next most important resource/component of a good channel program, the channel manager.
A good channel manager will work as an effective interface between the master agent, agent, VAR or dealer and the telecom service provider. A good channel manager brings a broad range of skills to the position and learns to leverage the capabilities of the service providers to best support the agent. So since Broadvox is expanding its channel manager team, what qualities am I looking for in a channel manager?
Experience: Since many of our VARs and agents are independent business owners, I want someone who can bring business acumen to the position. Having been a small business owner, I do not have time for junior sales people or individuals that have not faced the fire of selling. My first choice is to hire an experience channel manager; second choice is an experienced sales person; third is an individual with an entrepreneurial background. In each case, the experience brought to the table to complement that of the VAR or agent in understanding the demands of running a small business and the need to succeed.
Industry Credibility: Telecommunications and Information Technology are industries that thrive on acronyms and technological innovation. Convergence has exacerbated the confluence of terms and knowledge requirements by combining the two industries together. In many businesses, IT controls the both the telecom technology (IP communications) and the telecom budget (ITSP, Broadvox). Having a channel manager that can move between these two industries with a good understanding of each is very important. Bringing an understanding of the reliability concerns of telecom and the security and efficiency concerns of IT helps a lot in positioning what is arguably an early adopter product.
More on Friday...