Currently on the LinkedIN Group for Technology Channel Association members, we are having a dialogue about two important topics: a Code of Ethics for Agents and Best Practices.
The Technology Channel Association (TCA) wants to examine the best ways to elevate the professionalism of this industry overall.
In July, the TCA held an interactive conference call titled Best Practices for Channel Managers. Agents shared their points of view on what can be done on a daily basis to ensure the best possible customer experience.
Generally speaking, agents feel that a good channel manager has the following traits:
- manages relationships
- delegates responsibility to the appropriate internal contacts
- knowledgeable about the business overall.
It takes time to develop a business relationship, so shuffling channel managers is probably not the best idea, unless channel success is at issue.
One factor was that while the channel manager needs to be responsive, the way in which he communicates with agents may have to depend upon the agent and how he likes to communicate. All agreed that face-to-face is still the best way to cultivate a relationship.
It's also about engagement. Carriers want the agents more involved and having their company top of mind. Agents need to be engaged by channel management to learn about new offerings or promotions. One way is to know what the agent's business is and to point him to the most relevant stuff. Maybe suggest that he could upsell his base with Product X -- but with a qualifying statement of why his base would be interested or what the pitch would loook like.
That covers much of what agents want from channel managers. Now it's time to find out what agents need for best practices. Input is welcome.