Is the Channel a Reflection of its Execs?

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Is the Channel a Reflection of its Execs?

Can an executive with direct sales experience effectively manage a channel program?

There has been a lot of turn over lately in the telecom world. Old faces popping up in new spots. Quite a few people running channels now came from direct sales. How will that work when they are so different?

In direct sales, managers have direct daily interaction with their sales team who are employees.

Salespeople have quota and daily activities that (should be) monitored.

The compensation plan is designed to motivate and incent behavior -- but can be changed for an employee.

There is a certain transparency in direct sales that is missing from the indirect channel.

The direct sales teams are exclusive. They have one hammer - the company - and everything is a nail.

In Indirect sales agencies some are exclusive - like Avaya, MITEL, Cisco or IBM or Microsoft partners - but many partners are brokers for a variety of vendors, carriers, service providers.

Top partners enjoy weekly interaction with the channel managers of their preferred vendors. The rest of the vendors suffer for attention, opportunities and sales.

The only control levers that vendors have over the indirect team are commission, co-marketing dollars and support. None of those levers work as effectively as the ability to fire and fire.

In the past couple of months, a number of channel executives lost their jobs. Many were not born to channel. I wonder if that could be why. The best channel programs have one thing that the others do not: a Channel Champion.

The Channel Champion is pro-partner, appreciates the channel and understands its flaws and advantages. Partners WANT to work for that Champion.

All too often I hear anti-channel sentiment - or if not anti, the well-okay-I-guess-we-have-to-have-a-channel. Yeah that attitude will get you great results (/sarcasm)

Maybe the reason so many channels programs are not knocking it out of the park is an organizational problem, not a channel problem.

In Vegas, I had a couple conversations with a channel head about building his channel. You have to know what you are building, who you will target and the WHY, the what's in it for the partner.

In another conversation, the company was going to build a channel for a new product launch, but wanted results in 100 days! Unrealistic.

So if your channel program is going well, ask yourself: is it a reflection of my attitude towards the channel? Or is it that indirect isn't the same as direct sales?

Who is your Channel Champion?

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