This week we were honored to sponsor the 20th anniversary of Channel Focus North America in San Diego. It was the best Channel Focus event to date; smart panel discussions, expert presenters, tons of networking with Channel executives and a killer view!
Heather’s presentations topics were well received and over the course of the next few weeks we’ll be writing about insights we’ve learned and challenges Vendors and Partners are facing.
Here are the key takeaways from Heather’s Tuesday session:
Through the eyes of a Partner – What they want from Channel Account Managers:
Every Partner is unique but at the end of the day, they’re all running a business, driving pipeline, helping customers, putting out fires and hoping Vendors fill their funnel with warm leads. So it’s safe to assume they’re hyper focused on the revenue, incentives, and margins you offer, but are they really? Money is critical for success but you might be surprised that it’s not actually the top priority for Partners in their relationships with CAMs.
These five things are what your Partners want from your CAMs:
Understand my business
Partners work with anywhere from 5 to 25 Vendors at any given time and each one has partner-facing teams. Partners want Channel Account Managers to take an interest in their business which means asking questions and adding value in conversations about:
- Goals, plans and budgets
- Bread-and-butter vs. ad-hoc solutions
- How they go-to-market and what their marketing goals are
- Their value prop, verticals, and ideal customers
- How they measure success
- Training and certification needs
Know everything I need to know
Imagine a Partner receives an email from your Channel Marketing organization. It’s highlighting a new promotion but they’re not sure if they qualify so they call their CAM only to find out but they don’t know. Partners are busy and they might not be interested by the time the CAM comes back with the answer.
- Make sure communications to CAMs are clear and concise
- Ensure CAMs are always up-to-speed on products, promotions, and updates
- Send calendar invites for webinars, events and external communications dates so CAM know what’s coming up and when information will be sent to Partners
Keep me current on the latest demand gen strategies
– You invest a lot of time and money in Partnerships. You want them to sell your solutions. Demand generation is key and CAMs need to understand what Partners need to know:
- How to use social media to build a list
- What social selling is and how to begin
- How to use LinkedIn to increase open rates on email campaigns
- Do PCC campaigns work and how they can optimize them
- Why ad retargeting may (or may not) benefit them
- How to develop calls-to-action that convert
View me as an extension of your team
Channel Account Managers tell Partners they are an extension of their sales team but do they mean it? If CAMs aren’t providing resources that help them sell; updated information, demand generation assets and training, they’re not really being treated like an extension of your team, are they?
Respond timely, follow through, and please stop blowing smoke
Every time a CAM makes a promise they can’t keep it weakens the relationship including understanding how long tactics take to execute in comparison to the time left before MDF expires.
For example, don’t expect Partners to execute these strategies if the MDF expires in 30-days:
- Webinars: 8 – 10 weeks
- Email campaigns: 6 – 9 weeks
- Cocktail receptions/golf events: 6 – 10 weeks
- Direct mail: 4 – 8 weeks
Partner-facing teams need training on how to stay top-of-mind with Partners including a fundamental understanding of how Partners differentiate their business, what information they need, when and in what format, and how to be there for Partners in ways that matter to them. The more a CAM learns and quickly addresses Partner challenges, the faster the relationship grows and the more business you’ll drive through your Channel.