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Channel Matters Blog > April 2014 > How to Sell a Partner to the Territory Manager?

How to Sell a Partner to the Territory Manager?

by Rich Blakeman
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Not all partners view their vendor’s direct sales professionals with suspicion. Many top performers recognize the opportunity that territory managers represent. They know these high-powered salespeople can’t be everywhere, selling everything. They need partners to help them reach their numbers – whether they acknowledge it or not.
As a channel account manager, what do you do when your channel partner comes to you and asks for your help in forming a relationship with a territory manager?

There may, of course, be times when you don’t want your channel partner working with the territory manager. For example, if your partner doesn’t have the bandwidth to expand their focus, you may need to redirect them. But, for the sake of this discussion, we’ll assume that the relationship makes sense from your perspective.
Your next task is to determine what’s in it for the territory manager.
4 Questions the TM Should Ask – But Probably Won’t
Chances are, your territory manager will only ask one question. It may be something like, “What does your channel partner bring to the table?” Your job is to understand what they are really asking.
What you might see as valuable attributes in a partner: self-sufficiency, strong product knowledge, good closer, etc., aren’t necessarily the attributes the territory manager is looking for. These are table stakes for the territory manager, but not enough to win the game. They’re looking for answers to questions like:
#1 What products can this partner sell that aren’t worth my time?
Territory managers are often incented to focus on higher-ticket items that take longer to sell. The compensation they receive for selling volume products isn’t usually as attractive. A partner who is willing and able to handle the volume sales will allow the territory manager to focus on the higher-value sales.
#2 What relationships can this partner build so I don’t have to?
Many territory managers are good at selling to the C-suite, but they also recognize the importance of other buyers. They aren’t always good at relating to technical or user buyers such as plant managers or IT professionals. Partners who can communicate with these buyers help the territory manager develop new and deeper relationships.
#3 What industries can this partner cover so I can increase my focus?
No one can be an expert in every industry. Not even the sharpest territory managers. A partner that has an industry focus outside of the territory manager’s expertise can help expand coverage.
#4 What geographies can this partner reach that will allow me to increase my productivity?
Despite mobile phones, tablet PCs and internet access on airplanes, travel time is still the least productive time. Partners who can cover hard-to-reach areas can provide a welcome relief for the time-constrained territory manager.
The answers to questions like these will help you sell the territory manager on working with your channel partner by emphasizing the value they’ll receive on their terms.
Last modified on 8/18/2014 11:56:33 AM
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