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Channel Matters Blog > August 2013 > Do channel managers need to know how to sell?

Do channel managers need to know how to sell?

by Geoff Wright
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It's a mistake to assume that just because your Channel Account Managers (CAMs) rely on partners to do the actual selling that they don't need to know how to sell. A BIG mistake.

Channel partners are like any other sales force. Some are born salespeople. Some are a hopeless cause. Most can be coached toward better performance. But as in direct sales management, the best coaching comes from those who know how to play the game.

"You need to think of your Channel Account Managers as sales managers and provide them with the same level of training as your direct sales management team," says Rich Blakeman, Managing Director at Channel Enablers.

For channel organizations, CAM training falls into three categories:

Process – A solid sales methodology can keep everyone on the same page. Even if their actual processes differ, using a common sales language with partners can avoid misunderstandings. You might offer sales training, but not every channel partner salesperson is likely to attend - even if required. CAMs that function as advocates and coaches for the methodology can bridge the gaps.

Product – World-Class Channel Organizations provide a thorough training curriculum for their channel partners, but that doesn't take the place of the impromptu trainings often delivered by CAMs. Product rollouts are a good example. Even if you offer a webcast on the new product, your CAMs will be the first line for answering questions for your channel. Make sure they understand the value proposition and the messaging.

Management – At the end of the day, your CAMs are managers, not salespeople. If they spend more time selling than they do managing, that's a sign of a serious problem. Salespeople who make the move from successful individual contributor to Channel Account Manager often have the most difficulty with the transition and may need additional coaching themselves to help them leave behind their old ways.


Last modified on 11/18/2013 9:12:49 AM
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