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Channel Matters Blog > May 2011 > CAM Skills Demonstration

CAM Skills Demonstration

by Philip Moon
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The vast majority of revenue in the high-tech industry flows through indirect channel partners, so it’s no surprise that vendors place an increasing emphasis on training and developing their channel sales people to secure this revenue life-blood. Channel Account Managers (CAMs) have a complex role, and sometimes they are not sure whether they should be selling, managing, mentoring, negotiating, coaching or leading. Why not all of these? This short video demonstrates many of these skills being employed during a single meeting with a partner. See if you can spot which skills and strategies are applied.

Channel Enablers skills development courses cover a wide range of Channel Account Management skills to support their complex and important role. There are times when CAMs need to focus on selling to partners, but other times when they are called upon to act as virtual sales managers and coaches. Some people argue that selling and managing are different skills, after all not many sales managers succeed by trying to sell to their employees! However, channel partners are not employees – they have their own independent businesses to run and the CAM competes with other vendors to gain a greater share of the channel partners focus, attention and investment.

Partners aren’t just providers of outsource sales services, nor are they simply customers although they place many demands on vendors. If a partner can get a vendor to contribute more resources or offer greater incentive they will. If CAMs don’t have the skills to handle these frequent requests they can end up doing all the work of their sales partner!


 

Watch the short video of a realistic CAM - Partner meeting during which we see a variety of CAM skills demonstrated.

As you watch the video see if you can spot the following strategies and skills being applied.

  • Questioning to focus the partner on common goals.
  • Partners won’t change or invest unless they perceive a problem or an opportunity. However simply pointing these out is not very effective. Skilled CAMs use questions to help the partner understand the ‘reality’ of their problems or opportunities for themselves.
  • Partners often try to push problems back on the CAM. While there are times CAMs need to acknowledge and accept vendor issues, there are other times when they need to keep problem ownership with the partner. Use of reflective listening, probing questions and even silence can be effective.
  • When partners accept the need to change or invest highly skilled CAMs use questions draw out multiple strategies and options from their partners. When partners are coached to identify how they will address issues or opportunities their degree of ownership and commitment to action will increase.
  • ‘Implication’ and ‘consequence’ questions are highly effective ways of confirming the need to change or invest. Skilled CAMs explore many such implications to establish a compelling need to change.

 

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