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Channel Matters Blog > November 2013 > Should You Assign Your Best CAMs to Your Best Partners?

Should You Assign Your Best CAMs to Your Best Partners?

by Geoff Wright
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Your best channel partners aren’t naïve. They know who the best channel account managers (CAMs) are, and they’re not shy about demanding only the best for themselves. But should you give into their demands and assign the best CAMs to your best partners? Considering this common challenge from a slightly different perspective can help drive channel performance.

Achievers, Believers and Deceivers

While many channel organizations segment their channel by revenues, Channel Enablers looks at channels differently.

Achievers - These are typically your best partners no matter how you slice and dice your channel segments, but it’s more than just revenues that defines them. True Achievers are well funded, have a clear strategy, sell vigorously into the existing customer base, and on the whole, create their own leads, close their own deals and deliver the complete solution.

Believers - Believers make up the bulk of most channels. If your channel follows the typical 80/20 rule, they may be in the top 20 percent, but it’s not usually the result of their own efforts. All too often, they have managed to curry favor with their CAM who feeds them the best leads and helps them close the business. They could become self-sufficient Achievers, except for a few gaps in their business strategy.

Deceivers - These are the “squeaky wheels that get the grease.” By complaining loudly and longly, they convince the organization to dedicate resources, but at the end of the day, Deceivers aren’t willing to do what it takes to become Achievers. 

Assigning Resources for Maximum Impact

When you segment your channel between Achievers, Believers and Deceivers, it’s easy to see the problem. Deceivers consume time and resources with little or no benefit. Believers are insulated from their own strategy failures by well-meaning but misguided CAMs. Achievers are managed by CAMs who perform little more than a supporting role.

Breaking out of this self-defeating pattern requires some shuffling of resources. Many Achievers can continue their track record of success with little intervention from a CAM, and the CAMs assigned to these self-sufficient channel partners can often handle more accounts despite the greater revenues they bring in. While it’s critical to ensure that the Achievers still feel valued by the organization, the most effective rewards should come through the channel programs instead of day-to-day CAM resources.

Your best CAMs, the ones you have trained to coach partners to success, should be assigned to the Believers who have the greatest potential for growth. However, these CAMs should also be trained on how to separate the Believers from the Deceivers. If a channel partner refuses to fill in the gaps in their strategy despite the best coaching from your best CAMs, they are simply Deceivers.

Channel organizations should transition away from the Deceivers. This may even include unauthorizing partners who don’t comply with basic commitments as defined in your channel programs. If your channel programs don’t provide for this, reassigning them to an Inside Sales Manager trained to handle their requests in the most efficient way can free up your best CAMs for partners with more potential. At the very least, Deceivers should receive no investment and no commitments from expensive field resources.

If you have questions on how to assign channel resources for maximum impact, reach out to me at  And for help in turning all of your CAMs into your best CAMs, check out our resources at


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