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Channel Matters Blog > October 2013 > The Secret to a successful Channel SE

The Secret to a successful Channel SE

by Scott P Leeper
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Globally in the software business, we are seeing increasing demands placed on Channel SE teams; indeed, demands and responsibilities increase faster than headcount and budget. The secret to a successful Channel SE team is a combination of factors:

1. As many companies are phasing out the Generalist SE ("Jack of all trades, Master of none") - the channel is a fantastic place for these folks to live and to make a living.

2. Decide on the "Commander's Intent"; a military phrase which reflects the reality that no plan survives contact with the enemy. No sales and go-to-market strategy survives contact with customers, competitors and channels. For example - is the overall intent of the Channel SE to (a) educate and enable the channel partner SE's or (b) fight side-by-side with channel partner SE's in the trenches or (c) work with your channel sales-rep to sign up more channel partners?

3. Teach your Channel SE's how to teach and train - quickly. They don't have time to do it twice. It needs to be short, sharp and effective.

4. Aim for repeatability. There is no room for "heroic efforts" in a Channels team, the SE: Partner ration won't allow for it. That means have a sales process that everyone follows, a capture and onboarding process for new partners, and a comprehensive training and enablement program for existing partners. On that sales process note - many external companies have a great "sales" systems for salespeople and are clueless on the channel SE side of things - ignoring potentially up to 40% of their audience!

5. If you are a large enough company - share globally! A recent example of a major corporate doing this – where 3 great ideas came out of New Zealand, Belgium and Thailand saved the collective organization 3-4 hours per SE per week and increased their channel conversion rates by 12%.

6. Cast a large shadow. Don't rely on the sales or business development managers to publicize your efforts. When you contribute to the good of the greater SE team, or help land a big deal, or provide an assist to marketing or support - make sure they know about it. Don't be the best-kept secret in SE-land!

7. (Controversial). If a choice has to be made as to which outside partner should get attached to a deal - that selection CANNOT be made just by sales alone. Too many deals can get ruined because the partner was selected on the basis of expected commission, bonuses or golf course etiquette. Pre-sales needs a say too - on the basis of who will make the deal easier (and faster) to win.



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