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Channel Matters Blog > October 2014 > Avoiding the High Cost of Channel Manager Churn

Avoiding the High Cost of Channel Manager Churn

by Jan de Leon
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When a channel manager leaves, it can have a big impact on the organization’s relationship with channel partners. These partners often feel like they’ve had a hand in training their channel manager or at least breaking them in. They’re understandably disappointed when they need to start all over with a new one. In some cases, it may even give the channel partner the nudge they needed to start looking at a competitive solution.
Channel manager churn can also have a financial impact on the organization. It takes time and money to find the right talent. Then there’s the onboarding process during which the channel manager is costing the organization money, but producing little to no value. Depending on the market and solutions offered, it can take a few weeks to several months before the channel manager starts contributing to the bottom line. After all that effort, the last thing you want is for the channel manager to move on to greener pastures.
So what’s the answer? More money? More benefits? Better managers? A self-serve latte machine for the office? Actually, the answer may lie in your approach to channel management.
Yes, it’s true that people often cite poor management as one of the primary reasons they decided to leave the company. But, I don’t think that applies in sales quite as much as it applies in more office-bound, less commission-based roles. Throughout my years working with channel managers, I’ve seen them put up with some horrendous bosses because they were paid well and their role kept them on the road. That’s not to say that something shouldn’t be done about bad bosses, I’m just saying that it’s not the primary lever for decreasing channel manager churn.
Furthermore, you could improve compensation plans, but even the best compensation plan won’t help you retain channel managers if your systems and process are working against them. They won’t believe they have a reasonable chance of meeting their numbers, so they’ll be open to competitors whose comp plans may not be as good, but who provide more support for achieving goal.
In the end, it all comes down to channel strategy. Are you following processes and procedures that have been proven to lead to success? In our last post, we shared one intriguing finding from our 2014 Channel Sales Competency Study: Channel managers who committed to planning a strategy for partner development saw a 123 percent increase in partner productivity over the prior year. If your channel managers saw that level of increase in partner productivity, how likely do you think they’d be to leave for a competitor?

Bottom line, channel managers are going to go (or stay) where they see the greatest opportunity for success. By following proven strategies, you can drive performance and decrease channel manager churn.
Last modified on 10/20/2014 1:31:24 PM
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