5 Helpful Tips that will Guide you towards Taking Over the Role of Channel Partner Management
Welcome to channel partner management. Remember the first day of college? Terrifying…right?
An overwhelming cocktail of emotions theoretically smacking you square in the jaw.
Optimism, fear, awkwardness, anticipation, hope, anxiety and arrogance all pulsating through both body and mind like lighting beam of sensations; an out-of-body experience where reality and fantasy became distorted and indistinguishable.
Okay, perhaps it wasn’t quite as dramatic as this—but if you’re anything like me, I’d imagine at least some of this will resonate with you.
The point I’m trying to make is that strange and foreign feeling doesn’t end at college—it merely begins. When you relate it to your professional career—especially for those newly promoted into a channel management position—you probably know exactly what I’m talking about.
If you’re on the cusp of promotion or are new to the high-caliber duty of managing multiple employees and channel partners, here are:
5 helpful tips that will better prepare you for channel partner management
1.) Recognize the transition
Acknowledging that your responsibilities have changed (from a contributor to a manager) may seem obvious, however, making the conscious attempt to think differently will assist in the process. It takes time to adjust to the new role, but you can help accelerate your skill set and efficiency the more proactive you’re during the adjusting phase.
2.) Endure greater expectations with confidence
As a fresh-faced, rosy-cheeked channel manager, all eyes will be on you. From the board of directors to channel partners, from your teammates to end-customers—what you: do, say, refuse, accept, acknowledge or reprimand—the spotlight shines squarely on your shoulders. Your words will be received more seriously. The mistakes you make will be easier to identify. The actions you take will be scrutinized, analyzed and discussed every step of the way. So, be confident and value criticism as fuel to your progression.
3.) Slow down (!) and look both ways before crossing
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment.
Many channel managers make the mistake of “going for big air” right out of the gates; in other words, the pressure of a larger status can give you the false impression that you must accomplish something right away. As a result, you fall flat on your face—intensifying an already delicate situation into something you’re less confident in. Although your heart might be in the right place, your mind isn’t. Slow down. Ask questions. Speak with experts. Don’t pretend that you know everything, or that you must know everything in order to prove your employer right. Efficiency relies on quality, not quantity.
4.) Laws of the road
As a newly appointed channel manager, there may be certain legal and regulatory guidelines you must follow; especially if you work within a business involved in government, international trading, politics, and bidding. Something as mundane as sending gifts to a channel partner or offering a new incentive may result in legal action—putting you in an uncomfortable or potentially risky situation where employment hangs in the balance.
What terminology should you use during partner communication? Are there a certain means of communication that partners discourage? The more you know, the better.
5.) Transparency in reporting
As you step into channel management, your initial reaction may coerce you to focus/report solely on those you are designated to or around you. But, in fact, it should be your obligation to become a source of reference to your entire organization.
From your boss to your partner’s sales team, from internal human resources to your external PR agency team—management reporting should follow a consistent format that is both transparent and unlimited to a designated audience—unless specified otherwise.