Five critical questions every channel chief should ask him/herself

Managing global channels for a technology business is a tough challenge. Your CEO may be questioning the value of indirect sales channels. Your CFO wants to know why nobody can provide accurate Analytics related to channel spend ROI. The product teams want to know what you have done for them lately. The Regions want more authority over channel programs and finally, channel partners complain about the lack of demand and profitability and how difficult your company is to do business with.

Just another day in the life of a channel chief. Your position represents a difficult balancing act between internal (company) priorities and meeting the demands of channel partners.

In an environment that constantly demands your attention – putting out fires and taking care of real (or imagined) emergencies – it is easy to lose sight of what we often refer to as the “Five Critical Channel Success Factors”.

Asking yourself the following questions – and honestly assessing the answers (to determine “current state”) will help you prioritize the critical actions you and your channel team must take to ensure that you are on the path to channel success.

  1. Do I have the right partners in my channel ecosystem?
  2. How does my company rank in my partners’ ecosystem?
  3. Do I offer them a compelling value proposition (profitability, tools, and enablement programs)?
  4. Is my company easy to do business with?
  5. Do we practice data driven channel management?

We recommend that channel chiefs “take stock” by score carding the answers at a high level to see where they stand today to help prioritize channel strategies and tactics to improve areas of poor performance.  Then score the answers again six months from now and a year from now to gauge how much progress has been made in each area and to course correct where necessary.

Stay tuned. In subsequent blogs we’ll define each of these critical Channel Success Factors and determine how to score them using quantitative and qualitative measures.