What Makes a Channel Account Manger Effective? [Part One]
Just last week, SiriusDecisions published a report, 7 Habits of Highly Effective Channel Account Managers. The report set out to answer “what behaviors set a high-performing CAM apart from his or her under-performing peers”. In my opinion, the most important take away from this report is centered around habit #4, “they set shared goals and plans with their partners”.
Goals between vendors and resellers need to be mutually beneficial. Too often we see that vendors set goals based on product revenue that may or may not be aligned to the partner’s core business. The vendor can’t understand why the partner is not hitting that goal, but doesn’t look at the misalignment problem.
When you preface this “habit” with alignment of a vendor’s products/services with a partner’s business model—well, now you have a strategy that supports both the vendor and the partner long term. But what most often happens is the CAM sets partner goals that are revenue-only and/or margin-only focused without consideration for the partner’s business model, in which case the partner becomes really nothing more than a delivery vehicle as his relationships are now built on demand only—the customer demands and the partner delivers. When the vendor’s products/services are in high demand this makes good sense; but most vendors are seeking partners that will drive new business for them. Integration into the partner’s business model is the key.
The report goes on to say that highly successfully CAMs “identify and focus on their highest revenue potential partners.” Habit #3 in the list. I couldn’t agree more. In order for a CAM to make their commission they need to figure out which partners can deliver the sales needed to accomplish that goal. That’s why BizTech Enablement Group has an entire program dedicated to the development of the CAM strategy, based on what can be effectively managed in order to achieve revenue goals. This best practices training for CAMs enables value-based interactions with partners to maximize their success. Contact Stan to learn more.
Finally, habit #5 in the report says that top performing CAMs “make knowledge transfer a top priority”. This aligns with Covey’s “sharpen the saw” habit. Vendors who ensure that partners are aware of programs, tools and resources available, and enable and perform partner training and certification are most successful. I would go a step further and say that the CAM needs to be that expert source of knowledge not only on his/her own products and services, but on those of the competition as well. Every partner I’ve ever worked with says they can’t stand it when they email a question to their vendor about a competitor and the CAM sends a link to that vendor’s website. CAMs, listen up—take a few minutes to make your answer thoughtful and impactful for the partner and add the link as an additional reference!
There are a few things in the report that I don’t completely agree with. Read that post here.