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Channel Skills - Long ignored but not any more!

This morning’s Podcast of choice was Channel Journeys, created by Rob Spee.

Rob interviews Mike Kelly, Founder of Channel Institute and he explains how he founded the Institute after recognising that there is no formal, industry training or accreditation for Channel Managers.

I completely agree with Mike’s observations. It’s something that I saw whilst a BU Leader in Distribution and then as a Channel Consultant, into some of the most recognisable vendor brands.

There are vendor, and independent accreditations for sales people, but we’ve seen instances in some vendors where ‘the channel’ suffers from younger sibling syndrome, recruiting sales people not chosen for top of the pyramid, direct sales roles.

It can then be a case of sink or swim. The lucky ones either receive internal ‘partner training’, stumble across a great mentor, or are handed a set of partners who are motivated enough to hit the PAM’s target with, or without them.

With that in mind, I think an independent, industry recognised qualification is a great idea and I hope it gets enough interest to succeed. Mike has certainly built up an impressive list of advisers on the Industry Advisory Council.

My observations, in relation to the podcast discussion and the training content, is that Distribution MUST be considered / engaged, in at least two areas..

  • Channel and Marketing training for Vendors needs to cover 'how to motivate VAD’s'. This knowledge is sorely lacking in many Vendors. They have a great value proposition for end users, and may have one for Channel Partners, but why would a Distributor want to market or sell their solutions and how will they get them to focus on you, when they have another 50 vendors in their kit bag?
  • Vendors may have a handful of Channel PAM’s or PBM’s in each country, but Distributors will have dozens in the guise of Partner Account Managers or Product BDM's. These folk are essential for the success of channel initiatives, and also need to be able to get involved in Partner Strategy, Sales Motivation, Marketing Strategy & Tools. I’ve never worked for a vendor, but speaking to colleagues who have worked for VAD’s and Vendors, it’s a very different experience and pace of life, so the training content and perhaps IAC should reflect that. The VAD's HR Department should certainly be looking at the training provided by Channel Institute, to see if it's a good fit for their team and their organisation.

To access Rob’s Podcast, Channel Journeys:

On iTunes

On Android

Good Luck Mike, I hope the Institute is a success!

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