As a vendor, you pride yourself on the lanes of distribution you’ve built in the channel. But a factor that vendors often overlook is their ongoing relationships with current partners. While you may meet contractual obligations with a courteous demeanor, are you genuinely understanding your partners and their needs? Doing so may unlock further business potential. In this blog, we’ll help you walk a mile in your partner’s shoes by becoming an evolved channel account manager (CAM) and talk about what you need to know to understand their world better.
To support your partners, you must improve your role as a channel account manager. A great CAM is a jack-of-all-trades who is part private investigator and part problem solver, all while being fully versed in integrated sales and marketing methodology and tactics. This means you leverage your knowledge and skills to find the right answers that fix problems. To do this, it is a must for you to become familiar with your partner’s world.
What CAMs Look For
Like your own company, your partner’s company has many unique needs and aspirations with a plan to deal with both of them in today’s channel. To better help them meet theirs, you need to use your CAM skills to examine their unique attributes. These attributes include:
- Business Plans
- Organizational Structures
- Ways of Making Money
- Talent Challenges
- Demand Generation Pain Points
A CAM comes to understand their client’s business plans by first building a rapport with them. This is what breaks down any barriers and gives them the confidence in you to share their current goals, pain points and ideas on how to address them. As a CAM, you must take into account your experience and knowledge of the channel to provide your partners with the most refined version of their plan possible.
While the business plan is the execution, the structure of your partner’s company is the arrangement of rules and parts that follow the execution. A CAM’s responsibility is to determine if each component and the conditions it adheres to are the best fit for the company. Any that are not performing to their fullest potential should be improved, removed or supported with additional parts that were not present beforehand.
Ways of Making Money
That’s what business is all about, right? CAMs must be on the lookout for opportunities that are being ignored, missed or a threat to the partner’s success. This falls back on your private investigator and problem-solving skills, all reliant on your expert knowledge.
Employees are the operators of the moving parts who are guided by the business plan, held together by the structure while trying to make that profit. Skilled team members can make or break the success of any company, and as a CAM, you must recognize both talent and a lack thereof. You can recommend trainings, seminars and other educational programs to overcome any shortcomings. But if a weak link is about to break, you need to bring it to your partner’s attention.
Demand Generation Pain Points
While you’re helping your partner build a better situation internally, you should also be considering their client-facing efforts. After all, if they’re carrying or using your products and services, their success is reflective upon you. A CAM knows the channel and what competitors do to stand out in it. You must take that knowledge and quantify it with your partner’s unique selling points to make them stand out in the channel.
Being the CAM your partner needs begins with fostering a relationship, but as with any relationship, it takes effort and care to grow over time. To see how this relationship improves, set goals or mile markers on things you want to accomplish with your partner. This way, you can see your progress and understand how and why things worked out or went astray. If you want a partner to help you become the best CAM you can be, get in touch with Marketopia today and see how we can help you meet your goals.
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