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Be Precise In Your Channel Job Description

LinkedIn claims over 100 million registered users and, apparently, over seven million of them are within three degrees of me!  While I’m impressed with the social networking concept and the small world phenomenon on which it’s built, I have to wonder “Who are all these people?”

If I want to find people that are working in a channel or partner marketing role, I merely type in the term and, within seconds, I have a rather impressive list of folks that match that criteria. Unfortunately, what I don’t know—unless I crawl through the profile of each person—is what that person did as a channel or partner marketing professional. And let’s face it, there’s something about adding the word “channel” or “partner” that makes the job of finding candidates particularly confounding.

As channel specialists, we receive requests often from people asking for job descriptions or referrals to channel and partner marketing professionals. What’s tricky, however, is identifying what specific function the company wants this candidate to perform so we can provide suitable tools and referrals.

The job of managing channels and partners can largely be broken down into five distinct functions:

1) Channel Strategy & Program Development
Typically, this is a senior role, working with the company’s product groups to determine which channels will best reach which markets (and how to engage those channels to do so). It’s a crucial job: helping the company package its channel business proposition(s) and engaging with product marketing to prepare products/services for channels.

2) Channel Marketing
An outward-facing role, this job requires demand generation and field program development skills. Channel marketing people tend to travel a lot. They work with their sales counterparts to build and execute partner marketing plans in line with the company’s product roadmap and objectives.

3) Channel Communications
This function may reside in the channels group, or be part of marketing communications. This function is all about consistent, high-value partner communications, be it newsletters, portals, conferences, or forums.

4) Channel Operations
You guessed it—this is where terms and conditions, pricing exceptions, incentive programs and other operational minutia are managed.

5) Channel Sales or Management
The seasoned channel salesperson focuses a lot on building a strong partner relationship. The successful candidate is an “orchestrator of resources,” which are brought together to help the partner grow. Further, there may be different functions within the channel sales team, such as partner recruitment or enablement.

Ultimately, the size of the company, product complexity, and breadth of partner operations determine the degree to which you can specialize, but it’s important to recognize that one person cannot typically deliver all of these functions well. The more precise you are in your channel job description about what you need, the better the results and the happier the newly recruited employee will be.

Is it time to reassess and define your channel job description?

October 20, 2011  ·  

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