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Navigating Through Job Responsibilities

Recently I had cause to reflect on those who have to navigate their way through job responsibilities on a day-to-day basis.  Channels jobs, in particular, can be nebulous, especially when delineating between sales and marketing functions. 

So here are five tips to ensure your channels resources get to end-of-job with minimal distraction:

1.  BEGIN WITH THE DESTINATION. Forget the title and determine what is the end game, or objectives, for each discrete channel role on a quarterly basis. Channel sales people are incented typically to achieve a revenue goal, but others may be chartered with recruiting and/or onboarding new partners.  Be clear about what defines and delineates the various channel roles, be it sales, partner marketing, channel operations, strategy, or program development.

2.  CREATE THE MAP.  Once you’ve defined the end game, work backwards to define the day-to-day activities and initiatives that will ensure the destination is reached. Most people agree that the end game for a channel sales manager is revenue, but activities which drive revenue, like effective account management and ensuring partners are well-known to the sales force may be overlooked.  Again, this means that your channel sales team may not be just incented to hit a sales target number, but may have some qualitative objectives to achieve on a regular basis. Like going on a trip, there will be various ways to reach your destination, how you get there will be different for each role.

3.  PAUSE TO CHECK PROGRESS AND RECALIBRATE ON A REGULAR BASIS. Don’t wait until the end of the quarter to see how your channels team is mapping to their objectives. Develop a regular cadence of checkpoints to understand and remove obstacles that take respective channels people off course. This feels contrary to many “run fast” company cultures, but ultimately, saves time and dollars from the discovery of a wrong turn too late in the game.

4.  ASK FOR DIRECTIONS. Yes, I know this is not in the DNA make-up for some of you, but in the spirit of operating a nimble, responsive channels team, sometimes asking your partners and/or product management for their two cents about the most effective route to market pays dividends.  Not only does asking for input result in new ideas on occasion, it maximizes the chances that your constituents are vested and on-board with your plans.

5.  LIVE AND LEARN. Some find the idea of a quarterly regroup and/or frequent checkpoints on objectives too cumbersome or time-consuming, and they certainly can be if they turn into all day meetings for which hours are spent preparing the Powerpoint.  Instead, consider a meeting for which each team member comes prepared to list the top three things they did right and on what they would like to improve for the next quarter.  Reflecting to learn does not have to be painful.

Which of the above do you need to implement to ensure your channels team is not directionally challenged and can traverse effortlessly through the coming 2014 fall planning season?

September 10, 2013  ·  

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