You have a challenging role, balancing the needs of your employer with the goals of the partners you manage. Getting that right can lead to fantastic mutual success, however, get it wrong, and there can be a dramatic drop off in revenues from the partner.
How can a vendor help support the channel account manager in growing wallet share? Traditionally it is achieved with a programmatic approach in the vendor's Partner Program; discount thresholds based on revenue attainments and depth of expertise. The program is supplemented with incentives or rebates based on short-term performance goals. All good, but in my experience, complex to administer, and do not necessarily affect the sales strategy of the partner's salesperson.
One favourite tactical activity worked on is a Call Out Day. Get everyone together in a room and bash the phones. The actual success in lead generation is limited, but from a team building exercise with a few beers afterwards, it has a place. However, it's not possible to have a call out day every day, and the success of which is diminishing week after week. So what is the alternative for a channel account manager to help generate mutual opportunities?
Social is an ideal mechanism to help achieve these goals. CAM's are ideally placed to curate content, develop thought leadership and inspire their partners for greater social selling engagement. Without relying on corporately generated marketing material, a Channel Account Manager can take the initiative and help inspire their partners to become more socially active thus enabling them to become more self-sufficient inbound lead generation.
Research in 2018 shows that social sellers attract 45% more opportunities than their peers, are 51% more likely to achieve quotas, and outsell their non-social counterparts 78% of the time. (LinkedIn).
As a kick start to social selling for a channel account manager the following are a selection of ideas that will assist in developing a collaborative social engagement with partners:
- Rewrite your own Linkedin profile to read why rather than what. Follow the partner's corporate Linkedin/Twitter and other social media pages.
- Connect with everyone in the partner who is on Linkedin/Twitter.Read through their profile on Linkedin and think about how you can help them succeed.
- Comment and share the posts made by the individuals within your partner community.
- Personalise and comment on the content shared by your company, and bring your partners into the discussion on Linkedin.
- Work with the sales teams within the partners using their customer experiences combined with your resources to turn these into short blogs. They don't need to be a full press release, just a pithy, what was learned message that helps build trust and understanding.
- Provide adequate resources and funding for partner's social selling enablement.If the partner sales team do not have Sales Navigator licenses, then create a business case to fund purchases through Marketing Development Funds.
- If they do have them, but lacking the skills to make it a useful prospecting tool, then divert MDF to a training course for the partner.
If your partners aren't social selling, then they seriously risk losing out to other partners and vendors. As a channel account manager, you can help empower the salespeople within your partners, help them sell more and become experts to their prospects.
You are in a great position to lead the way on social by helping your partners to become self-sufficient lead generating machine, so make it happen.
It was the Partner here, that when they got the leads and meetings, that they had that “a ha!” moment. They then realised that if they took the process and scaled it out, they would get more leads and meetings. Programatic Social Selling is after all a process, crank the handle faster, you get more leads and meetings. Plus based on the fact you are great at execution, you will get more and more closed deals. But, but, but, without that empowered “a ha” why would you even bother?