When it comes to accessing your own business acumen, ask yourself these questions. Can you see around corners, tease out insights from a spreadsheet or dissect a PowerPoint presentation for structural flaws? How about breaking down an industry report and extracting new understandings that others miss? You’ll have to do these and more effectively to lead in the channel. Working with partners requires:
- A data-driven mindset and the ability to think broadly and clearly at scale.
- An understanding not only of sales models, but also marketing, customer experiences, social media, partner satisfaction and macroeconomics.
- An understanding of the dynamics of partner recruitment, recognition and reward.
- An ability to master more than your employer’s economics; you also have to immerse yourself in your partners’ finances no matter their size, focus or territory.
In addition to those skills, you’ll also need an ability to understand international business and regulations. For example, establishing a sales office and business entity in some countries is all you need to recruit and engage partners. In others, it’s merely a first step. In a significant portion of the world, you’ll have to master not just partner but government relations. And how you sell, reward and retain partners will require a vast amount of business acumen and cultural savvy. Partners in the some regions do not like entering information into Partner Resource Management (PRM) systems unless its triply verified. In other regions… things are more casual.
What does business acumen look like in action. In one instance a few years ago, an up-and-coming channel chief took a job for a company that, out of almost nowhere, zoomed to the top of key tech market. The company’s products were ideally suited to indirect sales and provided partners with lucrative after market opportunities. It literally was a “razor-and-blades” business for a moment in time. At the height of the company’s success, however, the channel chief sensed something was amiss. Product failures were growing and price commoditization, which negatively impacted partner margins, was rampant. When another vendor offered the bright young executive a job, he accepted it with mixed emotions. While he adored the people he worked with, he recognized that his employer’s technology was optimized for an era that was quickly coming to an end. His business acumen saved his career, in other words. At his next assignment, the same channel chief relied on his business acumen to secure greater funding and technological support for his company’s business partners.
To be a world-class channel chief, in other words, you must become develop a word-class mind for business. Think of it as though you were pursuing a Masters in Partner Administration or MPA.
This post is an excerpt from our new free eBook. Learn whether you have more of the element of what it takes to be a top channel chief in The Nine Attributes of a World-Class Channel Chief, authored by T.C. Doyle, Senior Content Director, Channel Brands, Penton Technology.