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We don’t need to tell you how important it is to hire the right channel sales manager. After all, this person will ultimately wear many hats as they manage relationships with resources both inside and outside of the organization. What we do need to tell you is that there are ways to optimize your job description to fast-track the search for your ideal candidate.
The introduction of channel automation calls for a pivot in the proficiencies required to succeed. For instance, previous manager job descriptions’ emphasis on multitasking and juggling various partners is no longer as important. The right technology, applied in the right way, will streamline responsibilities so that channel managers can work smarter (not harder) and improve the partner experience in the process.
Gone are the days of sitting behind a desk crowded to the ceiling with paperwork. With the shift into technology-driven workspaces, managers can reach desired outcomes faster and with a lot less stress.
Prioritize the below when crafting the channel manager job description and assessing the pros and cons of candidates.
Update 1: Proficient in Channel Automation
First and foremost, having a lot of responsibilities doesn’t mean that managers need to constantly overwork. If someone can stay ahead of potential speed bumps, long hours are seldom required.
Channel managers need to grow proficiency with technologies they can leverage to identify priorities and increase productivity while satisfying the needs of a diverse partner base. Having systems in place so partners can independently function on day-to-day tasks allows your team to more acutely address bigger picture concerns. Better yet, they can spend more time proactively strategizing with partners around opportunities that grow both businesses.
Before: Channel managers should be able to keep personal tabs on each various partner.
After: Channel managers should be proficient in channel automation to optimize output while effectively managing partners.
Update 2: Well-Versed in Content Marketing
Without effective content marketing, channel partners will disengage and it can be tough to wake up sleepy partners.
The payoff can be huge if you can get your channel teams’ marketing and selling tactics to align with your corporate and direct teams. Prospects also benefit since it will be easier for them to access the information they need to make educated buying decisions.
When creating the channel manager job description, give priority to candidates with experience creating content marketing campaigns and interpreting data. Your ideal hire should demonstrate creativity, a natural instinct for upcoming mediums, and proficiency with collecting key engagement metrics to refine future strategies.
Channel managers need to understand how to pull and share content from your in-house team. They also need to see opportunities to collaborate with partners on new content that can equally benefit both organizations. The right technology makes it simple to distribute targeted content that applies to specific partner groups’ needs and current prospecting efforts. Make sure you’re placing such power into the hands of someone who can make the most of it!
Before: Channel managers should be able to maintain a content library.
After: Channel managers should strategically utilize technology to help partners leverage content marketing initiatives, as well as interpret KPIs to measure success and improve tactics.
Update 3: Able to Form Meaningful Working Relationships with Channel Partners
Meaningful partnerships are relational, not transactional. Your new channel manager hire should ensure that every partner interaction makes them feel individually valued.
This requires an appreciation not just of your product offerings, but also of their business. Understanding partner business models will help channel managers determine how both teams can fruitfully work together. Moreover, they can gather specific partners’ tracked content engagement and registrations to help identify their particular strengths and weaknesses.
Learning how to use technology effectively is one item to have in your skillset, but being able to communicate effectively with your channel partners is equally important. Therefore, make sure not to brush over “people skills” when creating your channel manager job description and reviewing applicants. When interviewing, ask candidates about how they might handle disgruntled partners, deescalate channel conflicts, or keep valued partners further engaged.
Before: Channel managers should build and manage partnerships.
After: Channel managers should cultivate meaningful relationships with partners by understanding their individual goals and helping to find mutually beneficial solutions.
Update 4: Flexible and Fluid When Using New Technology
As should be made clear by the other suggested updates to your job descriptions, channel managers need to be adaptable when technology requires it.
This doesn’t mean the channel manager job description should require them to jump ship every time a new piece of software comes on to the market. But it does mean that they should be ready to learn how to use new platforms. And how to operate additional functionality when your existing software adds another feature.
Chances are, the new technology will make their role easier over time by streamlining responsibilities and increasing their effectiveness. What’s more, your channel manager should stay abreast of new industry developments so they can make educated recommendations for new software.
Before: Channel managers should know how to use X tool proficiently.
After: Channel managers should be able to actively assess emerging technologies and how to leverage them for their own program success.
Update 5: Analytical and Data-Driven
The evolution of analytical tools shows no sign of slowing anytime soon, including those available through your PRM. However, available KPIs—conversion rates, portal logins, sales enable content utilization, etc.—are useless without meaning.
Write your job description to appeal to channel manager candidates who thirst to understand their partners and sales funnels through the language of data. They should bring fresh ideas on how to segment partner types, assess content effectiveness, identify sources of attrition, and other metric-driven observations. When your portal places such capabilities at their fingertips, you want a channel manager who will make the most of it.
Before: Well-versed in industry best practices
After: Channel managers should be highly analytical, able to extract meaning from data and refine strategies accordingly.
Sample Channel Manager Job Description
A good job description should highlight what makes the role and company culture unique (ideally, your listing should stand out amongst a sea of listings). However, you can use the following as the foundation for crafting your own description:
[Insert name of company] seeks a Channel Manager to nurture new and existing relationships with sales partners, as well as leverage data and industry knowledge to refine management processes and sales strategies. By scaling our program, spearheading tactical partnerships, and maximizing cost- and time-efficiencies, the manager will strengthen our brand presence amongst new audiences and help grow revenue.
- Cultivate meaningful relationships with partners by understanding their individual goals and helping to find mutually beneficial solutions
- Recruit new partners, shaping a robust channel ecosystem that enables [insert company name] to enter new sectors and pursue new revenue opportunities
- Strategically utilize technology to help partners leverage content marketing initiatives, as well as interpret KPIs to measure success and improve tactics
- Actively assess emerging technologies and how to leverage them for our own program’s success
- Collaborate with Direct Sales, Marketing and Legal, internally advocating for partners training and content needs to improve performance and program retention
- Ensure partner conduct is consistent with [insert company name] brand, values, and compliance guidelines
- Stay abreast of industry trends and new practices to enhance program processes and maintain overall competitiveness within the marketplace
- Develop and execute partner engagement strategies to drive revenue
- Educate partners on new product offerings, promotions, and product updates
- A Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Sales, or related field
- [insert years] of experience in partner management with a proven track record of success
- Proficient in channel automation to optimize output while effectively managing partners
- Highly analytical, able to extract meaning from data and refine strategies accordingly
- Comfortable collaborating with cross-functional teams to forecast sales, refine marketing and sales strategies, and presenting business plans to leadership
- Emotional intelligence (EQ), required for productively communicating with different personalities to build and uphold partner relationships
- Natural curiosity about new marketing and growth strategies (and supporting technologies)