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The Channel Manager’s Roadmap to The First 6 Months on The Job
September 22, 2020

Whether you’re brand new to a company, or are taking a new role at your existing employer, the first six months on the job are critical to building your personal brand. If you crush it, you’ll be able to leverage your success, even if mistakes are made. However, if the first six months are a bumpy road, it can be hard to recover.

The First Thirty Days of Being a Channel Manager

Out of the gate, it’s important to over-deliver on core channel management responsibilities. Figure out how performance will be measured and get explicit metrics and numbers. Meet with managers or C-level leadership to prioritize what is expected within a specified timeframe. This will help you develop sales goals and account plans for prospect accounts and yearly goals.

Along the way, it’s vital to continually increase your knowledge of service offerings. This should be an everyday task—until you master the service and products. How can you motivate your channel if you’re not an expert? This means meeting with product specialists and fellow managers to not only learn your products, but to tap into their experiences and help implement ideas that can make accounts more productive in areas your company has not penetrated.

No matter how small or large, be sure to over-deliver on your first three assignments. Communicate with your channel network. Remember, you are the new guy—so keep their anxiety low by keeping all necessary parties in the loop.

The Next Sixty Days of Being a Channel Manager

After your first month of onboarding and learning the product, it’s time to dive even deeper. When working in channel management, it’s important to review past revenue goals within assigned accounts. Create and study market focus, competitive, and S.W.O.T. analysis.

Over the span of your first three months in the channel manager role, work diligently to establish relationships with stakeholders that will impact your future. Start to develop new relationships and contacts within new and house accounts. As you delve deeper into managerial responsibilities, it’s up to you to identify key decision-makers you need to meet with to continue a seamless integration.

As you begin to manage your channel, it’s important to prepare partner meetings for intros with management and account managers to leverage complete account coverage. Meet with your new team to establish expectations and plan and review weekly and biweekly requirements.

The Next Ninety Days of Being a Channel Manager

By now, you should have at least some understanding of the 90-day opportunities already in the pipeline—and set your own personal expectations. Continue to close opportunities in your pipeline and continue to pursue your own new business activities. Increase your level of contact within accounts and understand exactly how to interface with your channel.   

Over the span of the next months, you should have a strong understanding of your company’s offerings and how to penetrate new areas with existing accounts and grow your business. Perhaps most importantly, however, as a channel manager, is your ability to onboard, train, and retain new reps. In other words, you should have a clear understanding of how to empower your partners.

These days, technology has the ability to better engagement and organization—no matter how long you’ve been at your company. New managers learning the ropes especially can benefit from a partner sales portal. From training new channel partners to tracking their success, these platforms will increase collaboration across your channel, improve sales efficacy, and help you stay organized as you gain confidence in your new channel manager role.

After you’ve got your bearings in your role, it’s important to keep track of partner engagement and your channel success metrics. Here are the KPIs that will tell you if your partners are truly engaged. For tips when hiring a new team member, check out Questions to Ask in Your Next Partner Manager Interview.

*This blog has been updated from November 2016.

Tori Barlow