Only organizations knew how to find the most capable and dedicated marketing
Channel Strategy Consultants
USA - EUROPE - AUSTRALIA - BRAZIL - HONG KONG
for finding the best channel partners
Marketing channel performance is governed by two key variables: having
the best channel partners and the channel system employed. While channel
system design focuses on the trade-off among channel cost, control and
coverage, channel partner effectiveness relies upon the capability, dedication
and performance of each channel partner.
Although channel partner selection is critical to channel performance,
it is commonly treated as an afterthought. As a result, channel partner
selection is commonly under-resourced, under supported and delegated to
front line area managers or a specialist channel development group.
All channel organisations should aim to secure an unfair share of the
available talent pool, thus forcing competition to settle for second best
channel partners. Having the best channel partners ensures that long-term
performance is maximized within the constraints of a particular channel
system. Both short-term performance improvement and long-term competitive
advantage is achievable through selecting and keeping an industry's best
Tip One - Maximise the channel partner prospect pool
Channel partners should be recruited from the widest possible candidate
pool. Too many organisations recycle an industry's channel partners or
share multi-brand channel partners due to an over-reliance on industry
experience. To widen the net, develop a channel partner profile which
distinguishes among channel partner must have, should have and nice to
have skills and experience requirements.
Tip Two - Appoint a multi-discipline selection team
Channel partner criteria should cover partner capability, partner motivation
and partner fit.
The assessment team should
include local and overall network management and specialist assistance as
required. Area Managers offer valuable local insight and should establish
a foundation for a long-term relationship during the recruitment process.
Strategic sales, marketing and/or business development managers drive the
company's marketing channel strategy and need to assess partners' alignment
with the company's strategic and tactical goals. Executive management drives
the corporate culture with which the partner must be comfortable. Functional
specialists offer depth of knowledge in critical success areas such as human
resources, engineering, logistics and marketing.
must be able to deliver the company's current and future customer
must have long-term motivation to deliver the company's customer
value proposition. Financial rewards are short term motivators,
but exploration and development of business valuation and succession
planning issues will provide long-term insight.
must be willing to become part of a network working to maximise
overall business performance for all stakeholders.
Tip Three - Employ a comprehensive set of evaluation criteria
It's easy to appoint
a clearly superior candidate, but as channel partnerships and locations
become more desirable (and thus more strategically important) a number
of excellent candidates may be available. With a choice of channel partners,
a comprehensive selection criteria that is summarised into meaningful
groups and tailored to the location is the key. Channel partners are a
company's front line and often a major criterion in judging the company.
Assessment criteria should include areas such as: business instincts (street
smarts), operational discipline, management skills, financial decision
making, leadership, understanding of and focus on customer satisfaction
issues, a long term commitment to the channel partner's and the company's
business, fit with corporate culture, fit with the level of channel management
control and an individual assessment of the channel partner's key business
Tip Four - Customize evaluation criteria to a specific location
Markets vary according to the competitive landscape. Even within the same
network, individual evaluation criteria should be weighted according to
a location's business needs. For example, many companies employ specialist
staff teams or channel partners to establish green-field sites. Similarly,
a business mix may vary across geographic regions and should be reflected
in channel partner assessment criteria.
Tip Five - Candidate performance prediction
Channel partner assessment aims to predict candidates' likely performance.
By employing a range of assessment forums, communication mediums and assessment
criteria a partner's future performance becomes more predictable and developmental
needs are highlighted. Past performance is the best predictor of future
performance. The insight gained from in depth interviewing is especially
valuable when assessing new-to-industry and new-to-role candidates.
Tip Six - Adopt a selection by rejection philosophy
Positive skills and experiences are easy to find, but a robust recruitment
program should aim to uncover positive and negative traits. By
adopting a selection by rejection approach throughout the recruitment
process, candidates with serious capability, motivation or fit flaws can
be red flagged and progressively eliminated.
Tip Seven - Adopt a professional management approach
The recruitment process gives prospective channel partners a first taste
of the future relationship and should be used to make a strong first impression.
It is imperative that the professionalism shown during recruitment reflects
the professionalism to be experienced during the ongoing relationship.
Often a series of recruitment projects are taking place simultaneously.
Each of these must be professionally managed. First establish a time-scale
expectation - monitor and adhere to it. Second, momentum should be consistent
throughout the process. Adopt processes, systems and tools to ensure the
task is well managed so that the relationship starts positively.
Although channel partner recruitment isn't rocket science, it requires
a professional and robust process managed with discipline and shared ownership.
Poor recruitment results can last a very long time and ultimately lead
to expensive legal and commercial costs. and, worst of all, can tie up
scarce resources and de-motivate an entire distribution channel. Simply,
channel partner recruitment must be treated with the respect that is due
as an integral marketing key success factor.
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