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100% Channel Success: The 10 Question Checklist

Updated: Jun 1, 2018

(Speaking Topics for Corporate Events):

Fellow Techies,

Not fair (in this economy) to keep great industry minds a secret...

Here’s my latest take with the CHANNEL community on a crucial topic.

Asuncion Government District, Paraguay

You’re pre-IPO, or a young established company who's realized it now needs an enterprise-class channel strategy to amplify sales. Adding more direct sales people has simply produced predictably-linear revenue growth, so in order to get it moving geometrically, you need the ultimate force multiplier – the Channel.

Still not sure? Just ask yourself – hmmm, should I add a 2nd rep in Philadelphia, or should I invoke the energy of 10,000 more VAR reps out in the IT market place - that is Mr CRO, if I have the guts and wherewithal to interest them with the 6 solid pillars of the World Class channel?

Congratulations – you’re committed externally to the Channel…

Now, are you internally committed - to ensure success so this is not a paper exercise?

Answer these 10 questions and see:

1. Is the C-Staff/Board committed to running 50-75% of new business through the Channel?

a. Inflection point in the organization – there will be blood in your company if your execs are tepid about launching the channel in an org that has been selling direct for 2 years/or a C Staff that has direct-sales DNA only.

2. Will you ensure Compensation Neutrality for your sales team?

a. I didn’t want to upstage the C-Staff (above) but THIS IS the deal breaker! If your sales rep makes $100 on a direct deal, but only $70 on a channel deal, he will never invest any effort in using the channel. <<Done, pack bags and leave>>. The comp for the reps must be seamless and the same for both direct and channel deals.

3. Will you have a position called Channel Marketing?

a. The following necessary channel functions depend on it: Events/Lead gen/Demand gen/MDF. This is all you need to tell that the exec team is vested in àMarketing getting vested in àthe Channel. Get vested or go home.

4. Will you allocate a healthy Channel budget?

a. You gotta spend money to make money. Sorry I didn’t author that, but it rings true. Extend your Sales budget to cover Channel partner events, trade shows, and all the little things that have become tablestakes to break the ice… Get it done.

5. Will Marketing, Sales, and the Channel all report up to the same VP/C-level exec?

a. To properly coordinate the activities of all 3 moving parts, they really need to roll up to the same exec – he will occasionally need to break the tie when necessary.

6. Will you have your Biz Dev/Alliances team work closely with the Channel team?

a. You’ll be lining up those cross-tech vendors, alliance partners, & OEMs with the VARs that sell their products, and need to coordinate with your internal BD & Alliances teams.

7. Will the Channel report into the Sales VP/CRO?

a. The Channel and Sales orgs work hand in hand (and should even have the same revenue target), and will be planning at QBRs, weekly calls, and will be targeting their VARs collaboratively... hence they belong in the same internal org.

8. Will Channel reps be given a quota?

a. The answer should be yes – and furthermore her quota should be the sum of the geo she covers. That way everyone owns the same goals. Channel reps on stale or obtuse MBOs? No! This will sooner or later cause an internal conflict with Sales. Don’t do it.

9. Will you hire a team adequate enough for geo-coverage of the sales teams?

a. You needn’t fill a whole team at once, but an East, Central, & West rep is a good place to start. Build out your teams from there, and add in EMEA, APAC, and LatAm as the biz dictates.

10. Will the Channel VP own the Global team?

a. Ask yourself this question – are you crafting one global strategy, or just starting to throw resources at the channel because it checks the block? North America gets the lion’s share of the effort because it represents 70% of revenue, but our boys across the pond are left to fend for themselves. We need to allow those international teams to share the go-to-market strategy, also aloowing the smart people we put in place overseas to pivot/tweak for regional preferences.

Are we really going to allow ourselves to be deterred by the small inconvenience of 9pm conference calls? Think Global!

Mr. CEO, how did you with the checklist?

If you’ve answered YES to 6 or more of the questions above, you’re (internally) ready to launch your channel.

Just work on the last 4 to reach the promised land.

..stay tuned for Running with the Bulls & Victory where you can get it, coming up next!

Cpt Joe Sacchetti served 2 tours in Iraq, commanding Ranger Scouts in the 82nd Abn & earning the Bronze Star Medal.
Captain Joe Sacchetti served 2 tours in Iraq, commanding Ranger Scouts in the 82nd Abn & earning the Bronze Star Medal.

MIT's Exec Ed program in Strategy & Innovation teaches senior Business Managers to think like Leaders. me @

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