It’s a Good Time to be a Channel Pro!

Its good to be channel Pro

We have heard some positive news about the economy although the outlook is still a lil muddy.  However it is crystal clear that Channel Chiefs are making aggressive moves.   Companies have made the decision to grow their business through their channel partners because most industries know the best way to deliver their solutions is through loyal, vested, and well-trained business partners that are local to the end-user. Thanks to social media, LMS (Learning Management Systems), PRM technology (Partner Relationship Management), and enhanced ways to motivate the partner sales team through Channel Incentive Programs, companies are finally realizing that channel strategy & channel programs are the most profitable model.

Top Three Indicators of a Channel Economic Rebound:

1.)     Channel Hiring Spree!  Although companies aren’t ready to build up their direct sales forces yet, they are investing in channel pros. We continue to hear about companies like MSFT, Red Hat, Oracle, CISCO, EMC, and NetApp, just to name a few, are hiring for Sr. Channel Leadership positions.

2.)    The leading global channel companies are bulking up their programs.  MSFT says it best in one of their job descriptions: “Microsoft is rapidly developing its incentive programs to support growth across all business segments in SMSG by improving alignment of multi-billion dollar incentive programs with new customer segmentation and sales models.”

3.)    Channel Ecosystems are on the rise – Companies aren’t just saying they are committed to the channel but they creating environments that make their channel partners part of their biology.   Lincoln Smith of HMI Performance Incentives says, “It used to be that companies incentive programs would reward for only behaviors determined by the manufacturer (sales goals, training modules, STTS, etc.), but now our program are rewarding for collaboration or sharing of ideas and best practices through surveys.  These actions are made exciting through incentives and gamification.”.

If you are a Channel Pro it is time to take action and take advantage of these exciting times.  Chances are that your company’s C-Level folks are strategizing on how to creatively capture more mind and market share of the channel partners.  Don’t wait for the increased budget or positions to come to you, make bold recommendations on where and how to invest and create channel loyalty.  If you’re not seeing increased attention or channel priority you might be with the wrong organization.  The good news is that proven channel pros are in high demand!

Check your Channel Marketing Program against the Move the Channel Marketing Guide and RIMES Chart and make some exciting adjustments today.

Enter your name and email address to download Move the Channel Guide and RIMES Chart

Name: Email:

LinkedIn Group collaborates to deliver a very unique Channel Marketing Guides& RIMES Chart.

It wasn’t easy to organize hundreds of ideas from a network of thousands of people from all over the world. But we did it. Move The Channel’s unique Channel Marketing & Sales 1.0 eBook is now available for you to download exclusively on

MTC 1.0 CoverWhat makes 1.0 the first of its kind? As most of you know, this project started over a year ago as a simple discussion in the Move The Channel LinkedIn group. It grew from there to an all-out deluge of ideas from all across the Move The Channel community.

As we began organizing all of the different ideas and channel best practices that were coming our way, distinct categories started to become clear.  These categories are what we now refer to as “RIMES” — Relationships, IT, Marketing & Communications, Enablement, and Sales — and they are what we at Move The Channel consider to be the pillars of any successful channel marketing campaign.

Our goal is to begin to create a line of literature that can be referenced as a valuable tool in the planning and implementation of any channel marketing program. We hope you find this guide to be useful and informative. You can download it right here at

Enter your name and email address to download Move the Channel Guide and RIMES Chart

Name: Email:

Please provide feedback so we can continue to enhance the Guide & Chart. MoveTheChannel 1.0 is the first step in an ongoing line of literature about channel marketing and sales. Our plan with 1.0 is to throw a net around a wide range of industries and promote the basic tools that have been proven to generate success across multiple access points within the channel. Enjoy!
Move the Channel,

Project Logo: Branding your Channel Marketing & Channel Incentives Programs

Today I felt moved to tell you how you can brand your channel marketing programs & events with the highest quality graphic design work at a shockingly affordable price.

I usually don’t blog about specific products or services, but Project Logo is so unique and salient that I felt compelled to share it with the entire Move the Channel community.  Project Logo was very much surprised when I asked if I could mention their name in this post.

project logo

As channel professionals, we work tirelessly to build the perfect partner program. We deliver channel incentives to our partners, provide them with a top notch enablement program, and try to position them to be as successful as possible in their respective markets.

Project Logo is a company and a website, but mainly it is an idea: to provide companies with a polished logo and theme at a cost that won’t break the bank. If you’ve greatly invested in the development of a partner program or event, then don’t you think it should be branded with the same quality as your own organization? After all, your channel activity is still a reflection of your business, is it not?

For a long time, channel marketing departments didn’t have additional budgets for such a branding effort.  To achieve a quality, professional look while incorporating a company’s high standards was a very expensive job.

But then along came Project Logo, offering a cost-effective design strategy for channel-related initiatives. Here’s how it works:

1)      Project Logo streamlines the design process through a 14-question online interview.  (you can view the questionnaire here and answer the questions for free).

2)      After you complete the interview, Project Logo analyzes your answers and develops unique insights into your business.

3)      From there, they begin designing multiple concepts for you to consider, after which you may choose your favorite and request any refinements to it that you may have.

4)      Finally, you will be armed with a logo and theme that can function in any newsletter, partner portal, or reward program.

If nothing else, you will find great value in simply going through the interview process (unbelievably, this is a free part of the service).

With as much effort, thought, and resources that often go into marketing your channel programs and events, it just makes sense to go the extra mile. Think about bringing a fresh look to your idea by branding and framing it in the light that it deserves. And make sure you’re doing it for the right price, too.

Does your channel marketing program brand and logo appropriately represent your efforts and the investments made into the program?

Channel Conduit of the Week: Get the Award Right

Channel Conduit of the Week

  • Small gestures that make big impacts on channel behavior
  • Commonsense reminders that make the difference b/t you and your competition
  • Elements that should be considered in a Channel Incentive Programs

Channel Conduit 7:  Get the Award Right

Q.)  When is a toothbrush an appropriate award for closing big deals and shift share?  A.) When the participant picks that award.

Stick with me here. The first impactful reward program I ever participated in was the Kodak Rewards Program. When I say impactful, I mean it actually made me focus on selling Kodak and caused me to actively recommend Kodak over similar or equal products. As a result I earned many Kodak Points that I could spend on a few hundred different merchandise items. I ordered a few items including an iPod, Canon Camera, and even a TV. But the one that probably left the most lasting impression was a toothbrush. Yes, a toothbrush. I’m probably dating myself now, but this was when Oral B had just come out with the dentist recommended electric toothbrush. I would have eventually gotten around to buying an electric toothbrush regardless, but I certainly wouldn’t have been on the cutting edge of mouth hygiene. The OB Electric Toothbrush changed everything. I remember the enjoyment of brushing my teeth, of looking in the mirror and thinking, “Thank You, Kodak. Thank You, Kodak….”.




If Kodak had given me cash, would I be telling you about the Kodak Reward Program today? Would I even remember what I had spent it on? Would I have spent it on something as cool as a toothbrush? No, I would have probably taken it to the grocery store or something. See, you can pick great rewards for program participants depending on their demographic. Usually a group trip reward or individual experience rewards are can’t-miss, and have both an immediate effect and terrific staying power. But by far the best reward of all is the one that your participants pick for themselves. So give them lots of choices and you will be on the right track.

What are some of your favorite rewards from Rewards Programs?

IBM Loves Its Channel–And It Shows

Sports FansEarlier this week I talked about how companies that have continued to invest in their channel despite the down economy have wisely adopted a big-picture attitude in the face of potential cost-cutting decisions. I’d like to point to IBM as one example of a company who has evolved into a leader of channel dynamics, the very same dynamics that are promoted daily here at Move The Channel.

A recent article published by Larry Walsh in the portal Channelnomics discusses how IBM has begun to establish itself as a forerunner of holistic channel behavior. Despite its stature in the tech world, the company felt it could maximize its value in the channel more completely as a component player rather than as a one-stop solution. As Walsh remarks, “IBM sees value in driving business to solution providers who won’t necessary lead with the IBM brand.” He continues, “As the theory goes, IBM will gain sales if it [is] providing marketing support, lead generation and technical solutions to business partners who develop solutions based on IBM’s technologies.”  This all-for-one, one-for-all channel strategy has allowed IBM to establish valuable, intrinsic bonds with its partners, and helped contribute to the overall evolution of the business.  It must be tough as a leading innovator to accept the fact that conventional technology and cloud services will quickly become a commodity.  Since its products are a component, they have wisely found partners that specialize, overlap, and provide complimentary solutions built on an IBM platform. And with this approach they have added new incentives, certifications, technologies and marketing programs that continue to enable their partners to grow their businesses, to the benefit of all. As Walsh concludes, “the more business partners grow, the more they’ll consume IBM products.”

This is the new foundation for IBM’s channel strategy, along with its more than 130,000 business partners worldwide. Think they might be onto something?

Investing in your Channel in Tough Economic Times is Smart Business

Channel Conduit 2

In a down economy, a company’s first instinct is to cut back. And the “soft side” of business – including channel incentive programs – is often the first to be slashed.

But when you cut your incentive programs, you are sacrificing your future and missing a HUGE opportunity.

The fact is in a tough economy there is an amazing opportunity to build immense loyalty with the channel.  Profits aren’t where they were three years ago for anyone.  But your channel marketing rebate and marketing Development funds have helped your channel partners stay afloat.  (And it’s why they’ll still be devoted when things improve.)  Your partner’s sales people’s compensation is down about 20%.  (Think how much more those rewards means to them today)

That’s why more and more companies are choosing to step up channel incentive strategies in the tough times, rather than stepping away from it.  The ones that stepped up their channel incentive programs 5 years ago have taken market share and increased loyalty.  I’m not saying it’s too late.  It’s never too late to invest in your channel wisely.

Remember channel incentive aren’t soft, they’re smart.

%d bloggers like this: