Archives for May 2014

Your Channel Marketing Program: If you can’t explain it simply,….


…you don’t understand it well enough. And your channel partners understand your programs even less than you. I have seen Channel Program Brochures that are 10 pages long, and presentation Channel Program overviews that are more than 40 slides.

We often get so involved in delivering MORE resources and MORE benefits, that we get trapped into thinking MORE is always better. It can be—to a point. Usually more resources and more benefits are a positive, but if your program needs a map and compass just to navigate through it, chances are you’ve overdone it.

Move the Channel has developed a Channel Marketing Guide & R.I.M.E.S chart. Don’t be trapped into thinking that you need to employ every one of the bullet points in your channel marketing program. Rather, consider the few that would be most impactful for your business and the relationship you have with your channel partners.

Download your MTC Channel Marketing Guide and RIMES Chart here:

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Move the Channel,


The Worst thing you can do for your Channel Partners

mature-ecosystem-low-resYour Channel Distribution Partners have always been an important part of your business. Today we know more than ever we have understanding and insights into our distribution that enable to be a better partner. However, the more we understand the channel network, the more we realize how complex the channel ecosystem really is. It is easy to get lost and lose significance in such a complex ecosystem. However, we also know that with complexity comes great opportunity.

This points to a deeper question: Are you a positive influence on your channel ecosystem, causing it to thrive or are you passively watching the ecosystem fluctuate? If your channel marketing engagement and incentive programs look the same or similar as they did 5 or even 2 years ago, YOU are watching…. Not influencing.

I see it time and time again: A manufacturer feels like they have reached their initial channel marketing goals, and decides that they no longer want or need to push the envelope to get the most out of their channel. What begins as a goal-oriented strategy that’s based on growth and progress eventually seems to plateau into what is comfortable, familiar, and relatively risk-averse.

But make no mistake: I believe this is the WORST thing you can do for your channel partners, which is to say keep doing what you’re doing.

But we are recognized by CRN as having a five star program—why should we change?”


We have worked hard to offer our channel a partner portal, marketing resources, field resources, as well as some of the best benefits in the industry—why should we rock the boat?

An effective channel marketing program should be a journey, not a destination. The moment you decide that your program has “made it” is the moment it starts to become stale.

Are you bringing new talent into your channel organization that includes fresh ideas and a unique perspective?  Are you working with new (or at least new to you) leading vendors who bring upgraded best practices and ways to engage the channel?

As always, send me a note with ideas or to discuss further.

Move the Channel,



Dear Channel Sales Rep,

Anthonoy Iannarino Coaching

The letter below and many of the concepts included in it are borrowed from Anthony Iannarino’ weekly newsletter. Of course I spun it into a letter that could be directed to your channel sales force and injected it with some Move the Channel vernacular.

Anthony is a sales coach for hire, and one of the best Keynote speakers I have ever seen. I usually start my morning by reading Anthony’s blog, and I never miss his weekly newsletter. If you are a Channel Sales Leader, you and your sales force should make The Sales Blog part of your weekly diet too.


Dear Channel Sales Rep,

If you are going to sell successfully with your channel partner, you can’t be “just a salesperson,” or “just a vendor.” You need to be someone with the business acumen and situational knowledge that can help your partner grow their business while also growing your own.

What sort of business acumen do you possess? As someone who’s position is atop the sales channel, your knowledge of your industry should cater to both the micro and the macro elements of business. This means mastering the language of both our business (i.e. the manufacturer) and the language that is unique to your channel partner’s business. Do you understand the unique business of your business partner? Obviously, their goal will not be just to sell more of our products–after all, their loyalties lie first with their shareholders and employees. However, if we can align our goals with those of our partners, then ideally the achievement of their goals will result in the selling of our products. In other words, we want to be a (big) part of their overall solution and offering. Thus, if we can understand our channel partner’s goals, we can better position our products and services to help them achieve those goals.

How much situational knowledge do you own? To sell effectively, you need more than just experience. You need to know which choices are available to your channel partner and the end customer, including which products to buy, which services to use which partner to sign with, etc. Even if you are the industry leader, they have choices. As someone whose position is atop the sales channel, you need to be an expert not just with your products, but with your partner’s overall solution as well, and you need to know which options are available to the end customer. There should never be information parity between you, your channel partner, and the end-customer.  Obviously, you are expected to be the expert when it comes to your products; but in order to help your partner and the end-user, you also need to know all of the choices that are unique to them.   

As our Channel Sales Rep, what are you going to do this week to develop your business acumen?  Can you apply knowledge & empathy to your partners’ and end-customers’ situation?

Let’s go Move the Channel!


trav signature image



Travis M. Channel


Channel Chief, Any Leading Company, Inc.




10 Channel Marketing Program lessons from Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir AlexToday I bring to you a story from a different hemisphere.  A story about arguably one the most impactful figures in all of sport.  You have heard me speak with passion about American Football, Baseball, Basketball, and the people in those sports that have changed the game.  Today I share Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson’s secrets of persuasion and turn them into Channel Marketing lessons.

I found the story at one of my favorite blogs spots .  Brian Ahearn is a friend and master of persuasion and one of only 20 Cialdini Method Certified Trainers® (CMCT®) in the world.   He recently shared a post from Sean Patrick a fellow Cialdini Method Certified Trainer.

Each number (1-10) references and matches a passage from the story below.   Here are the lessons I took away from this wonderful piece on SAF:

  1. Move the Channel:  Do your channel partners put themselves before winning titles?  Culture. 
  2. Move the Channel:  To find the best partners, we need grassroots “talent scouts” too.  Recruiting.
  3. Move the Channel:  Have you developed an academy and channel training strategy the produces the most successful teams?  Training.
  4. Move the Channel:  Does your organization have you finger on the pulse of every area of the Channel Ecosystem?  Pulse.
  5. Move the Channel:  Are you holding your channel partner accountable and “coaching them up”?  Goals and QBR Process.
  6. Move the Channel:  Have you fired a channel partner recently and focused on ones showing great potential?  Should you?
  7. Move the Channel:  Do you demonstrate respect, fairness, and empathy toward you partners?
  8. Move the Channel:  Do you invest to retain and coach your partners that have potential to be great?   Coaching. 
  9. Move the Channel:  Do your channel partners feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves?  Inspired.
  10. Move the Channel:  Do you have a channel rewards and incentive program that helps your channel partners hear “well-done”.  Channel Incentive Programs.


Here’s the story from Sean Patrick, Sales Coach:

In May 2013, Sir Alex Ferguson or SAF as he’s otherwise known as, stepped down as manager of Manchester United.  He had just won his 13th Premiership title, the most successful and highly decorated manager in English football.  This ended his 26th season in charge of one of the biggest sporting franchises in the world.

During his time at Old Trafford he won 38 titles including two UEFA champions league trophies. 1.) Ferguson took control of the club at a time when player status was more important than winning titles, over the course of four seasons and under severe pressure to deliver, he transformed the club from the inside out.  2.) He employed countless talent scouts to find the best youth players at grassroots level and 3.) developed an academy that produced one of the most successful teams in English football history.  4.) Every season a major development was installed inside the club that cemented United’s ability to find and retain the best playing staff.  Ferguson was well known for having his finger on the pulse in every area of the club.  Only Matt Busby, a legendary former United manager had any such influence across the entire club.

So how did he do it?  Ferguson was well known for his ability to psychologically influence the players around him and rival managers.  Ferguson believed that the key to success was to make sure that every player put in 100% during training.  He never allowed a bad training session as this proved a player would find mediocrity acceptable, he knew bad habits form quickly.  5.) He ensured that every player who under-performed at half time became aware of their poor performances thus the legendary motivational skills reared itself in the dressing room.

Former rival manager Jose Mourinho claimed Ferguson was the master of the ‘second game’, sing the media to motivate his team and to begin, as he put it, ‘to play the next game before it starts’.

The club and everyone around him knew he was the authority figure.  If a player tried to take over the dressing room or put in a poor performance he was either swiftly removed from the club or was given a severe face-to-face screaming which had become known as the hairdryer treatment.  His authority was without question embedded into the organization. 6.) Over the course of his 26 season reign he made difficult choices and this came in the form of releasing established world class players such as Roy Keane, Jaap Stam and David Beckham to make room for untested younger players such as Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo who became medal winners at United.

There was another side to 7.) Ferguson, he was liked and respected.  He was treated respectfully by senior management and back-room support staff and reciprocated respect by demonstrating fairness and his ability to empathize.  These skills were tested during the season of 1995-96 when maverick player Eric Cantona attacked an opposition supporter Kung-Fu style and consequently given a heavy suspension lasting several months.  8.) Over the course of this period, Ferguson mentally coached Cantona, firstly to retain his services and secondly to mentally motivate and prepare the player for his return.  Subsequently, Cantona blossomed to become a model player and became club captain helping United secure more silverware.

This method of psychologically preparing and motivating players culminated in United’s first UEFA Champions league title in 1999.  They faced a tough fixture against Germany’s Bayern Munich.  At half-time United were trailing, he reminded his players that if they lost the match they would not as much be allowed to touch the trophy, just amble past at a safe distance wearing their losers medal.  9.)  One of the players later recalled that Ferguson’s inspirational speech turned fearful men into world-beaters.  During that same season, United became the first side from a major league to win the treble of Champions league, English Premier league and League cup in a single season.


Ferguson understood the importance being consistent. One of his key skills in improving the preparedness of his players was his use of storytelling and being to talk to each player individually.  He liked to change the themes of his team talks with regularity.  “I once heard a coach start with ‘this must be the 1000th team talk I’ve had with you’ and saw a player quickly respond with ‘and I’ve slept through half of them!’  If a player was to sit out a game, he gave a personal and very frank conversation that conveyed empathy and instilled confidence in the player.

10.) Ferguson emphasized on the use of instilling confidence on the training pitch.  “There is no room for criticism on the training field’.  ‘There is nothing better than hearing ‘well-done.”

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