Archives for February 2016

LinkedIn Groups measuring amiss, Move the Channel Group doing it right

Reid Garrett Hoffman (center), the founder of LinkedIn, applauds from the bell balcony after the opening bell during the company's initial public offering at the New York Stock Exchange.

Reid Garrett Hoffman (center), the founder of LinkedIn, applauds from the bell balcony after the opening bell during the company’s initial public offering at the New York Stock Exchange.

On Friday, our significant LinkedIn group of Channel Marketing & Sales Professionals crossed over the important 4000 member mark.   I’m awaiting a congratulations phone call of from one of my heroes, Reid Hoffman, the Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of LinkedIn.   Perhaps if he’s too busy, I’ll hear from LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Wiener?

Ok, I’m not going to hold my breath but I do anticipate meeting with both someday!

Today I want to talk about how we measure the success of our Group at Move the Channel Group.  In contrast I will first share what you’ll see when you go to LinkedIn Groups’ “Today’s Highlights”:Today Highlights Yes, LinkedIn will spotlight the gargantuan Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Network Group and highlight their 222 new conversations today.   They have over 217,000 members.

Impressive & impactful, or is it?   Have you ever actually entered into a group like this?  If not, STOP!  Let me save you a head ache and share with you what’d likely see…    218- of-the-222 new conversations will have no comments and no “likes”.  In other words, few members are reading this mass dumping of conversations and certainly even fewer are engaged in real conversation.

Now, let’s look at Move the Channel Group which is nowhere on the “YOUR MOST ACTIVE GROUPS” board.  I admit 4000 member is a relatively small group when you look at the rest of the LinkedIn Group universe.  But how many Channel Pros are there?   I’m not exactly sure.  But thanks to Move the Channel now there are 4000+ of us connected in a way we’ve never been before.

slow growthLet’s face it, the most impressive number is not the 4000 active members.  The real striking number is 8… as in it took 8 years for us to reach 4000!   Move the Channel’s gradual growth came consistently and carefully by only accepting request-to-join from true channel marketing and sales professionals.  At Move the Channel we value quality, not quantity.

The other area we are especially passionate about is our small in number yet very active & engaging conversations.  We only have a few conversations going at any given time and maybe a dozen a week.  Almost all of our conversations are thoughtful and relevant questions/content that is meaningful to the membership at large.  The other thing we’ve noticed is Move the Channel’s conversations are actually authentic dialog.   We like engagement and interaction between fellow members.

Move the Channel’s Secret Sauce:

  • Clear and simple rules….  And we inforce them.
  • Members… the best in the Channel.  We focus on quality members, not quantity.  Move the Channel Club is an exclusive club.
  • MTC Board of known Channel thought-leaders. Each Board member has a unique channel area of focus and provides executive level direction for the Group.   You’ll see the Board members asking questions and providing thought-starters around their area of channel expertise.
  • Conversations that are meaningful, consistent, and relevant.  In addition to our members’ contributions, our Board of Channel thought-leaders serves up the “MTC Convo” each week.
  • Most of our Conversation come in the form of questions.  If we had all the answers, we would have never joined this group.
  • Transforming Channel Marketing & Sales across all Industries. We firmly believe that the conversations we have today are transforming Channel Marketing and Sales for tomorrow.

Here are some of our results and group statistics.mtc demo loca
mtc sr demo

Thanks for being an integral part of Move the Channel.  Please provide us your feedback and comments so we can continue our mission to be the best Group in the Channel.

As always, send me an email with questions, comments, or to set up a call.

Move the Channel,

Introducing new products to your channel partners? You better have a good one of these…

… a COACH.

Coach showing the right way to follow

You’ve heard me speak fondly and share the great deal of loyalty, appreciation, and pride for my High School Basketball Coach, Coach Gray. Many of the lessons he imparted to us as juniors and seniors have stayed with me to this day, and it seems a bit strange now to think that in the course of my life, one of the most important and inspiring teachers I ever had was a “coach”. Through his vision & leadership, he was always able to get the most out of his players.

Coaching is a skill that is as required in business as much as it is in sports. For example, take channel marketing and sales leaders. Much of their efforts are spent designing, implementing, and marketing the perfect partner program. Discounts structures, rebate tiers, MDFs, CO-OPs, partner benefits, etc., are all foundations for any Channel Partner Program.  Developing a great playbook is important, but without the right players and coach… its all for not.

I’ve recently been involved in a project where we (the manufacture) are introducing an enhanced solution to established and successful alliance partners.  This new ‘enhanced’ offering has great potential to onboard a whole new segment of our partners’ customer base while introducing our partners to new customer associations altogether.  Sounds like a no brainer right?  Well it is, but it is easier said than done!  We know that to launch a new initiative with your partners takes a skilled and deliberate communication to get all the players working together.  I recommend a coach’s approach.

I learned the following simple approach from Tracy Austin.  He is the best business coach I’ve ever worked with.

1.) Ask Question – For example, what are your goals this year, Mrs Partner?

2.)  Listen – No, I mean like REALLY listen!  Use your intuition and business acumen to discover how your initiative will help them achieve theirs.

3.)  Feedback – Let them know you were REALLY listening and summarize what you heard and understand.  Then coach them on how your initiative will help them with their goals.  Above all else, help them with their goals.  If your goals don’t align with theirs, that’s OK.  Remember bad news early is good news, better to know now than invest time, money, & people on an initiative that never had a chance.

4.)  Action Plan – If you do find consensus, it’s time to put a plan on paper… but not just any plan… THEIR plan.

5.)  Accountability – Hold all players (including yourself) accountable.  I prefer to schedule face-to-face quarterly meetings to discuss progress, adjustment, and forecast.

This takes time, energy, organization, and leadership—basically a coach’s approach. In the short-term, this can lead to increased mind share, market share, and sales. In the long-term, you will have a partner who is loyal and appreciative, and who takes pride in working with your championship-caliber organization. Just don’t expect them to call you “coach.”

Please join in the conversation in the Move the Channel Group:

Move the Channel,


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