If Channel Chiefs had a clue, they would write this letter. But they won’t…


As you know, I often join Channel Sales in the field to get a better feel for our channel partners’ business and challenges. Last week I accompanied one of our Channel Salespeople on a call with a prospective channel partner. I heard something disturbing when the Sales Executive was asked by the partner’s leadership about specific trends in the market and how it was affecting other channel partners? This person, who will remain nameless, responded, “I’m not sure, I’m just a salesperson”.

Being in Channel Sales, do you have what it takes to be a Trusted Advisor to our Channel Partners?

In today’s rapidly changing market, if you are going to sell successfully through & with our channel partners, you mustn’t be “just a salesperson,” or “just a vendor.” You need to be someone with the 1.) business acumen and 2.) situational knowledge that is positioned to help our partner grow their business while also growing ours.

What sort of business acumen do you possess? As a Channel Salesperson, you have a unique vantage point and access to the broader sales channel. Your knowledge of the 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 our channel partner’s business. Do you understand the unique business of our 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 be deliberate in the achievement of their goals, it 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 possess? 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 their products options to buy, which services are available, etc. Even if we are the industry leader, our channel partners have choices. As our partner’s trusted advisor, you need to be an expert not just with our products, but with your partner’s overall solution as well, and you need to know which options are available to their end customer. There should never be information parity between you, our channel partner, and the end-customer. Obviously, you are expected to be the expert when it comes to your products; but in order to be true Trusted Advisor to our partner and their end-user, you also need to know all of the choices that are unique to them.   

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

Let’s go Move the Channel!


Travis Smith

Channel Chief, Any Leading Company, Inc.


About the AuthorTravis Smith is the CEO & Founder of Move the Channel, a worldwide network, and community of channel marketing & sales Chiefs and channel thought leaders. He also is a leader at HMI Performance Incentives, a channel engagement and incentive company focused on Channel Incentive Strategies. Travis helps some of the most respected companies in the world design, implement, and manage their channel incentive strategies.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: