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Channel Managers: Good, Bad & Ugly

By Khali Henderson
October 22, 2013 - Article

What separates a good channel manager from a bad one? That was the topic of a recent panel discussion, featuring top carrier channel managers, at Channel Connect 2013, the annual partner summit hosted by cloud and carrier distributor Intelisys in San Francisco earlier this month.

Intelisys agents attending the event were all-too-eager to share their pet peeves about poor-performing channel managers, including the widely lambasted end-of-month call, asking, "Do you have anything for me?"

Other top turn-offs cited by agents are when channel managers:

  • are inaccessible
  • take you to dinner for no other reason than to get in face time.
  • constantly hand you off to other people
  • say, "That's not my job."
  • have a direct sales quota, too
  • are not empowered to do their jobs
  • spend more time in internal meetings than with partners

Partners rattled off top traits of their favorite channel managers with equal ease. Agents love when channel managers:

  • anticipate next steps
  • make it easy for partners to do business with their company
  • are committed to the partner's success
  • let us know about new services coming up
  • delegate but don't abdicate responsibility
  • are customer-focused, especially when there's a problem
  • have the ability/empowerment to get things done internally

"That describes a pretty special person," said Intelisys's Andrew Pryfogle, who moderated the panel. "It's a rarity. When you find that, they are super stars."

Intelisys assembled it's own all-star channel manager panel, including Ross Anderson, director of channel sales and development for MegaPath, Derek Kessler, national channel manager for Level 3, Crystal Farley, national channel manager for Windstream; Evan Mahaney, channel manager, ACC Business and Sherrie Hiller, regional agent manager for TelePacific.

Each of these veterans added to the list of attributes for a successful channel manager:

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