A Partner Account Manager (PAM) is the underappreciated hero of any channel program. The level of knowledge and enthusiasm a PAM brings to a channel program every day is arguably the single biggest difference between success and failure.
The reason PAMs play such a crucial role comes down to a simple math equation. Not every channel partner is going to meet expectations. For an IT vendor to succeed, they need to make sure a core subset of the channel partners they recruit succeed well beyond forecasts. Otherwise, the IT vendor will quickly find themselves needing to keep on recruiting additional channel partners to achieve their revenue goals. Not too long after this, they will discover there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing”. When there are too many channel partners participating in programs, it’s only a matter of time before they start competing on price. And once pricing becomes an issue, pressure on profit margins inevitably follows.
Because of this perennial channel management issue, an experienced Partner Account Manager is worth their weight in gold. A PAM that enjoys a good working relationship with the best partners participating in a channel program maximizes the value of each engagement. PAMs don’t teach partners how to sell a product; they encourage partners to maximize the number of products and services attached to each deal.
Alas, we all know great PAMs are hard to find and even harder to retain. This means it’s critical to arm PAMs with reports and dashboards on how their partners are performing on various programs in real-time. A PAM can only manage so many partners effectively. Therefore, Business intelligence tools that enable each PAM to manage more partners efficiently are critical. PAMs need to be able to readily identify channel partners that have the best potential for growth.
IT vendors looking to maximize their investments in PAMs need to make sure PAMs can easily identify opportunities as they occur in real time and act on them immediately. PAMs need to be able to visualize deal flow across their channel partners to dynamically provide the best incentives. Just as importantly, each PAM needs to be able to pull every lever to close a deal before resorting to price as a measure of last resort.
Channel Mechanics has created a channel enablement platform that was built with the needs of the Partner Account Manager in mind. Deep segmentation, employing an easy to navigate decision tree, allows a PAM to make specific incentives available to channel partners for as long as needed. In some cases, this may be an entire quarter. At other times, it may only be for a few hours. Channel management platforms unable to provide this level of command and control are all too often the root cause for why a vendor didn’t win a specific deal, or more commonly, never knew the potential deal existed. Channel partners routinely put deals elsewhere because a set of limited incentives that were set in stone at the beginning of the quarter are for one reason or another, no longer compelling.
PAMs play a pivotal role in making sure that revenue streams being generated by partners remain both steady and predictable. Without a strong team of PAMs in place it’s usually not long before investors start to lose confidence. Dramatic swings in profit and revenue tend to spook investors, who invariably start to question the go-to-market strategy being employed. A lack of stability in the channel almost always results in senior management turnover.
The truth of the matter is that the channel revolves around the Partner Account Manager. Vendors that want to get the most out of their channel programs are well advised to focus on the needs of their PAMs. After all, there’s almost always a direct correlation between making PAMs happy and having a happy channel.
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