According to our database, 67% of Channel Managers leave their jobs for one reason or another within 3 years. While that number by itself is not a sign of their failure to succeed, it does paint a somewhat dismal picture of the channel.
We have been in touch with over 4,000 channel managers over our 25 + years of doing channel development work. We get to see some of the data as to the turnover in these job positions. In many cases they change jobs to advance and in others they are fired. Sometimes, its a wonder why some still have their jobs.
Typically, there is some executive like a VP of Channel or a Channel Chief overlooking the game. In most cases there is a Channel Country Manager and some Regional Channel Managers (a.k.a. Channel Sales Reps, Channel Development or Channel Account Managers). There are also Distributor Channel Managers whose job is to keep the distributors happy. There are also others positions like Channel Marketing Coordinators who I guess coordinate things and somewhat new are the Partner Success Managers. It’s a job category that seems to be redefining itself as the roles of channel marketing change.
Today, the job has mostly to do with sales instead of actual marketing. Some even believe that there is no difference between sales and marketing.
A Channel Manager has 2 primary goals:
1. Recruit new channel partners
2. Motivate current channel partners to sell more
While these are the fundamental end-goals, how they achieve them has changed. Yet, many Channel Managers still do the same things that they did in the past expecting a different result. You could keep trying to hammer in a square peg into a round hole, but in the end, it will take a lot more effort and the end-result may not be what you want. Many Channel Managers struggle simply because they have not updated their channel thinking for today’s market.