Channel Manager Job Description
Channel Managers develop, service, and grow relationships with channel partners. A number of partners under a Channel Manager’s responsibility depends on the size of their employer. This role includes doing things like developing sales strategies, negotiating with partners and training and developing their sales team.
Channel Managers are often middle-management. In the typical organizational structure, they report to the VP of Channel Sales. Channel Managers are employed in virtually any sector that deals with business-to-business sales. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Channel Managers is set to rise 5 percent through 2024.
Channel Manager Duties and Responsibilities
Channel Managers perform many tasks in their quest to build successful and lucrative relationships with company partners. We’ve analyzed several Channel Manager job descriptions to come up with the following list of the most relevant Channel Manager duties and responsibilities.
Hit Monthly Sales Quota for Territory
As with any type of Sales Manager, the Channel Manager’s most important responsibility involves hitting their monthly goals. Channel Managers, along with the senior management team, are responsible for developing the strategy to hit said goals.
Continuously Train Sales Team on Company Offerings
Since Channel Managers are part of the management team, part of their job involves training channel partners and their staff. This typically involves implementing a company standard training process. Given the ever-changing nature of sales and marketing campaigns, this training happens continuously.
Manage Relationships With Channel Partners
Channel Managers are the key point of contact between their employer and channel partners. Performing this duty takes excellent customer service skills, and also involves negotiating contracts.
Monitor Sales and Operational Results Based on KPIs
Channel Managers need to constantly monitor the health of their campaigns by keeping an eye on the Key Performance Indicators set by the Director of Sales. This includes creating KPI reports and presenting them to senior management.
Represent Company at Industry Trade Shows
Since Channel Managers typically work in a business-to-business environment, trade shows are a big part of their strategy of prospecting for new customers. This involves creating promotional materials, as well as setting up and taking down a company booth. It also involves pitching company offerings to prospects.
Channel Manager Skills
Channel Managers have to be excellent communicators. They must be active listeners who take the time to comprehend what others say and then use the information they learn to build relationships. They have to be socially perceptive and aware of nonverbal cues to feel out how a negotiation is going, and be able to adjust accordingly. Channel Managers also have to be innovative in their quest to help their channel partners effectively sell their product. In addition to these skills and personality traits, employers are looking for Channel Manager candidates with the following skills and abilities:
- Crafting and implementing channel sales strategies to meet monthly sales quota
- Developing and maintaining partner and prospective partner relationships through the use of CRM software
- Negotiating contracts and growth plans with current and prospective channel partners
- Ability to use leadership and sales acumen to train and develop sales staff
- Ability to use analytical skills to analyze Key Performance Indicators to determine the health of a channel partner relationship.
Channel Manager Tools of the Trade: As with all professions, there are a few tools Channel Managers use to complete their duties, most of which are digital. Here are a few of these tools:
Spreadsheets – Channel Managers use spreadsheets to track sales results and monitor KPIs. This software is typically Microsoft Excel.
CRM Software – Channel Managers use client relationship management (CRM) software to organize and monitor current and prospective partners who are in various stages of the sales cycle. This software allows an entire sales team to be on the same page when communicating with prospective partners.
Email – Channel Managers do virtually all of their digital communication through email, so they must be proficient in an email client like Gmail or Microsoft Outlook.
Social Media – Channel Managers make use of LinkedIn to identify potential channel partners, as well as to identify the decision makers to contact within that company.
Channel Manager Education and Training
Channel Managers aren’t required to have a Bachelor’s degree, but most do. Typical fields of study include Business, Management, Marketing and Economics. Channel Managers are also required to have successful experience as a Channel Sales Representative. This experience on the front lines of the Channel Sales process is what really hones the skills and abilities one needs to be a successful Channel Manager. Certification can be earned from organizations like the Sales Management Association, which offer the Certified Sales Leadership Professional qualification.
Channel Manager Salary
The median salary for Channel Managers, which are included under Sales Managers by the BLS, is $117,960. Those in the top 10th percentile make more than $208,000, while those in the bottom 10th percentile make less than $55,790.
Channel Manager Resources
If you’re interested in further exploring a career as a Channel Manager, then check out the following resources.
The Sales Management Association – The Sales Management Association is a global organization for sales management professionals of any industry. They have several digital resources for members on their website. There are also certifications and continuing education courses available for members looking to improve their marketability.
National Association of Sales Professionals – The National Association of Sales Professionals was created in 1991, and has since grown into one of the largest professional organizations for sales professionals. Their website has a bunch of great material for those looking to improve their sales acumen.
Hubspot.com – Hubspot is not specifically dedicated to Channel Sales, but this top sales and marketing blog has tons of solid information for aspiring Channel Managers. Search their archives for articles related to Channel Management.
Transforming Your Go-to-Market Strategy: The Three Disciplines of Channel Management by V. Kasturi Rangan – This book starts by discussing how most channel distribution methods are in need of an update. It then goes into strategies for integrating the Internet into channel management strategies, as well as other insights relevant to Channel Managers.
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