In the partnership, channel managers are crucial. They have the immense responsibility of creating, amending, and updating programs; analyzing trends and sales; and keeping in tune with partners’ needs, among many other things. With everything channel managers need to accomplish in a day, even the best leaders—the ones who listen and respond to channel partners’ questions, concerns, and feedback—can fall into the trap of not asking questions.
In changing times, it should come as no surprise that the needs of channel partners are changing, too. Vendors must remain apprised of these needs, and partners don’t always volunteer them, which means a channel program that was highly effective even a year or two ago can be now be outdated. For a vendor to stay competitive, channel managers must learn and exemplify the art of asking questions, whether in the form of surveys, telephone conversations, webinars, or periodical face-to-face meetings.
When channel partners can choose whether to sell your product or your competitor’s, it makes all the difference in the world to work with a vendor who prizes open communication and innovating to keep up with changes in the channel.