Channel Partner Management (CPM) is a methodology designed to help channel partner managers to develop and manage a portfolio of partners to generate higher levels of sales results.

Channel Partner Management

CPM provides repeatable methods and tools, and develops the skills required to effectively identify and recruit channel partners, jointly plan for partners’ growth and success, and significantly improve the level of relationship with channel partner organizations. The result of CPM is a more successful channel sales organization with higher levels of sales productivity, more efficient use of channel support resources, and more profitable business.

CPM focuses on helping sales professionals to develop higher levels of business to, through, and with a portfolio of channel partners.

The CPM Channel Management Life Cycle

Channel Partner Management

Intended Audiences

CPM is designed for any sales professional who must build and manage a portfolio of channel partners and maximize their sales results.

What is included in the Channel Partner Management program?

Program Objectives

Designed to develop critical skills for working effectively with channel sales partners, CPM enables sales professionals to:

  • Identify and recruit the right kinds of partners
  • Analyze partners and identify their relative strengths and weaknesses
  • Work more effectively with channel sales partners
  • Prioritize partner sales activities and optimize use of company support resources
  • Identify hidden issues impacting partner performance
  • Jointly plan and set realistic expectations for partner performance
  • Earn trusted advisor status with channel sales partners
  • Gain greater “mindshare” of channel partners for selling company solutions
  • Sell more business to, through, and with channel partners

Multiple Delivery Modality Options

CPM can be learned through live instructor-led training (ILT) workshops or via virtual instructor-led training (vILT) sessions. We find that a blended learning approach that incorporates a mix of delivery modalities produces the best results for skill development and method proficiency.

For ILT and vILT delivery, each SPI instructor has been certified to rigorous standards, and they each bring years of channel sales and management experience to ensure their credibility and enhance facilitated discussions. Alternatively, SPI can certify client instructors for in-house delivery and coaching, at the client’s option.

Workshop Topical Agenda

CPM is a modular program, designed to be tailored to the unique requirements of each client. The standard instructor-led CPM workshop is a three-day, highly interactive program, using in-classroom tools and application exercises. The standard workshop includes:

Day 1

Welcome and Introduction to Channel Partner Management

  • Objectives
    • Identify the desired state of many partner relationships
    • Identify your level of relationship with your partners
    • Introduce the channel management lifecycle
  • Exercises
    • Discuss and capture channel management difficulties

Target, Recruit, and Encourage Channel Partners

  • Objectives
    • Understand how partner organizations plan, evaluate, and buy
    • The steps of the “recruit and encourage” sales process
    • How to effectively target and select the right partners
    • How to identify the pain and power sponsorship in partner organizations
    • How to stimulate interest with the targeted partners
    • How to conduct an effective meeting and diagnostic sales conversation
    • How to create a plan for a partner to evaluate the potential relationship
    • How to demonstrate value to sell and close partnerships
  • Exercises
    • Discussion: What constitutes effective partner selection criteria?
    • Team activity: Create a Reference Story to stimulate interest and credibility with partners
    • Team activity: Pain admission exercise
    • Role-play: Role-play a consultative sales conversation with a prospective partner
    • Team activity: Controlling the sale exercise

Day 2

Channel Partner Growth Planning and Enablement

  • Objectives
    • Identify the trusted advisor value cycle
    • Identify partner enablement capabilities and differentiation
    • Elements of a partner growth plan
    • How to create effective partner growth plans that benefit both parties
      • Identify the key relationships in the partnership
      • Identify the primary business initiatives of the partner
      • Key tasks and time frames for action
      • Value and success criteria
    • How to assess the strength of the growth plan
  • Exercises
    • Team activity: Identify your differentiators
    • Team activity: Build a partner growth plan

Managing the Channel Partner Plan and Relationship

  • Objectives
    • How to conduct a business review session
    • Identify competitive encroachment
    • How to check the health of the partnership
    • Leverage partner satisfaction surveys
  • Exercises
    • Team activity: Conduct a partner health check
    • Team activity: Conduct a sales company indirect health check
    • Activity: Discuss value of partner satisfaction surveys and how to use them

Day 3

Managing the Channel Partner Plan and Relationship (continued)

  • Objectives
    • How to act as a virtual sales manager to the partner sales team
    • How to conduct pipeline and opportunity reviews with partners
    • A model for preparing and executing coaching sessions with partners
      • Opportunity vs. skill coaching
      • Prepare for coaching discussions: GRAF model
    • Partner pipeline management
  • Exercise
    • Discuss the types of partners you engage with globally

Getting Started 

  • Objectives
    • Discuss the importance of putting CPM principles to work
  • Exercises
    • Prepare a 30/60/90 day implementation plan

Instructional Materials

The CPM workshop is designed with adult learning principles in mind. The program’s instructional materials facilitate participant understanding by using a mix of media to transmit and reinforce key learning points. SPI provides full-color training content in electronic workbooks for use on participants’ mobile devices or laptop computers, as well as color reference charts, animated presentations, and interactive content where appropriate.

Useful Sales Tools and Job Aids

The CPM workshop includes a variety of helpful job aids and tools. As participants complete the workshop exercises, they develop proficiency by applying these tools to their channel partner portfolio. After the workshop, channel partner managers can use the tools on an ongoing basis for effective execution of partner management skills.

The job aids provided in the CPM program toolkit include:

  • Partner Selection Criteria Worksheet – analyzes the fit of a potential channel sales partner
  • Partner Recruiting Tools – a set of helpful job aids that enables channel partner managers to stimulate the interest of potential partners, conduct effective recruiting conversations with them, verify the potential value of a partnership, and negotiate and secure new partnership agreements
  • Differentiation Grid – identifies the unique and highly valuable aspects of solutions for sale by a channel partner
  • Partner Growth Plan – a planning tool for determining the optimum ways for jointly developing a channel partner’s sales results
  • Strength of Plan Check – analyzes the quality of a joint channel partner plan
  • Partner Health Check – evaluates the level of business relationship with a channel partner
  • Strength of Sale Analysis – analyzes the relative quality of partner sales opportunities
  • GRAF Coaching Preparation – helps channel partner managers to prepare for a virtual sales coaching discussion with a channel partner
  • 30/60/90-Day Implementation Plan – a planning tool for getting started with channel partner management principles successfully

Strategic Value

Channel Partner Management provides channel partner managers with the skills and methods they need to develop a portfolio of productive partners and increase channel sales results. The outcomes of this methodology are new growth in channel sales, higher partner productivity, and a higher level of relationship and share of sales with channel partners.

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