ASK CHANNELNOMICS: How Do I Start My Journey as a Channel Newbie?

At Channelnomics, we field questions about best practices, partner strategies, and channel programs every day. In this series, called “Ask Channelnomics,” we answer some of the questions we receive most from vendors.

Question: I’m new to the channel and want to get up to speed quickly. Where do I start, whom do I talk to at my company, and what questions do I ask?

Answer: Welcome, newbie. A lot of great people have spent time in the channel. Some have gone on to assume C-suite roles (Julie Parrish, Chuck Robbins, and Frank Vitagliano, for example), and many others have made lasting impressions on their organizations and the lives of their colleagues after devoting years to the channel.

Like other fields, the channel has its own vernacular (including acronyms such as SPIFF, TCMA, MSP, VAR, and MRR), business models, and calendar (spring means channel events and fall means annual budgeting) that you’ll need to become familiar with.

Channelnomics believes your initial six months on the job are critical to your long-term success. First, we recommend that you complete a thorough SWOT analysis of your new employer, assessing its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. More specifically, you’ll want to know the following about your company:

  • Technology and service portfolio
  • Business models
  • Financial health and budgeting process
  • History and reputation with partners
  • Culture and business practices
  • Leadership team
  • Competitors and total addressable market

And talking to people at your company, of course, is critically important to your success. At a minimum, you’ll want to connect with representatives from sales, engineering, finance, legal, marketing, operations, product development, and professional and consulting services.

As for what to ask, the following questions are a good place to start:

  • What’s the scope of your responsibilities and where do partners fit in?
  • What does a successful partner engagement look like? Where can things go awry?
  • What are the three most common problems you experience when working with partners?
  • How can the channel contribute to your team’s success?

For a complete blueprint on how channel chiefs, channel account managers, and channel marketing professionals can navigate their first six months on the job, look out for “How to Win Your First Six Months — and Beyond,” an upcoming report from Channelnomics.

And don’t forget to check out our compendium of channel resources,Touchpoints: Sources That Influence and Shape the Technology Channel.” It’s an alphabetical list of media brands, events, trade associations, communities, podcasts, influencers, and awards that vendors and channel partners can rely on for insights, peer engagement, industry recognition, and more.

We’re excited for you as you start this new chapter of your career. Best of luck!

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