A Tale of Two Channel Organizations

Once upon a time there were two channel organizations, both in the same big city serving the same niche market, with plenty of business to go between them. Signing customers and making money hand over fist, the two owners, Hortense and Horatio were blissfully coasting.

Seeing their profits, new entrants started to pour into the city. What once seemed like enough business to share became a battle ground, pinning Hortense and Horatio against each other, along with their other competition.

Out of Hortense and Horatio’s sight, there was a battle occurring between suppliers, a battle more fierce than they were experiencing on the home front; this one for the kingdom. In their greed for market share the two suppliers competed furiously, giving services away to gain customer volume.

With great consequence the supplier battle affected the channel organizations. Adding insult to injury, not only was competition fierce, but declining margins made profiting that much more difficult.

Quiz: In what direction can someone or something coast?

Having realized the impact of their environment, both Hortense and Horatio went on a quest to mitigate the doom lurking over the horizon.

Hortense turned right. Horatio turned left.

Horatio, a determine business leader and contributor, talked to the experts; he even hired one. However, Horatio was busy, so busy in fact he never got to follow the advice of the expert he hired. Never finding time to step out of the day-to-day, Horatio stressed himself and his staff to do more: recruit more, call on more prospects, work longer hours, ad nauseam.

Now, Hortense on the other hand, she turned right. Hortense, as it would happen came across the same expert and received the same advice. The difference is that Hortense stepped outside of the business to work on it, rather than in it. Yes, she too was a contributor and was needed to open doors and close business, to put out the hard fires. But Hortense knew that if she wanted to grow she would have to work on building and executing against a strategic plan built for growth. And when she stepped out, she discovered that some of her employees were capable of stepping up, too.

As a result of their separate paths, Horatio did prosper for a bit longer. That being said, the workload wasn’t sustainable. After burning through some employees and a trip to the hospital due to a panic attack Horatio sputtered along. He continued to maintain his business until retirement and even received residuals from those suppliers that hadn’t built annual commitment clauses into their partner agreements.

Hortense’s business, however, flourished. Yes, she made an occasional wrong turn, but she took calculated risks and grew her business substantially. That being said, she was able to sell her business to a former competitor and retired to a scenic village in Italy – that is when she wasn’t at her vacation home in Santorini.

Moral: Growth occurs when you work on the business and not in it. If this is something you don’t ordinarily give yourself permission (or time) to do, take an hour and jot down your goals and set some time each week to determine how to accomplish them by breaking them into smaller more reasonable tasks. In the meantime, start empowering your staff to make some decisions. While allowing some calculated risks, you won’t know what they are capable of achieving until you let them succeed without you.

Through her consultancy, Sales Enabled, Rebecca Rosen helps technology companies improve the revenue performance of their sales teams. From social selling, to sales messaging, sales development and sales tools, Sales Enabled focuses on helping sales people have winning conversations with customers. Rosen also is a member of the 2014-15 Channel Partners Advisory Board, Women in the Channel board member, CompTIA faculty, National Speakers’ Association and author of the book Social Selling and LinkedIn for Business Development and Sales Enablement Blog on Channel Partners Online.

Twitter: @rebeccamrosen
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/salesenabled

Posted in Channel Strategy

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