Channel management is about leverage and therefore always needs to scale. But channel management can scale in three different directions based on the type of relationship sought between vendors and their partners.
Strategic or alliance relationships require the ability to scale executive commitment. As more alliance partners are added, executive attention and participation thins, relationship management gets passed down the organization and strategic commitment weakens.
Depth or managed relationships scale through field based coverage and support. It is possible to optimize commitments and goal management through standard program structure, but ultimately the relationships fail when account management and joint sales activities become strained.
Breadth or programmatic relationships are supported through operations efficiency but truly gain scale through shared value. These partners need to be self-sufficient and self-serving. This requires constant communication and motivation. As value diminishes, scale fails, partnerships become unpredictable and return rapidly diminishes.
Vendors can scale across one or more of these relationship types but each adds a unique set of resources and extra requirements to a company’s channel management effort.
How effective is your ability to scale? You need to know.