Four Tips for Effectively Onboarding Your New Partner Manager

By Kellie Auman Posted on 5/23/17 2:50 PM

Wouldn't it be great if your channel leaders and partner managers stayed in their jobs for year after year without moving on?  Of course, but as with any management role, there is plenty of turnover as workers leave for better opportunities or move into upper management leaving someone new taking over.

This issue brings a serious question to light:  If you have an extended partner ecosystem, how do you get an incoming partner manager up and rolling in the least amount of time?  Onboarding new partner managers is no small task. Anything you can do to create an onboarding process which is both efficient and comprehensive will go a long way towards minimizing any disruption a personnel change can bring.  Below are four tips for effectively onboarding your new partner manager or channel leader.

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  • Establish clearly-defined goals and expectations for the role.

Partner Manager can be a rather flexible job role, depending on the structure of their company.  Different organizations might have them purely overseeing sales, helping develop marketing, doing recruitment\outreach to new partners, or serving in a number of different roles.  

Establishing a set of clearly-defined roles with expectations for your incoming channel manager, so they know exactly where they stand and what their responsibilities will be is important.  Unless you’ve interviewed them and you know that their previous work was substantially similar to their new role, don’t assume they can be transition into the channel manager position without some guidance. 

  • Create partner expectations that are consistent and easily-accessible.

Change in partner managers or leaders can be a source of disruption for the partners themselves, particularly if the new manager has substantially different expectations than the previous one. A new manager whose expectations and management style are radically different than the previous manager can be a significant cause of stress for managers at your partner companies working directly with them.

This can be avoided simply by having an established set of metrics, KPI, and other expectations which your partners are adhering to.  The challenge then becomes a matter of educating your new partner manager on those expectations.  This helps to minimize ecosystem disruption when a new partner manager joins the fold.

If your new partner manager will also be responsible for scouting or recruitment, this also helps guarantee they’ll look for new partners who fit into the existing ecosystem.  A clearly-defined set of desired partner attributes or a go-to-market strategy for partner recruitment can help a lot here.

  • Maintain a centralized communication system.

It’s a bad idea to allow your partner managers to keep all the partner contact information to themselves – it can make it extremely hard for the next partner manager to re-establish those contacts when they’re moving into the job.  

Instead, it’s a good idea to have a centralized communication system – such as Partner Relationship Management software – which has all the contact information in one place.  This system will make it easy for the new partner manager to introduce themselves and  it also opens up a great opportunity to address any questions the partners might have and sooth any concerns about the changeover.

  • Schedule a 90-day check-in.

It’s inevitable that your new partner manager will need some time to get settled in, learn the ecosystem culture and start adapting to any new job roles they may be undertaking.  It’s generally a good idea to give them around three months before evaluating their performance thus far.  That gives them plenty of time to get adjusted, but allows any problem areas to be spotted before they become too detrimental. 

Channel management is a difficult job under even the best of circumstances, and a channel manager needs plenty of support early on if they’re going to thrive.

Pull Your Ecosystem Together With Channel Management Software

Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software can be a ‘best friend’ to both experienced channel managers as well as newcomers.  By putting total oversight, communications, and training in one place, it can greatly reduce the amount of time it takes channel managers to get a grip on your overall ecosystem.  Contact LogicBay today to learn more about what PRM can do for you!

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