Channel Champion Blog

Finger_PointingA statement heard by sales hiring managers forever. In fact, many of us have been trying to either hire or work with “that sales girl/guy” for what seems like our entire lives. Our business success hinges on some superstar cowboy or cowgirl who has all the answers. And since today’s sales rainmaker for both partners and vendors looks so different from yesterday’s sales rainmaker, the process is getting more and more challenging. Mostly because the definition of a rainmaker is changing so much with the evolution of the new buyer’s journey.

today’s sales rainmaker for both partners and vendors looks so different from yesterday’s rainmaker Click To Tweet

Well the good news is that there will be no shortage of sales people over the next 5 to 7 years. It’s been forecasted that over 1 million B2B sales people will be looking for new opportunities during that period as the SaaS model continues to grow and new buyer’s journey really hits home.

So what does this person look like? Two recent conversations had me thinking…

Jennifer Schulze, SAP, VP Partner Marketing Cloud Products

Jennifer and I quickly agreed on 3 common traits for partners that we see as necessary in this new world:

1. Marketing – have to understand marketing, in particular digital marketing, and their role as not just information about but affirmation of the brand message

2. Recurring Revenue –have to buy in 100% to the advantage of recurring revenue for the customer and themselves – no hint of lamenting old world sales (speeds and feeds)

3. Finance – has to talk financial implications and benefits of SaaS across the business. CEO, CMO, CFO speak – needs to be comfortable with multiple ROIs

It was Jennifer’s fourth point that caught me off guard:

4. Empathy – need to have started a business and watched it fail. This one took me by surprise, but it makes all the sense in the world when we are looking at selling the “relationship” instead of the product (and yes I have done this)

Sal Patalano, Lenovo Software, VP Global Partner Marketing

Sal did a great key note for the Channel Visionaries Conference last April. While the presentation covered much of what we are all discussing today regarding SaaS, aside from Sal’s natural charisma, it was his 9-step plan that had everyone in the audience really paying attention.

Sal’s third point in his 9-step plan was “have to address sales roles” for both partners and vendors. “If we don’t, everything else we do will lose its effectiveness” said Sal. All the work of the plan is cumulative and without the right sales people no plan will really be successful.

So whether from a vendor or a partner perspective, the right sales people in the right roles will have a huge impact on success. Personally, when I was building a recurring-revenue business as an MSP, I stopped looking for people with technical knowledge (I had SEs and Engineers) and started looking at insurance sales reps. Relationship guys that lived risk mitigation and business continuity. It worked for me back then, maybe I was on to something.



Steven Kellam, President at CCI

Steven Kellam

As a growth specialist, Steven is responsible for driving CCI’s evolution to expand its offerings and grow across its product suite, utilizing marketing to position the organization for continued, long-term success. He is also responsible for developing the strategic alliances necessary for CCI to achieve its revenue and profit goals, including technical alliances, service partnerships and sales relationships. Steven has experience in both the VAR space, having run a successful managed services IT business, and a background in manufacturing where he built a channel of over 2,000 partners.