5 Steps to Finding the Right Channel Marketing Manager

Updated June 23, 2023
Published in Channel Management, Channel Success

Finding the right channel marketing manager is crucial for the success of your partner program. But recruiting for a channel marketing manager can be a challenge.

You probably already noticed the channel marketing manager position isn’t a pure marketing role. To create the most compelling partner marketing campaigns, channel marketing managers need experience both in sales and marketing, complementing their core content creation, performance marketing, and CRO skills with a solid understanding of how channel management typically works. 

And with the scope and volume of skills and responsibilities required, it’s a role that needs a fairly senior person as well.

Ultimately, the best candidate will know how channel partners think, what keeps them interested, what they need from their vendors to close deals – and most importantly, how to convince partners they should build relationships with your company rather than a competitor. Let’s walk through the five steps to finding an ideal channel marketing manager who will contribute to the success of your partner team.

1. Understand the Role of a Channel Marketing Manager

Before you can hire the right person, you first need to have an understanding of a channel marketing manager’s job responsibilities. Channel marketing managers are responsible for developing, driving, and implementing channel marketing activity for all or a selected group of channel partners. The manager will have to work within your CRM and PRM channel management solutions and interact with partners and internal resources. 

Their primary focus is to drive brand awareness, increase sales, and foster strong relationships with channel partners. Channel marketing managers also collaborate closely with internal teams, such as partnerships, sales, and product marketing, to develop and execute co-marketing campaigns, provide support to partners, and ensure consistent messaging across all channels.

The scope of a channel marketing manager job really depends on the size and needs of your program, but here are some tasks that typically fall under a channel marketing manager’s purview:

  • Performing market research, talking to partners, and new partner outreach and communication
  • Generating ideas for, organizing, and hosting joint marketing events and other marketing strategies to promote products and services
  • Managing the partner marketing budget and coordinating with other members of the marketing team
  • Gathering data, generating campaign performance reports, analyzing them, and sharing them internally and externally
  • Brainstorming partner marketing campaigns and incentives to improve and optimize marketing ROI
  • Prioritize campaigns based on team goals
  • Staying informed of digital trends, new channels, and partner platform updates

2. Define Your Requirements

Before searching for a channel marketing manager, take the time to define your specific requirements. These may be different or the same as the activities outlined in Step 1.

Remember, you will be putting a key component of your business’s success in his or her hands, and this person will become the face of your business to many of your partners.

Before a baseball team’s manager looks for a pitching coach, he first considers what his team and pitching program need to be most successful. Of course, that means he needs to have a pitching program in place—or he needs to hire someone with the skill to help build the program. If your company hasn’t built out the channel yet, you’ll need someone who’s done channel marketing management before.

As an employer, you need to ask yourself:

  • Is our partner marketing program well-established or non-existent?
  • What are our company’s specific must-haves for this role?
  • What are our goals in the next quarter, year, five years?
  • What soft skills would a candidate need to fit into our company culture and collaborate with other necessary departments?
  • What is our budget, and what is the desired salary range and compensation?

Then, identify the skills, experience, and expertise necessary to excel and create a comprehensive channel marketing manager job description that outlines your desired attributes and responsibilities. Be clear about the level of experience required, specific industry knowledge, and familiarity with relevant marketing technologies.

What if your partner program is just getting off the ground?

If your program is just getting started, you want a channel marketing manager who understands everything a channel program requires, someone who can build it. They will need experience in creating a strategy for recruiting the right partners and for enabling them. The proper channel manager should be able to establish the contacts and the partner profile.

Will your channel manager be responsible for training your partners, or do you have another position dedicated to training? Will enabling the partners be part of the job? If so, obviously, you will want someone with experience in getting channel partners up to speed and selling quickly and with training experience if that is included in the role.

For early-stage channel programs, there are also quite a few materials that need to be developed. Partners need access to a variety of sales tools—for example, positioning documents, marketing collateral, and competitive info—and your channel manager needs to be able to create them.

With a mature channel program, lead distribution and management become more of a focus. The channel manager will need to track deal registration and partner performance and effectively manage the Market Development Fund (MDF). Look for a candidate who recognizes that the MDF should be easy for partners to use while still driving accountability and measuring results.

channel marketing manager

3. Source Candidates

You’ll need to explore multiple channels to find qualified channel marketing manager candidates.

Try posting your job on LinkedIn or on job listings in professional partnerships networks, such as Partnership Leaders, Women In Partnerships, or Pavillion. RevOps communities may be worth exploring as well. Plug your open role at industry events and on your company’s social media pages.

And don’t overlook the power of referrals from trusted sources — maybe your customers or partners might have someone to refer. If necessary, engage the services of a reputable recruitment agency specialized in partner marketing roles.

4. Evaluate Candidates

Once you have received a few channel marketing manager applicants, it’s time to evaluate them. Scan their resumes and cover letters to ensure they have relevant prior experience, level of education (hopefully, a degree in marketing), background, and demonstrated achievements in previous roles.

As you conduct initial phone screens, assess their qualifications and cultural fit within your organization. Ask questions that gauge their understanding of channel marketing and their ability to develop effective strategies. Request work samples or case studies to evaluate their strategic thinking and campaign execution skills.

5. Conduct In-Depth Interviews

Invite the top candidates for in-depth interviews to gain deeper insights into their capabilities.

During these interviews, you might ask: 

  • Scenario-based questions that simulate real-life challenges they may face in the role, related to marketing communications, targeting specific channels to promote, coming up with innovative new strategies
  • Questions that demonstrate their problem-solving and decision-making abilities
  • For elaboration on past experience with internal teams and external partners — what channel-specific marketing strategies worked and which ones didn’t?
  • About their understanding of relevant marketing technologies and tools that will aid in their role

Set Your Channel Marketing Manager Off on the Right Foot

Finding the right channel marketing manager requires careful consideration and a structured approach. By understanding the role, defining your requirements, sourcing candidates effectively, and evaluating their qualifications, you can make the right decision for your team needs.

But even the best channel marketing managers can only do so much without a robust partner portal to help them. Learn more about how Channeltivity can help partner marketers develop and execute their go-to-market strategy by signing up for a demo today.


Are You Ready to Dive Into the Channel?


Which Comes First – Lead Generation or Partner Recruitment?