Channel professionals can do lots to help themselves, their companies and their partners by using LinkedIn. In layman terms, Channels refers to the process of having companies and individuals, not employed by your firm, represent your products, sell your products and deliver/install your products.
Best Buy is a channel partner for HP. Bob’s computers may be a channel partner for HP as well. Tech Data is a channel partner for HP. So – Bob gets the HP computers he sells to his customers from Tech Data who gets them from HP. Get it?
When we say channel professionals, there are many variations on the term:
- As a manufacturer “on the host” side” – HP, Dell, Microsoft
- As a carrier “in the cloud” – Verizon, AT&T, CenturyTel
- As an OEM “on the supplier side” – Intel, Seagate, Samsung
- As a distributor “in the middle” – Tech Data, Ingram Micro, Westcon
- As Channel Partner “at the end” – Best Buy, Statera, Bob’s Computers
Below are some simple things that ALL channel professionals can do to get going with LinkedIn, to get ahead and to stay ahead. Find additional free LinkedIn Sales Training resources, packed with videos and demos, at http://RockLinkedIn.com.
The following tips are around Keywords, Searching/Finding and Connecting.
1. Company KEYWORDS
Gather up a list of 10-15 words or phrases to be used in your profile and in your searches for others in the channel. Look for words and phrases that describe:
- What your company does overall
- What your company does with the channel
- What your role is in the firm, your “segment”
- The specific names of your channel programs, affiliations or certifications
2. Channel KEYWORDS
Gather up a list of channel-specific terms and keywords. Here is a starter:
Common channels terms – Channels, Channel Manager, Channel Partner, Channel Programs, Partner Programs, Partner Manager, Agent, Agent Partner, Agent Manager, Indirect, Indirect Channels, Affiliate, Affiliates, Affiliate Manager, Affiliate Partner, Associate, Authorized Partner, Certified Partner, Bronze Partner, Silver Partner, Gold Partner, Platinum Partner…
3. SEEK/FIND Your Existing Partners
Find your best existing partners on LinkedIn and make note of their titles and job descriptions. Look at THEIR LinkedIn profiles for ideas that will help you find more partners just like them.
Connect deep and wide within your existing partners. They will eventually end up somewhere else and you will have inroads THERE too. Go one step further and look at competitors to your existing partners, search for them on LinkedIn. Look at their profiles for ideas as well. Should you connect?
4. SEEK/FIND Your Peers
Use the keywords in LinkedIn search strings to find your peers at other firms (competitors, manufacturers, distributors, partners, etc.) and get ideas by looking at THEIR LinkedIn profiles.
5. SEEK/FIND the connections of others in the channel
Most LinkedIn users let their Tier 1 connections look at their other Tier 1 connections. It’s part of what makes you a networking hub and makes you more useful to connect to. This feature can be exploited to discover new people you may have never known about. Look at their profiles for ideas as well. Should you connect?
6. SEEK/FIND people to recommend you
Get recommendations from others that specifically talk about how you excel at channel related activities. Channel professionals LOVE to recommend one another. You must be connected to someone to be recommended.
7. CONNECT to other channel people.
Search for other channel people and invite them to connect. Reference your association with the channel and mention something specific (and maybe personal) from their profile.
8. CONNECT to people from Past positions
Look at all of your last positions that relate to your current one. Examine the employees and look for people to connect with and engage. While it’s best if you knew them, it is not required.
9. CONNECT to people in LinkedIn Groups you FIND/SEEK/JOIN
Find and join LinkedIn groups that cater to channel professionals – technology groups, partner groups, regional groups, executive groups, customer groups
10. LinkedIn STATUS UPDATES
Post LinkedIn Status Updates on your LinkedIn profile that will be of interest to others in the channel. Make them attractive by including a URL and selecting a picture. Expect to post a LinkedIn Status Update several times a week.
+1 BONUS TIP – YOUR TEAM
Get everyone on YOUR team using LinkedIn effectively. It starts with individual LinkedIn profiles and getting the right keywords in the right places. Step 2 is getting the team properly attached to the official LinkedIn Company Page. Integrated Alliances LinkedIn Sales Training can help.
Mike O’Neil is the founder of Integrated Alliances, the world’s first LinkedIn training organization. Since 2004, Mike has amassed 30,000 LinkedIn connections, 70,000 Twitter Followers and has taught over 500 LinkedIn Training Sessions.
Mike is a 15-year technology sales veteran in the systems, telecom and Internet industries working for VARs and Carriers. He is also the architect of Integrated Alliances U, the world’s first cloud-based LinkedIn E-Learning program for sales reps.