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Business Operations: New channel category leader builds infrastructure to manage
business, optimize ROI

A global channel segment executive new to the role was chartered with turning around a

loosely managed, underperforming channel marketing team into a high functioning


As PC market growth began to slow, pressure mounted to take a more strategic

approach to through-channel marketing investments to increase the value returned, but

the channel marketing team lacked the expertise to deliver on the mandate. The team also

struggled with a lack of role clarity in a highly matrixed organization, which contributed to

low channel partner satisfaction.

The executive needed to move quickly to instill rigor into partner co-marketing and

demonstrate short-term wins while presenting a longer term plan for organizational



A senior business manager executing on behalf of the client established a standardized incremental investment framework and associated workflow to measure and improve ROI.

The Business Manager also managed critical cross-organizational relationships to drive role clarity and established partner engagement guidelines to improve execution and partner satisfaction.

To drive organizational transformation and help the team execute against priorities, the Business Manager developed processes for fiscal year planning, budgeting, scorecard development, partner and quarterly reviews.


The strategy improved the marketing function and business results. Account managers up-leveled their skills to act as marketing managers rather than brokers, improving partner satisfaction. Improved fiscal year budget planning drove strategic and disciplined spending of co-marketing dollars and measurement of programs. And ROI improved as marketing investments aligned to business goals.


Through the program, we validated that the Business Manager role is well suited to outsourcing. While the best business managers have domain knowledge and can take on functional responsibilities, the bulk of their expertise and responsibilities are domain agnostic and process specific. In fact, as with the Chief of Staff role, their objectivity and neutrality relative to other direct reports means a vendor can sometimes be more effective than a full-time employee (FTE) in the Business Manager role.

Building the business process scaffolding necessary to support a transformation effort can be overwhelming, but breaking it down by time horizon and priority helps. Consider staging across (a) short term, time and priority critical business management execution and (b) longer term, foundational business management processes.

If week after week you must make several ad-hoc decisions, you probably need to focus on beefing up your business processes so more of these decisions are grouped and integrated into established and well run business management rhythms.

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