New research has been published showing the importance to employers of channel management certification for both new hires and career progression.

The Channel Institute polled more than 400 Channel VP’s and Directors at large technology companies to learn what they look for when hiring new Channel Account Managers. There were some surprising results.

There were two surprising results: “Innovation & Creativity” and “Commitment to the channel”. These were accompanied by the more commonly expected factors of “Business Acumen”, “Relationship Building” and “Flexible Delivery”.

Innovation and Creativity.

This is not something that was highlighted in previous research by third parties, but innovation and creativity is a skill that appears to have jumped up the rankings. Heads of Channel want to know that new team members can think on their feet and bring new insights that can be shared across the entire channel team. This was mentioned as being particularly important for channel management teams working with channel partners that are still trying to adapt their business to cloud-based models.

Commitment to the Channel.

The second most frequently reported response was that candidates take the channel profession seriously, and do not merely consider it “another type of sales job”. This category covers channel management training topics such as a clear knowledge of how channels work, the channel landscape, and excellent skills in joint business planning. Channel leaders are clearly raising the bar on the profession, recognizing that the subtleties associated with channel management require training skills that can only be acquired through a combination of formal channel training and experience, as opposed to the more ad-hoc learning approaches of the past.

Job candidates could set themselves apart from the crowd through Continuous Professional Development (CPD) with a business training qualification specifically in channel management or channel marketing. This was particularly important for those companies hiring candidates that are relatively new to the channel profession.

Business Acumen.

The runaway number one sought after skill falls into the general category of “business acumen”. This covered responses such as understanding of new business drivers (AI, Business Transformation, Digital Co-Marketing, Social Selling, etc.) and how these will impact on channel partner profitability. New CAM’s need to quickly grasp the consequences for channel partners of increasingly shifting towards service delivery with recurring revenue models and the impact of this on a business and its profitability.

Relationship Skills.

Communication skills, empathy and the ability to develop relationships and trust are obvious skills that any successful Partner Account Manager must possess. These skills were identified as being a basic requirement in channel management training and not something that would make a candidate stand out from the crowd.

Flexible Delivery.

Finally, many respondents highlighted that Channel Managers operate in a world that is affected by many stakeholders, and many factors are entirely outside of their control. The ability to maintain focus in the face of turbulence, managing unpredictability and still deliver sales results was identified as a key training requirement.

The top 5 factors listed in order of priority are:

  1. Business Acumen.
  2. Channel knowledge and commitment.
  3. Innovation and creativity.
  4. Relationship building.
  5. Flexible delivery.

Key Learnings:

According to Mike Kelly, Director at the Channel Institute, “There are five key takeaways from this research to help channel professionals progress their career:

  1. Emphasize your channel management training and business acumen.
  2. Channel-specific CPD and channel-business certification is essential to prove your commitment to the channel profession.
  3. Demonstrate “outside-the-box” thinking.
  4. Prove your communication and empathy skills.
  5. Convince employers that you can deliver in the face of unforeseen disruptions.”

Business training in areas such as channel management and channel marketing has traditionally been provided by employers or consulting companies on an ad hoc basis, leaving a major skills and knowledge gap in the industry. This has been particularly true for new entrants to the profession, who typically come from end-user sales or marketing. These professionals are often recent graduates who are “thrown in at the deep end” of channel management and partner marketing, or simply put through an employer’s own training academy that rarely focuses on industry-wide best practices.

The aim of the Channel Institute is to bring a more formal, standardized structure to training for channel business professionals. In particular, the Institute aims to focus on the vastly under-served segment of training and certification for those that are relatively new to the channel management profession. The Certificate in Channel Marketing is also ideal for those charged with channel partner marketing and channel partner training at technology reseller companies, to help them understand vendor-independent global best practices in co-marketing.

Thomas Jensen, VP and Head of Worldwide Partner Sales Strategy at HP comments: “The Channel Institute is a compelling approach to developing the channel profession worldwide. I am delighted to lend my knowledge to help the Institute build channel best practices to progress our profession.”

Improvements in national income and other indicators of economic growth in Crete are thanks to the rapid development in the tourism sector over the past three decades. The economic meltdown in Greece has not hit this small Mediterranean tourist hub as hard and Euros are still flowing in.

Crete has much to offer. The natives are a hospitable and welcoming sort, making tourists happy to share their good experiences with their friends. The slow, relaxed pace of life has changed little over the centuries and there are still out-of-the-way villages with only dirt roads and open markets to attract the adventurer. In addition, the natural landscape is gorgeous.

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Crete boasts a rich archaeological, cultural, and historical heritage. The archaeology tourist never runs out of museums and digs in which to spend hours and days musing over the past. Knossos was the capital of Minoan Crete. It is more grand and complex than other well-known ancient palace complexes and located only twenty minutes south of the port city of Iraklio.

Phaistos, south of Heraklion, and Malia with the necropolis at Chrysolakos are famous for the gold artefacts locals occasionally find. Today, they are tourism gold.

Car Hire in Crete

To take full advantage of a vacation in Crete, one simply must have a car. Concerning car hire Crete is one of the safer places in Europe to rent. Automobile theft is not the problem it is in Romania and Hungary, where a thriving car theft industry exists due to the proximity of borders with nations that harbour chop shops. (It’s more difficult to get a stolen car off on island.)

Numerous companies vie for the tourist driver. Driving in Crete is not particularly daunting, but local customs must be observed.


The summer is long in Crete and sandy seashores plentiful. Crete is attractive to tourists year-round for the lure of beautiful seashores dotted with picturesque villages. Hospitality geared toward seaside vacations is well-practiced and tourists rarely find much to complain about. Seaside tourism is the dominant industry in Crete.

Village Tourism

Finding small, remote villages that welcome tourists but are relatively unknown to the industry at large is surprisingly popular. Agriculture and traditional culture is still to be found on Crete, but very few villages do not welcome the tourist Euro. Whether it is a café, a small inn, or a traditional market, the tourist will have ample opportunity to spend a little money for an experience to tell friends about.


Hand-crafted leather-wear and shoes are popular items with tourists. Ottoman-era antiques and gold or silver jewellery imitating ancient styles found in the archaeology digs are also in demand. In local markets, you can find locally-grown herbs and more varieties of olives than you knew existed. Small stalls display a bewildering variety of fresh produce and household goods, including copper coffee pots, olive wood bowls, and delightful hand-painted ceramics. Consider purchasing a Cretan herbal tinsane renowned for curing all manner of aches and pains.

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If you’re a small company trying to make your mark in a big money industry, such as insurance or loans, you may feel overwhelmed by the competition. But, don’t fret, there is wonderful news coming out of the most recent research. It turns out that being the underdog is marketing goldmine. After all, people love an underdog.

Average people identify with the underdog, its that simple, and they can’t help but root for the guy or gal or company that is brave enough to take on insurmountable odds.

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What the Research is Saying

Its called the Underdog Effect, and it has been studied and confirmed by both Harvard and Georgetown University. The marketing strategy is called underdog brand biography (UBB). Put simply, it means that you create a story around your brand that promotes your underdog status. You create a historical account of your companies origins, lack of resources, and the your fight against overwhelming odds.

What Can Underdog Brand Biography Do for Your Company?

UBB has been shown to increase brand loyalty, real choice, and purchase intentions. Why does it this work so well? As noted in the introduction, people love the little guy. Life is hard. People struggleto make it ahead in their careers, keep ahead of the bills, and take care of their family. They want to purchase from a company that identifies with that identity. They want to rally around a brand that has been battered and beaten, doubted and mocked, yet kept on punching, refusing to give up.  This is exactly what the UK insurance broker One Sure Insurance did to gain traction in one of the most cut-throat markets out there. One Sure successfully branded themselves as an insurance company that still deals with customers over the phone, compared to the cold online-only giants in the industry.

Harvard researchers say that UBB works best when:

  • People Identify with the brand
  • Consumers feel like underdogs
  • Consumers are buying for themselves and not others
  • The consumer culture identifies with underdogs

What’s Your Story?

Its time to build a narrative around your company that tells the tale of a struggling warrior that refuses to give up no matter what. Humble in nature, yet bold in action and personality. Apple created their brand identity by suggesting they started out in a garage and rose up against all difficulties. Barack Obama was just a member of a oppressed minority that started out in local political action against powerful corporate forces.

Your Disadvantage is Your Advantage

Are you a start up with only basic resources while going against powerful companies with million dollar lobbying budgets? This is all to your advantage. Use it to promote your brand. Your lack of resources is why people will like you. They will identify with your struggle and feel great about buying your products. Are you selling insurance? People will rally to your struggle if you promote your company as the underdog the consumer loves and wants to see win. Who better to help them insure their lives or property than a company who never gives up, never says die, and always strives to improve and evolve?

Small businesses are the backbone of this nation’s economy. Supporting small and local businesses help us stay afloat and gives back to the American Dream that many of lost gave up on long ago.

Things are changing and it’s all headed towards online and mobile. Look at Groupon Discount Codes for example. They work with large companies like ASOS and offer discount codes to consumers to help both the business and consumer. No one would have thought on “online coupons” as the next big thing, but it is. It’s all about adaptability.

The reality is simple: small businesses need to really start keeping up with the times. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve walked into a boutique store in my neighborhood and asked for a website or even social media page I could look at for sales and promos and they respond, “We don’t do that.” I get the whole idea of being “small” but you still have to remain competitive and one of the best ways to do this is through social media.

23Image by Pixbay

It’s time to sell on social

If you are using Facebook and Twitter ads, then you are a step ahead of many marketers in the industry. If you’ve noticed Facebook and Pinterest have gained much visibility by incorporating a “buy” button for advertisers and users. Now we no longer have to leave the app to purchase our favorite product, so we can continue to scroll through everyone’s New Years Eve resolutions without skipping a beat. Instagram isn’t far behind on this trend and others will soon jump on board.

Real-time marketing isn’t just a trend, it’s the future

If you are using a scheduling system like Hootsuite, kudos to you for staying on task. If you are ONLY using pre-scheduled content, shame on you for not living in the moment. Real-time marketing is as important as any other branch on the marketing tree and with tools like Twitter that encourage real-time engagement during live events. This goes for image and video. Capturing things as they happen, versus before or after, is the real social strategy for marketing gurus everywhere.

Sponsored ads on Google is a great way to generate traffic to your site, but just like any other paid ads providers, it costs money. Sometimes it could be quite costly especially if you’re competing in a competitive niche and you don’t really know what to do to optimize your PPC campaign.

An easy solution to make sure that you could get all the benefits offered by Google sponsored ads is by hiring a PPC management company who can use their expertise to help you manage your PPC campaign. But still, you have to be sure that you pick the right PPC company to make sure you could get optimum benefits from your Google sponsored promotions. Here are some important things that you can expect from a good PPC management company, which means if they can offer you these services then you know that you’re dealing with a good PPC company:

  1. Daily Split Testing

This is one of the most important PPC management services that many PPC companies don’t offer. A good PPC company usually includes this as part of their services. This is important because it could reduce your click costs significantly. Many companies don’t offer such service because it’s a lot of work and because many of them charge on a percentage of what you spend in AdWords.

  1. Conversion Tracking

This is another crucial thing in PPC management. This allows you to see which keywords bring the most traffic and sales. Usually the PPC company will install a conversion tracker on your landing page, then you could find out exactly which keywords benefit you the most and which ones that are just wasting your money.

  1. Ad Optimization

Your ads should be optimized for Google so you can actually benefit from them. It would be difficult to do it if you’re new to this, but for a PPC expert it shouldn’t be a problem. A good PPC company really knows how to make your ads that are highly relevance to the keywords you’re targeting, one way to do that is by writing a unique ad for each keyword.

  1. Regular Reporting

Obviously this is very important so you as the client will be able to find out exactly what have been done in your PPC campaign, what have been achieved so far, etc.

  1. Adaptation

The world of Pay Per Click advertisement is constantly changing, just like search engine optimization or everything else on the internet. Therefore you have to make sure that the PPC company of your choice is able to keep up with those changes. The ability to adapt is the key to survive in this business.

Those are the key indicators for you to find out whether a PPC company is up for the job or not. But of course those are not all the things that you should pay attention to, there are also other things like good customer support or other comfortability factors. But at least if you find those five items in a company, you have found a good candidate.

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