Alliances versus channel management

The term strategic alliances covers a wide area of partnerships between organizations, ranging from a joint venture on one end of the spectrum to collaborative supplier relations on the other hand. Next to that alliances may cover areas like product development, go to market (like resellers) and potential other elements. Regardless of it’s form or shape an alliance needs to be managed. However when the spectrum of alliances can be as broad as mentioned the spectrum for the alliance management profession will be equally wide.

Last week I had a great conversation with an alliance professional about this topic, specifically zooming in on the difference between alliance managers managing channel (or reseller) alliance relationships versus alliance managers managing other alliance relationships. Our point of conversation was on the elements where these two types of management differ and hence where different skill sets are required.

I would argue that for an alliance where two companies are creating something new, something innovative, a synergetic alliance, the alliance management skill would require more an entrepreneurial skill set. Maybe even a rare set of skills where an entrepreneurial skill set is to be combined with a diplomatic skill set. On the other hand the alliance manager who is managing channel relationships will be closer to a sales role, requiring a more process oriented sales skill set.

What would your view on this, how would the required skill sets be different, does your organization recognize these different needs?

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