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SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Ken and Keith Redo with Channel EQ

Ken and Keith Redo with Channel EQ

It’s been too long since I caught up with Ken Thoreson and Keith Lubner. We’ve teamed in numerous initiatives over the years. I was pleasantly surprised to hear of their latest entrepreneurial endeavor, Channel EQ. Essentially Ken and Keith are pivoting a lifetime of sales, business and technology content into an Adaptive Partnering curriculum for channel organizations (vendors, distributors, etc.). It’s a smart move in a transformative time.

Let me put vendor enablement training in context. I speak with a lot of non-partisan, independent SMB channel thought leaders each month. This past week I had a confidential conversation with one well-known figure who offered that the population of resellers is declining even faster than predicted. Meanwhile the number of vendors is growing dramatically. All of this suggests that vendors need to be more efficient and effective in connecting with a contacting population. In other industries, you’d use predictive lead scoring to focus on the top converters. In the SMB channel, Channel EQ seeks to align, leverage, and optimize the four elements most critical to channel performance: Channel Partner (external), Channel Manager (internal), Sales, Service and Support (internal) and Customer (external).

So how do they do it? It’s a behavioral-based approach that focuses on the interpersonal skills of channel personnel. Without naming names, it’s long overdue as many channel leaders aren’t exactly known as nice people. It all comes down to people do business with people they like. Channel EQ hits it head-on.

The learning platform is delivered under the brand name Channel University with the tagline “Peak Channel Performance. Fast.” The delivery vehicles include:
• Self-directed online video-based modules and tutorials
• A mobile app for anywhere, anytime learning
• Live Virtual Classroom training programs facilitated by certified instructors
• Interactive and experiential classroom training programs

Concerns? Channel EQ, while having a unique approach, enters a crowded market with many players ranging from ChannelEyes to CompTIA. And don’t forget to add business coaches who burned out the MSP community and are now kissing vendor’s asses. I’ll keep you posted on how Ken and Keith do.

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