partner account manager (PAM)

As liaisons between vendors and channel partners, partner account managers have important functions within a vendor's channel partner program.

A partner account manager is a job title within a vendor organization that uses channel partners to sell its programs, products and services. The partner account manager acts as a liaison between the vendor and its channel partners and is responsible for building, maintaining and managing relationships with current and prospective partners. Partner account managers can play vital roles in the business growth of channel partner organizations. 

Typical partner account manager responsibilities include providing channel partners with new business opportunities and leads, product and technical support, and competency and qualifications plans. A partner account manager can also facilitate support for channel partners transitioning into technology markets such as the cloud computing market. Partner account managers may also be important in developing and maintaining trust between a vendor and its partners and circumventing potential channel conflict.

Access to partner account managers may be contingent upon a channel partner's status within the vendor's channel partner program. Microsoft, for example, requires its partners to hold Gold competencies for partner account management support eligibility. Partner account manager jobs may also differ in the level of involvement that the partner account manager will have with channel partners' organizations. In some cases, the partner account manager may work closely with a channel partner's marketing and sales departments. 

In the IT industry, as the technology landscape shifts and channel partners adopt different business models with varying needs from their IT vendors, partner account manager roles continue to evolve, becoming more complex. These changes can demand partner account managers to possess deeper industry knowledge and more sophisticated skillsets than would have been previously necessary.

This was first published in August 2013

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