Guest Column | May 31, 2019

How To Turn Channels Into A Profession, One Certificate At A Time

By Rob Spee, Channel Journeys Consulting

Mike Kelly, Channel Institute

Mike Kelly

Founder, Channel Institute


Dublin, Ireland

Year Founded



The Channel Institute aims to bring a more formal, standardized structure to learning for channel business professionals.

Channel Experience

20 Years

"In fact, the channel is not a profession. We need to make it a profession. There is an institute for everything from marketing to content marketing and digital marketing, but there's nothing for the channel business profession.” Mike Kelly, Channel Institute.

Mike Kelly doesn’t shy away from a challenge. He climbed Mount Elbrus, the highest summit in Europe at 18,510’. He conquered the Jungfrau Marathon with 6,000’ of elevation gain. But now he has an ever more audacious mission; turning the channel into a profession.

I spoke with Mike about how he’s embarking on this mission with his new company the Channel Institute on my Channel Journeys podcast. Mike first saw the need to fill a skills gap found among channel managers while doing workshops as part of his prior consulting business.

The Channel Institute now offers training certificates for channel management, channel sales, and channel marketing. The company is just over a year old, yet they are already gaining momentum and forming partnerships with universities and vendor training academies.

Key Take-Aways

  • Sending a channel manager on a solution selling course designed for field salespeople without first providing training on channel fundamentals is a missed opportunity.
  • Make sure your new channel managers have learned the core channel fundamentals before taking your sales training and they will do a better job of combining the two skills.
  • The Channel Institute now offers training certificates for:
    • Channel Managers with Certificates in Channel Management and Channel Sales
    • Channel Marketers with Certificates in Channel Marketing
    • Channel Partners with Certificates in Digital Co-Marketing
  • Even vendors with “gold-star” channel marketing teams can benefit from the Channel Institute to help their team and partners gain digital co-marketing skills.

Take Action — One Thing You Can Do Today

Channel management and channel marketing are complex roles requiring a diverse set of skills. If you’re a channel chief, look at your channel team and see where you have skills gaps. Then look at the courses offered by the Channel Institute. You may want to even take a few courses yourself to up your game before signing up your team. And if you’re a channel manager or in a channel marketing role, make a case to your boss for taking the course.

Listen to the complete podcast to learn more about Mike Kelly and the Channel Institute.

About The AuthorRob Spee, Channel Journeys Consulting

Rob Spee is founder and CEO of Channel Journeys Consulting and host of the Channel Journeys podcast. Rob applies his channel expertise to help clients create and execute channel strategies to accelerate revenue growth. His global channel experience spans from building channels at startups to vendors and distributors like Arrow, BMC, Carbonite, and SAS. Follow Rob on Twitter and LinkedIn.