Understanding Partner Relationships

One of the key metrics of Partner Relationship Management is partner engagement. Partner engagement is a key component in driving sales for channel managers. The question for most managers today is how to actually measure partner engagement.

Here are some common examples I've seen used --
  1. Number of touch-points between partner and vendor
  2. Number of closed opportunities by partner
  3. Number of events attended by partner
  4. Logins to Partner Relationship Management software per partner
These examples tend to have disparate results, and most channel teams will review a variety of results from each--without any clear picture of how much weight should be applied or what they really mean.

How do you determine the most valuable activity?
You already know that your most valuable partners generate the most sales. But, identifying what got them to that point means you need to look at their engagement metrics and begin to identify the relationship between their actions and the results you see on paper.

As you prepare your metrics set, carefully identify the activities that partners may regularly take part in, that produce ideal results.

Create an activity grid for your partners
Plot the actions your partners take on a regular basis. This is easy to do if you are using a Partner Relationship Management software with some form of activity tracking. If you don't have something like this, you can--with less success--use tools apps like google drive to track asset sharing and access, for example. I'm using Mindmatrix in my example.

Here's a grid example below - of the top 4 activities that are important to me to drive reseller success:

In the column below each metric, track the real number of results you see and the ideal number you would like to see.

Assign points to better determine partner potential
You might find that some partners are actually capable of hitting your ideal number today. Just as you create personas in marketing, you should use the stats and results from these partners to plot out your ideal partner persona.

Take a step back and at this point, and start compiling questions that cover their differences and commonalities with other partners.

Using the grid from my article, Is there such a thing as too many channel partners? start thinking of ways to describe your ideal partner persona.

Here are a few examples below --
  • Number of Sales Reps
  • Dedicated Marketing Rep?
  • Marketing Automation platform?
  • Any Sales Enablement Tools?
  • Understanding of your product?
  • Would your best partners be stronger in marketing capability or sales resources?
Finally, with this profile in mind, interview your highest performing partners. (For more details on this, check out my article on questions to ask your top performing channel partners.) This will tell you where you should start to point resources to improve partner success.

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