How do you measure partner performance – well how long is a piece of string?
It depends on what you consider valuable and therefore what metrics are aggregated to provide you with a rating. This becomes more complex when you have different partner types who are measured differently.
There are countless tools of the trade that can automate the collection and calculations but essentially, hopefully you have moved on from the trusty spreadsheet. Every situation is different, and each vendor has nuanced requirements and there are “horses for courses” when it comes to systems to measure partner performance.
Mentioned Sophy Gray, Founder of The Marketing Bee: “Our guidance would be to follow a proper system requirement process. This necessitates input from all teams on functional requirements, tech team input on integration and security, CFO review of licensing and costs, legal review of contracts, and then there are all the demo’s you need to sit through. It is worthwhile having an independent 3rd party project manage this to keep it all on track. Plus, they will have project management methodologies and requirement templates that will help you get there faster.”
This is likely to be a relatively large investment for any vendor and so it is critical to ensure the portal and technology stack does what you set out to achieve. Interestingly when questioned, >60% of our delegate audience at The Channel Meet Up of channel professionals (**) stated that their portal needed improvement and work.
One of the key results of the portal and software solution is knowing who is actively selling, actively marketing and how those activities are leading to deal closure and revenue.
Good systems will also track renewals, not only when due, but with alerts and notifications and even cross and upsell options. All this ensure partners are maintaining good customer retention. This should act as an early warning system if a partner is not tracking to renewal percentages.
Performance however works both ways and as a vendor you should measure how well you are performing for your partners. The mechanism for this is the Partner Satisfaction (PSAT) Survey, but the word survey doesn’t reflect the importance of how you collate feedback, and how often.
Once more, using the right tool to perform the PSAT is key here so that you provide VALUE back to the partners while asking the questions.
When we asked our Channel Meet Up vendor delegates >72% knew their PSAT was not as good as it should be.
Sophy Gray added: “We use real-time assessments that give participants a benchmark at the time of completion, so they immediately know how their responses compare to others. This means that partners can then be directed to the right content if they have answered “I don’t know” to something.”
There are other ways to monitor the pulse of partner opinion such as ask set questions on every support call on the partner help desk as well as asking field sales to ask one question each month to canvas opinions. Field sales are the front line and a great source of intelligence.
Partner advisory councils, although relatively exclusive, are a useful forum and can collect data points across Geos’ and allow for more debate and interaction with executives in the room. Although these groups are usually made up of the top partners, they do represent a significant % of the revenue, so knowing what they need and want is significant.
Measurement of how well you are doing as a vendor needs to be persona driven as well with different teams needing different levels of engagement and interaction. This can be very telling if you have both a direct and indirect business as it is a good indicator of seeing if every department values the channel and is responsive.
Now you have two pieces of data.
Now is the time to map the two together to see where the trends and commonalities lie.
Perhaps a partner who gave you a lower rating used to do more business with you or their solution architect who was certified on your solution has left. Can you find a correlation between your partners’ opinion of you through their PSAT score and a drop in performance – if so, how can you do better?
Most vendors tend to focus on their top selling partners, for obvious reasons, but sometimes putting investment into the tier below can yield the biggest growth. Larger partners will have multiple vendors and so extra investment may be lost in the noise. Whereas a smaller partner may have more bandwidth to deliver growth with the right investment.
Do you know how you compare with others in the industry when monitoring partner performance. Take the Audit test to find out and receive your personalised response: CLICK THE LINK HERE
The Marketing Bee
This was a collaborative blog from The Marketing Bee with thanks to the contributors: @Sophy @Sally @Olivier @Emma @Hilary @Jacqui
What is The Marketing Bee – we deliver marketing and channel expertise into Tech businesses. Although marketing-as-a-services is not new, our way of delivering it is unique, as we use our community of professional and experienced freelancers to fulfil requirements.
We work with large enterprises, or start-ups and scale-ups who don’t need a full marketing team, so we put a marketing team together that are real experts in their fields, to fill the gaps, flexibly and immediately. Clients appreciate the speed at which we can deliver, and our freelancers love the independence, and The Marketing Bee does the admin heavy lifting.