Partner Performance - Measuring Program Effectiveness

Posted: 8/17/2012 by Norma Watenpaugh

We often focus on how to measure the performance of individual partners, but it is equally important to understand how your partner community is performing. Insight into what drives performance across your community informs you on how to better manage your partner program to enable more success.

There are a number of ways to look at program metrics:

Business Impact - How is your partner program contributing to the success of your company? This is more than tallying up the revenue numbers. Business impact relates back to your strategic goals and how the partner community contributes to those goals. If you are seeking to grow the business in new geographies or new vertical industries, then how are you enabling partners to be successful in those markets? And are your efforts successful? Can you measure that success in new account wins in those markets? Gains in market share?

Other strategic goals may be to accelerate new technology adoption. To accomplish this you need to measure the uptake of these new technologies by your partners. How many have been trained or certified on these new products and services? What is the rate of revenue growth in these product areas?

Lifecycle Metrics - Partners engage with vendors in phases from entry and on-boarding into your program through stages of enablement to driving revenue. Understanding and measuring this journey enables you to help partners travel this path more quickly and effectively. If you can identify the impediments or bottlenecks in your program that prevent partners from reaching revenue production as quickly as they might, you can work to remove them and accelerate the time to revenue production.

Program Elements - Your program typically has many elements such as business planning, technology training, certification, support, lead distribution, communications, etc. Can you measure how effective these elements are functioning so that you can improve them? And the partner experience in working with them?

Campaigns and Initiatives - As you launch new marketing campaigns, you should also be measuring their impact. These metrics tend to be things like number of partners participating, cost per leads, numbers of qualified leads, ultimately to revenue generated.

Portfolio or Community - These are broader metrics that measure the overall coverage and health of your partner community. Coverage refers to the numbers of partners you may have in particular geographies or specialized in certain technologies. This helps you plan recruitment to ensure you have enough partners to cover your markets as well as to help manage over coverage.

You may also seek to measure partner loyalty to your brand. How happy are they working with you? How likely are they to continue or take their business to competitors? What are the drivers of partner loyalty in your program?

Oh yes - Financials. Financial metrics, particularly revenue, are lagging indicators. They measure the performance outcome of the entire program. But without the other program metrics, you do not have the tools and insights to proactively manage revenue production.

Measure what matters. We have covered a lot of various program metrics in this blog. It is important to focus on measuring what truly matters. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where your time is spent managing metrics instead of optimizing the ability of your program to achieve your objectives.

Responses to Partner Performance - Measuring Program Effectiveness

Gianluca Marcellino
http://gianlucamarcellino.it

Thanks Norma, this is important advice that can help organizations transition from ad-hoc management of alliances one by one to conscious management of a portfolio. This means managing deeper, one-of-a-kind relations such as alliances with systematic portfolio approaches similar to those that are more common in channel management.Some of your comments suggest that this is addressing mostly upstream vendors managing downstream, go-to-market alliances. What of this do you see applicable to downstream operators such as systems integrators, resellers and distributors managing upstream alliances with suppliers of solution components?

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