Joint scorecards have been shown to be very effective. The idea is to set clear measures of success up front before you commit to a partnership and measure over time. Most scorecards are hyper-focused on financial results and can promote destructive behavior if left unchecked. A high tech company we worked with a few years ago offered ever-increasing margins to their highest volume partners only to find that these largest partners were pricing the tier 2 partners out of the market. This caused a mass exodus of Tier 2 partners. The second tier was established specifically to address remote geographical support needs. Customers soon moved to another competitor despite the lower price offered by the supposed “highest volume” partners.
A joint scorecard needs to address the following aspects:
• Specific desired outcomes
• Specific interim activities
• Relationship progress
• Customer experience
Desired outcomes might include revenue objectives, pipeline levels, certification levels, number of new logos etc.. Specific activities lead you to the achievement of those outcomes. These might include the number of joint sales calls, marketing events and number of partner reps with registered deals.
To measure the relationship’s progress look at the number of initiatives completed on time and partner survey scores. The customer’s voice is an important element as noted in the earlier example. Quarterly discussions with joint customers can identify the state of the customer experience. A customer survey can provide the input you need for a measurable score
One important thing to note about measuring progress is the notion that a partnership evolves over time. Part of your annual review needs to be a re-assessment of the actual components of the scorecard.