Managing partners can feel like Dark Magic; juggling partners at different levels of performance. Dark Magic, that is, because it is not always obvious who are the good and who are the bad partners.
One partner could be crushing their number, but all of it was seemingly existing business. Another partner has not hit their number again, but you are told they are committed to you. To unravel who is good vs. who is bad, you need a method. A method on “How to Know If Your Indirect Channel Is Performing Well.”
This method is a two view analysis. As with many things there are leading indicators that serve as a bell weather for trouble.
How to Know If Your Indirect Channel Are Performing Well…for You the Supplier
Many of our clients channel partners that number in the hundreds and even the thousands. How do you tell who is really performing for you? The most obvious is sales production year or year, but this may be misleading. Sales production does not allows mean that the partner is investing in you. If a partner is not investing in you the sales today will be gone tomorrow. What you need is a guide.
The above link will provide you the following guide which will tell you a lot. It will tell you if your channel is performing well on two levels: today and tomorrow.
- Does Your Channel Partner Even Have a Person Assigned to You? – If not then you are probably not that important to their business.
- What Verticals Are You Going to Focus and the Metrics/Goals? – Answer this is one indicator of how important you are to their business. Another indicator is if the partner asks for your help in elevating one ranking over another.
- Revenue Is Obvious. Less Obvious Is the Revenue They Influence Which Is Particularly Important Where Clients Buy Direct. – Customers may buy direct but need a partner to deliver a solution.
- What Is the Partner Doing to Invest in You and Knowing Your Product? – They must stay current on your product and certifications to remain effective. When this declines, it is usually an indicator the partner has shifted attention elsewhere.
- What Is the Partner Doing to Invest in You and Growing Sales? – The saying going that “you must be present to win”. So true with partners and marketing. No promotion, no new logos. No new logos means trouble.
#4 and #5 are leading indicators if your channel is performing well.
For an Inward-Out view, if your Indirect Channel is performing well, you can look to #1-5. This will give you a good indicator of current and future success.
But what if the numbers are off? What if they are in decline? Is it time to fire the Partner. Maybe. But maybe the problem is you or with parts of your organization.
How to Know If Your Indirect Channel Is Performing Well…Because of You the Supplier
The fastest way to growing and losing an Indirect Channel is not caring for them. The second is not understanding their business and their motivations.
That is why we have 3 simple metrics:
- 6 Weeks: 6 weeks is the maximum time that should pass in between visits with an important partner. Why 6 weeks? Because that’s half a quarter and when things go south. 6 weeks can also be the last time your partner logged into your web-site. Show them the love.
- 2 Days: This is the ideal turn around time for a request from a Channel Partner. This could be an Order Confirmation, Request for Quote, anything. If you can’t respond in a 1 day provide a response in 1 day when you will respond. They want to know you care about them. Show them the love.
- 5 Years: What are the goals of your Indirect Channel Partner in 5 years time. Do they want to sell their business? Do they want to expand their product lines? You need to be aligned with the longer term goals of your partner.
Beat the metrics and you will see more business with the partner. They will be performing well. Don’t beat the metrics and the decline will come. This method works. I have seen the small suppliers with a negligible partner business get the highest rewards. And the partner rewards them with trophies and lots more business.
So you will know if your Indirect Channel are performing well because:
1) They are able to maintain or the metrics in Alliance Program Partner Economic Indicator.
2) You are outperforming their other suppliers against the 3 metrics earning you their mind share.
So, the prevalent question is, “Do you know if your Indirect Channel is performing well because you making your number might depend on it?”
My current company, SBI, works with companies in all industries to grow revenue faster than the market and the competition. Here is an additional article to help your channel journey:
Download the Performance Growth Metrics Tool to know how well your channel is performing beyond revenue, know how your company could be contributing to your channel’s performance, and have a framework to track your progress.
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