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Five Strategies to Become Your Partner’s Favorite Brand

Partner Performance Scorecard 2

“I am totally focused on growing your brand for our business.  You’ve already shown me a path to become more successful and help me run a profitable growth business.” This quote is from a partner who found his favorite brand to work with. This vendor brand did not become the partner’s favorite overnight. It was a result of a vendor’s careful study of a partner’s business. The vendor provided detailed illustrations of where the partner is today, created a custom path for improved results, and illustrated how profitable the partner can be if this plan is followed. Although this sounds like a lot of work, it can be accomplished for all of a vendor’s active partners in almost no time.

Strategy to become partner brand

  1. Program Performance: Show your partners exactly where they stand with your company
  2. Component Performance: Show your partners their performance on all key program elements
  3. Critical Path: Show your partners exactly what they need to do to get to the next level
  4. Profit Plan: Build a custom plan with your partners to grow their business profitably
  5. QBR: Track and measure partner success every quarter

Vendors that provide this level of partner performance guidance, reporting, and solution mapping win loyal and committed partners for the long term.

Here is an example of a Partner Performance Scorecard where partners can instantly visualize where they stand with a vendor’s program.

  1. Program Performance: An overall summary of a partner’s program status

Partner performance scorecard

2. Component Performance: Partners want to see the detailed actions behind this level of program performance

Partner Components PerformancePartner Components Performance 2

This kind of partner performance scorecard can be created automatically for all active partners in your organization using data that is collected from other systems. An “active” partner is one that is taking regular actions to stay engaged with a vendor’s products and program. Typical partner program performance levels are set based on a combination of financial (sales) metrics and other enablement / commitment-related metrics. Examples of these include training, accreditation’s, certifications and other administrative and planning-related activities.

Because this Partner Performance Scorecard is created automatically, it allows vendors to avoid an uncomfortable question of asking partners for information they have already provided to the vendor.  This is followed with a 2-3 minute deeper dive questionnaire into a partner’s capabilities to create a more comprehensive scorecard. These additional questions help create a diagnostic scorecard on how a partner is doing on other growth-related metrics.  The combination of these two dashboards provides a comprehensive summary of the current partner “as-is” and sets up a prescriptive “how-to” discussion for achieving partner growth.

Partner Score

3. Critical Path: Channel managers are able to set specific goals and actions for achieving better partner performance

All partner “as-is” success metrics are consolidated into one view to allow the creation of customized improvement plans by metric. Channel Managers are able to pinpoint specific improvements and create time-bound goals with the partners. The example below highlights a partner that is focusing on three vertical markets and is willing to expand their focus to three additional verticals by May of 2017.

partner Goals

4. Profit Plan: Create a customized profit plan for the sale of your brand

Two of the most critical factors for gaining partner commitment are providing products that are easy to sell and are profitable.  Creating a customized profit forecast will make your brand a favorite for your partners and allows them to confidently invest with the plan for margin.

ROI By Product

 

5. QBRs: Celebrating a partner’s successes, collaborating on improvement areas, and planning new ways to grow

Quarterly business reviews allow channel managers the opportunity to look backwards (performance-to-plan) and track how their partners are achieving the sales targets that they set for themselves.  QBRs  also allow channel managers the ability to look forward at partner pipeline levels to see if future sales opportunities are aligned with sales targets.

Partner Plan

The preferred brand will always be the one that shows it understands a partner’s business and helps them define a path to success.  Vendors that help a partner align their business capabilities for achieving profitable growth turns the relationship to a consultative “how can I help you succeed” discussion.   Channel managers can distinguish themselves with their partners by helping diagnose growth issues and laying out a plan for increased profits. The tools highlighted in this article demonstrate how to put these five strategies into action to create committed and effective growth partners.

 

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