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The Two Minute / 36 Month Partner Business Plan

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Successful Channels has developed a range of SaaS partner enablement tools for business planning , marketing planning, scorecarding, and delivering quarterly business reviews (QBRs).   We have found that we get excellent participation rates if we make this a 5 to 10 minute process for Channel Managers and partners.  Recently, we have heard from channel executives that partner business plans need to be completed in even less time.  My favorite quote which I heard recently from a channel executive was “10 minutes is too much time for my guys (channel managers) and their partners.”  “We need a 36-month business planning process that can be completed with our partners on one page in two minutes or less – any longer and we lose the attention of our partners.”   At first I laughed when I heard this requirement, but after a couple of days of thinking about it I realized that even 10 minutes is too much time for a partner to participate in a process that they don’t believe in and don’t find valuable.

Capture

Partners represent several different products and if each of them require separate business plans and quarterly business reviews (QBR’s) this adds up to a large time commitment.   More importantly, the primary value for partner planning is for the vendor / supplier to help increase sales commitment levels.   Partners often get little to no value out of a vendor-required planning process.   An average partner represents six different brands and is asked to do business plans and QBR’s for each.   That equates to a total of 24 meetings each year to fulfill their vendor planning commitment.  Unfortunately, if the partner gets little to no value from these meetings they will not earnestly participate and planning processes will not achieve the intended goal of motivating and enabling them to grow.

Why do partner business planning in the first place?  Joint partner planning only works if both parties get value.   Here is what each party is looking for in a successful planning process

SuccessfulChannels_Images1-43SuccessfulChannels_Images1-42A plan that is completed in literally 2 minutes has to rely on saved / pre-packed values for virtually every step in the partner planning process.  Partners can pick and choose from pre-defined values and plan options to create their custom plan in a hand-full of clicks.

instant plan

Partners and channel managers have the ability to switch between the 2 minute instant plan and the 10 minute planning workflow at any time.  They click on the appropriate button, all values are saved, and they are moved to the selected partner business planning process immediately.   To be able to complete a comprehensive 36 month partner business plan in two minutes, partners are provided a range of pre-selected options for their plan all on one page.  A partner simply selects their desired options and in as little as 10-20 clicks they have completed their first draft of a comprehensive business plan and custom profitability forecast.

Step 1:  Partner selects the products / sales plays theyll be including in their plan

Choose Products

Step 2:  Partner selects from a range of predefined growth levels for the products in their plan

Growth Plans

Step 3:  Partner selects, quantifies, and sets Achievement date for business goals

Choose Goals

Step 4:  Partner selects supporting strategies, quantifies, and defines achievement dates

Choose Strategy

Step 5:  Partner reviews and accepts or modifies average deal size and supporting service levels

Deal Size

Step 6:  Partner reviews and accepts or modifies partner’s staff salary levels

Review Expenses

Step 7:  Partner selects marketing investment level by product, saves and finalizes plan

Marketing Budget

And that is it.   A customized, first draft / 36-month partner business plan is created for the partner based on this 120 second planning exercise.   They are provided with a comprehensive partner business plan complete with a corresponding Profit & Loss statement for the plan they just created.

Plan Summary

Also included in the 2-minute partner plan is the following:

  • Summary performance tables
  • Staffing plan for your forecast
  • Goals & Strategies

This first draft partner business plan created in 2 minutes is just the starting point for a partner.   It is an initial look at a partner’s profitability for the products and solutions they have chosen to sell.   Once this 2 minute plan is created, partners can instantly simulate the impact of changes to products, sales plays and other options on revenue, costs, and business profitability.   Partners can also navigate to detailed planning steps in the full length plan and make more finite edits to customize further to align with their business priorities.

The goal of a 2 minute business planning process is to help partners create a roadmap to profitability and be specifically relevant to a partner’s business.  This process gets partners to a first draft plan in as little as 2 minutes and provides the motivation for partners to invest even more time make their plans even more meaningful.   Partners are able to get what they are looking for and at the same time the vendor / supplier can get the commitments they need as part of the same process.

When it comes to partner business planning, less is more.  Designing your partner business planning process around delivering value in as little time is possible is the shortest path to winning the heads and hearts of your channel.

Channel Account Manager Reseller CXO Successful Channels Reseller Marketer Reseller Salesperson Channel Chief Image Map
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