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Partner Planning: Nine Key Factors for the Buy vs. Build Decision

Partner Planning

In the indirect channel industry, most executives agree that partner planning is an important task to execute.  Partner planning has several components, and this table breaks down the four elements that are required.

Partner Planning & Perf Mgmt tools


Planning is done so executives can estimate the revenue their channel will contribute the next fiscal year.   For most global companies, the development of a partner planning process goes something like this:

  • Finance-Driven: CEO / CFO sets targets for the next fiscal year (e.g., 2017)
  • Channel Allocation: The VP of channels is given a dollar figure, typically a percentage of prior year’s revenue, that he or she must deliver in the next fiscal year
  • Top-Down Partner Targets: The VP of channels, along with the senior channel team, sets percentage growth targets that are spread equally across all partners or are targeted on a per partner basis
  • Partners Asked to Plan Target Achievement: Partners are given their “number” and are asked to prepare a plan for how they’ll achieve this revenue target.  Unfortunately, only a small percentage of partner plans are actually completed
  • Seldom are Performance-to-Plan QBR’s Conducted:  More often than not, Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs) are not completed with partners.

So why do most partner planning processes fail?  They fail because the processes are poorly designed, are not collaborative, and partners do not get immediate value from participating.

Some channel organizations attempt to build their own partner planning and performance management tools.   These “in-house” partner planning and performance management processes often fail by falling into one of two traps.

Traps For Companies

The mission for a channel executive considering a buy vs. build decision for their partner planning system is to figure out which option will gain the highest partner and channel manager participation rates.   If you are considering an internally developed vs. an externally delivered partner planning and performance management system, consider the following design requirements.

Request for Proposal (RFP) for a World-Class Partner Planning and Performance Management System:   Whether using an external partner planning system vendor or building a system in-house, be sure to use this best practice RFP for guiding your build vs. buy decision process.

The 9 Key Factors for Designing Your Partner Planning and Performance Mgmt. System

9 Key Factors Of Partner Planning

When considering the build-your-own option for partner planning and performance management, carefully consider exactly what it will take to do it well.   There are many stories in the channel industry of corporations building their own planning applications that few partners and CAMs actually use.   Consider vendors like Successful Channels with deep expertise in planning systems designed to generate higher participation rates in planning, motivation, and enablement of their partners and CAMs.

Gary Morris is the CEO of Successful Channels, a company that provides cloud-based 10 minute partner scorecard, business plan, marketing plan, and QBR tools.

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