Turning the 80/20 Rule Upside Down: 3 Ways to Turn Underperforming Channel Partners Around

In a previous post, I discussed how to maximize the return from your reseller relationships. According to the old 80/20 rule, you would focus your channel resources on the 20% who scored highest in the four critical factors of performance: collaboration, alignment, competencies, and capacity.

Fortunately, today’s sales engagement technology provides the tools and processes to identify partners with untapped potential in the bottom 80% and quickly turn them around. Here are three ways you can resuscitate underperforming channel partners:

1.     Deliver Your Content Directly to Channel Sales Reps

Have a partner that’s strong in alignment, but weak in collaboration? In order for partner sales reps to promote your solutions, they need to be confident pitching your value.  With a sales enablement 2.0 solution, you can rapidly create and deliver effective sales toolkits containing your best online sales and marketing resources - delivering the right assets directly to your channel partner sales reps in a way that allows them to easily consume them and quickly share them, when appropriate, with their prospects.  Key sales enablement resources should always be at their disposal.  To ensure this, select a sales enablement provider that offers a dynamic, cloud based platform that can support both push (via subscriptions) or pull (via simple search) access to co-branded and personalized materials – on any device.  Keep in mind, part of why this is important is that you’re competing with other vendors for your partner sales rep’s limited time and attention.

2.     Automate Channel Demand Generation

Do you have a reseller that’s strong on capacities (enough scalable resources to execute campaigns) but weak on competencies (marketing know-how)? Just provide a simple, automated demand generation process where they can leverage your existing marketing campaigns – it’s all about ROI for the time invested.

To successfully promote your solutions, your channel partners need marketing content and campaign assets that are locked, loaded, and ready to execute without requiring creative or deployment skills, including email templates, web pages, banner ads, videos, case studies, and more. Many of your underperforming partners may lack resources to create or even rebrand campaign assets, so you need to automate this process for them. But instead of asking them to execute canned campaigns, you should leverage a platform that allows for controlled asset customization, so they can add their unique value to the process.  And given that they will divide their time among vendors according to projected ROI, you’ll only want to share proven campaigns you can trust to reward them for choosing your organization.

3.     Simplify Channel Lead Management

Leads created by or dispersed to channel partners are valuable assets that must be monetized. The temptation here is to follow the 80/20 rule, so that your best partners get your strongest leads and work them to a high closing rate. But that doesn’t allow you to cultivate the large number of underperforming partners. Instead, let’s focus on the simplification of your partner demand generation program that will allow you to set and automatically enforce clear expectations.

First, let your partners know that they are going to be selected to receive valuable leads and participate in the lead follow-up program. Have them agree to follow up leads by stated deadlines and report on progress throughout the sales cycle in order to participate.  To make sure they can, give them a simple, fast way to receive lead notifications and provide updates – on any device – without requiring them to login to a portal. Sales Enablement 2.0 technology supports simple, big button lead notification status direct to sales reps smart phones, so they can update their lead progress in seconds – wherever they are at the time.  And be sure to let them know that future leads depend on both their accountability through the process and of course, their results.

Need a comprehensive, objective, third-party analysis of the marketing and sales performance of your channel? Bridge Metrics can meet with your team and perform a thorough evaluation to improve the ROI of your channel partner program.   For more information, contact us at 877.801.7158.

About the author

Bill Carroll


As the President of Bridge Metrics, Bill supplies the vision of Bridge Metrics. He is a mentor and thought-leader to the Bridge Metrics team and many of our clients. An experienced entrepreneur, Bill is passionate about developing powerful web-based solutions.

He graduated from Texas A&M University

Experience The Bridge Metrics Platform

Free 14 day, no obligation trial
No credit card required

All fields are required.