Just as in love, getting a worthwhile return on your investment in a channel partnership takes active management and the know-how to properly evaluate each component of your relationship. Here, we provide a basic evaluation framework to help channel managers track performance, measure capabilities, compare ROI, allocate more resources to strong performers, and provide remedies for weaker partners.
Questions your evaluation will ultimately answer include:
· Which are the strongest and weakest partners?
· How profitable is each partnership?
· What level of management for each partnership is required?
· How can we strengthen our strongest relationships and exit our weakest?
Before you can answer these questions, you’ll need to assess four critical factors of channel partner performance, and the areas that comprise them:
Your strongest partners are your most collaborative, acting with the same sense of unified purpose as Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Warren in the climactic scene of “Dirty Dancing”. To evaluate your partners’ levels of cooperation and to distinguish your top performers, score cooperation on these four components:
1. Sharing of market data
2. Knowledge of products and services
3. Proactive learning, including asking for more information
4. Proactive proposals of business strategies for your solutions
Dr. Neil Clark Warren of eHarmony once said “Opposites may initially attract, but they eventually repel.” The same is true of channel partners. Score your partners’ alignment on these “dimensions of compatibility” as Dr. Warren would suggest:
1. Selling methodology matches yours
2. Representatives are consistently on-brand and on-message
3. Focused on the right business priorities
4. Following your MDF guidelines
The more relationships you’ve had, the wiser you become. Positive initial impressions don’t make you swoon with giddiness or set you up for heartbreak. You’re on an even keel, looking for competencies that can sustain and grow your partnership over the long term, including:
1. Profitability in marketing activities and sales engagements
2. Effective training and business processes
3. Expertise in your industry and markets
4. Quality of customer service
Do you see this relationship surviving in sickness and health? Healthy young lovers can only project their partner’s capacity for love when hair turns gray and bodies grow weary. Channel partners need the same realistic foresight to evaluate whether partners have:
1. Appropriate sales and marketing resources to sell our solutions
2. Scalable resources to deal with steep slopes in product lifecycles
3. Existing or potential credit issues
Need a comprehensive, objective, third-party analysis of your channel relationships? 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.