Partner metrics and performance management – a new approach.

The more data you have on your partners the better, right? Then you can assess where partners fit in your ecosystem and how they are doing. However, swimming in a data lake without water wings, or an analytics tool, can be a disaster and you will quickly drown.

However, before you look at the tools you might need to create fancy dashboards from the data, first look at the processes and people in your partner teams.

Aligned goals – if you are looking to measure your partners’ performance, firstly ensure that the goals you set are aligned to the company goals. Channel teams need to ensure that they are invested in, and contribute to, the top-level company goals and the partner performance metrics flow down from this. Partner targets also must accommodate and align with the partner goals and be a combination of joint goals. No one said this was easy, but without cross team alignment and agreement, no-one will own and achieve the goals. You can have the best performance management solution, but without alignment it will be an uphill battle.

Program modernization - Partner teams need to ensure programs are driving the right behaviour. This is becoming increasingly important with the increase in non-transacting partners who still need to be influenced and rewarded for recommending solutions. Partner programs need to compensate all partners and support their needs, with marketing assets for partners that reflect the customer journey.

Visibility – easy access and visibility of performance against targets shows everyone what is working. Partners need full transparency to know how they are doing, when certifications are due, or when customer renewals are due and what cross or up sell opportunities may be available. Vendor teams need to segment and target partners with tailored and focused content, with signposting that delivers an easy and nice experience. Partner Experience is not just a nice to have, but an absolute necessity.

Good old-fashion F2F – We know we can all achieve more virtually, but a partnership is all about relationships and understanding each other’s businesses, challenges, and opportunities and for this you simply can’t beat being in the same room. People work with people and monthly and quarterly meetings should check on goals and track progress, sharing ownership and achievements – it’s a “people thing”.

Back to data – we don’t deny that data is king, especially when you have the tools, systems, and processes in place to give visibility of performance against aligned goals. Data should drive decisions about program modernisation, segmenting, asset creation and all aspects to support partners. However, the right processes need to be in place first, with a “relationship” approach to partnerships.

Vendors of all sizes need systems and tools to interpret the data and build dashboards. However, it is the processes that define a company’s approach to partnering. The right processes will bring improvements to performance management.


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