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Business Intelligence and Your Channel Partner Program

Business intelligence, in the channel, as in other contexts, is about the correlation between such metrics. And in those correlations lies the chance to optimize your partner program.

Relayware Partner Relationship Management

Business Intelligence and Your Channel Partner Program: Turning Raw Metrics into Diagnostics

by Ellen Muraskin

In a channel management context, metrics include opportunities and deals registered, courses completed, materials downloaded, MDF requested and spent and sales closed. Business intelligence, in the channel, as in other contexts, is about the correlation between such metrics. And in those correlations lies the chance to optimize your partner program.

Link Marketing Collateral to Sales

For example, check how many downloads of marketing collateral correlate with deal registration. If there's a sales lift among partners who downloaded this collateral, it’s a good sign that your content creation dollars were well spent.

Do some pieces of content correlate much more closely with a sales lift than others? Huddle with some key partners and investigate whether the topic, tone and target audiences of that content is right for their customers. Low download rates may also suggest that partners that aren't accurately profiled in your system, and therefore not being informed of new products relevant to their customers' industries.

Prove How Training Improves Performance -- or Fix Training

Training and certifications should correlate positively with performance. A healthy uptick here and you can show your partners in dollars and cents why they should make the investment in time and perhaps travel. Show that earnings delta to your mid-tier of partners -- those who need a little extra prodding. If you don’t have the data to back up the positive correlation, then your training is in trouble and needs to be reviewed.

A drill-down into test scores can also show if test takers are tripping over particular questions. If most people are losing points on a particular technology or product, your course content may be confusing. You are losing sales opportunities when your partners can't adequately explain your products to prospects.

Since a partner management automation solution like Relayware time-stamps all activity, you also have the chance to clock (and improve) the speed of your lead follow-through. You can prove the need for speed after handoff by finding correlations between prompt follow-up and sales. By the same token, you can see which partners let leads go stale, issue warnings, and if necessary, drop them from the program.

Prove MDF is Working -- or Fix MDF

MDF is another area in which deeper intelligence harvests gains. First, an automated tracking system helps encourage a more even, consistent rate of applications and approvals through the quarter, instead of the typical last-minute push. Second, seeing partner performance plotted with rate of MDF expenditure reveals who makes the best use of the most funds.

Ideally, you see MDF applications climb up the graph just ahead of deal registrations, for a close correlation. If the two don't move in tandem, your partners are spending MDF ineffectively. Or MDF dollars are going unused, when they could improve the performance of those second-tier partners who just need a little more guidance with marketing activities.

Similarly, plotting incentive awards together with sales performance and other activities should reveal if incentives are spurring partners to step up their game. If activity drops after the incentive is awarded, then it's become the goal by itself, and failed to do the job of making permanent changes that raise both your bottom lines. A good look at this behavior, like many others enabled by PRM software, helps you make the best use of funds.