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The Partner Account Plan

Partner account planning (or business planning) is the cornerstone to higher partner performance. However, often it’s an often-overlooked part of the process.

Relayware Partner Relationship Management

The Partner Account Plan: The Critical Launch Pad to Sky High Partner Performance

Part 1

By Simon Taylor

The first quarter has just ended, and the first question you ask is “Did my channel partner achieve their targets?”

But before you can answer this, reflect back to the end of last year and ask:

  1. Did my channel partners and I agree on targets?
  2. Did we document those targets in a joint business plan?
  3. Did we meet to discuss progress and analyze performance?

 

If you answer to any of these questions was “no,” then you are missing an opportunity to achieve greater channel performance and drive real revenue growth.

Why are partner account / business plans so important?

There is significant research (references listed at end) that shows that targets are more likely to be achieved when both parties work together to agree what is required to be successful. And channel partners, just like direct sales teams, need a common understanding of the goals and how they can be achieved.

Working together and agreeing to a business / account plan is the groundwork for a solid base of trust and sense of joint accountability for the coming period. It’s important to listen to your partners to better understand:

  1. Their overall business goals
  2. What resources they require need to be successful
  3. Did we meet to discuss progress and analyze performance?

 

What should a partner account plan include?

Armed with this understanding, you can roll up the sleeves with your partner and document the following:

  • Sales Objectives, including revenue goals, volume targets and target accounts (customers)
  • Marketing Plan
  • Training / Certification Plan
  • Joint Investment Plan
  • Action Plan

Depending on the size and the nature of your relationship with your partner, you can scale up or scale down requirements of the partner account planning process and add in more dependencies.

Depending on the size and the nature of your relationship with your partner, you can scale up or scale down requirements of the partner account planning process and add in more dependencies.

To help get you started with account / business planning download our Excel account / business planning template here.

This will give you the basics of an account plan that you should be setting with your channel partners.

When you find that your program has outgrown spreadsheets, and you need a more holistic, integrated solution for your channel partner program, Relayware’s Business Planning module automates the business planning process for you. (See section below.)

Benefits of using partner account plans to manage partners:

A strong partner planning strategy leads to success for both parties. Achieving your joint revenue plan is the most obvious benefit to both parties.

Additional Benefits:

  • Setting realistic joint expectations
  • Outlining all sales and marketing activities
  • Establishing KPIs to track progress
  • Clearly defining target market and lead offerings
  • Jumpstarting new partners quickly
  • Building an action plan to resolve obstacles in advance

Relayware’s collaborative business planning tool:

When your channel program has multiple aspects, such as a partner portal, lead distribution, deal registration, etc., you will find your team grappling with too many disparate points of contact. Bringing these together not only makes more efficient use of resources, you also have a more intelligent view of your program that enables smarter decisions.

Make it simple for your indirect channel partners to engage and collaborate with you around strategic joint business initiatives.

With Relayware you set up and upload business plans to your partner portal, so your partners easily access, comment, accept and collaborate on the plans all in one place. You can also efficiently provide your partners with the strategic guidance they need, so they can get back to building your business and theirs.

The Partner Account Plan

Key Features:

  • Fully Configurable: Business plans are customizable to capture the information you require from your partners, and you can adjust the data you want to share with your partners. Business plans can also contain attachments.
  • Simple or Detailed: They can consist of one or many sections, with each section providing a summary.
  • Partner Goals: Business plans are a great way to understand your partners and how to help them achieve goals.
  • Time Specific Targets: Business plans apply to a period of time, such as a sales quarter or month.
  • More Than Just Sales: Sales targets can relate to marketing, training or certifications as well as sales targets.
  • 50 Standard Metrics with activity data captured automatically for easy reporting.
  • Partner Tracking: Use your business plan with your partners to agree on targets that can later be used as part of the dashboards and reports you use to track your partners.
  • Business Intelligence: Targets can then be used by reports and dashboard that you share with your partner to highlight and track progress towards goals.

References:

  • 1. Earley, P.C. and Gardner, H.K., 2005. Internal dynamics and cultural intelligence in multinational teams. In Shapiro, D.L., Von Glinow, M.A. and Cheng, J.L. (eds), Managing Multinational Teams: Global Perspectives. Oxford: Elsevier/JAI Press, pp. 1–32.
  • 2. Cleland, D. I. (2008) Project Stakeholder Management, in Project Management Handbook, Second Edition (eds D. I. Cleland and W. R. King), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA.
  • 3. Mackie D, Goethals, G (1987) Individual and Group Goals, CA, Sage Publications.

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