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Why It's All About Driving Partner Performance



Manage your channel management investments to drive specific behaviors.

Every channel management investment you make should be for the explicit purpose of driving partner behavior.

You should measure the success of each investment based on its ability to drive desired behavior in an economical manner.

Relevant behavior can be categorized into four buckets:

  • Focus. Are partners concentrating on the customers and solutions you want?
  • Performance. Are partners driving the business results you require?
  • Activity. Are partners meeting your requirements and receiving sufficient rewards to stay satisfied?
  • Retention. Are you securing your best partners with benefits that keep them, and their customers, loyal?

The architectural and operating elements of a channel management program, such as incentive structures and partner performance measures, should compel desired behaviors.

A company needs to engineer its partner programs to drive these behaviors in a consistent, predictable and measurable fashion. The program must also be flexible and responsive to changing market conditions.

This is often a significant challenge as partners want a program that is stable and constant, and companies require significant time and effort to change underlying systems and processes.

The key is to architect a set of “levers” into your partner program:

  • Segment. Allows clear identification and outreach for specific partner types. Optimizes all channel communications and engagement.
  • Expertise. Documents and tracks partner enablement activities. Allows for tight alignment of company sales resources with competent and capable partners.
  • Requirements. Provides partner performance measurement against specific goals. Creates and maintains essential executive alignment around channel objectives.
  • Rewards. Establishes and delivers against partner expectations of the relationship. Provides an ROI framework for driving retention activities.

Well engineered partner programs provide a stable and predictable operational framework for channel management activities, while allowing agility and responsiveness to changing market conditions.

Richard Flynn

Richard Flynn

Richard Flynn is a recognized leader in channels and go-to-market business strategy and execution. A Founding Partner and Chief Marketing Officer for The Spur Group, Richard has over 25 years of go-to-market experience in sales transformation, channel management, and customer marketing. He leads the firm’s strategic planning and marketing efforts, including customer experience, competitive strategy, and market execution.