Organizations that rely on data tend to outperform organizations that rely on gut feeling or subjective feelings. There are always exceptions to the rule, the outliers if you will, but making decisions in today’s fast-paced world of business requires access to various data points. This holds true for every aspect of an organization; product features are driven by product usage. Marketing builds campaigns based on search intent data.
When it comes to channels, this methodology that leans on data points to drive decisions tends to break down, especially for companies looking at launching a channel or partner program for the first time. For first-time channel leaders, the question is often “what data points should I even begin to look at in the first place?” Or “how do I know if I am on track or surpassing industry standards for channel engagement?” Unfortunately, these questions lead to paralysis by analysis resulting in a return to the default status of focusing on building good partner relationships.
If your organization is not open to investing in a partner relationship management solution and tells you to use Excel, you will be put in a tough spot, but do not fear because all is not lost. It will be more difficult to accumulate channel data in an easily consumed manner, but not impossible.
For example, with a deal registration solution tied into your organization’s channel management software technology stack things like Service Level Agreement timelines are easily tracked. Deal registration approval and conversion metrics are easily identified inside your organization’s CRM (Customer Relationship Management). If you do not have a PRM (Partner Relationship Management) solution in place, then a spreadsheet can be used with various columns and formulas to track timelines and conversion metrics as you move deals from left to right.
Similarly, if your organization is lacking a To Partner Marketing Automation solution that tracks partner behavior, scores partner behavior, and then markets appropriately then you can tap into things like Google Analytics to get an idea of how partners are engaging on your website. You might have to leverage UTM codes and build specific links, but it is doable. Gathering this type of Channel Data is table stakes with best-in-class Partner Relationship Management software.
With accurate, real-time channel data at your fingertips, it becomes easy for vendors to make changes to marketing campaign collateral, enablement material, incentive program, and deal registration program guidelines. Chances are, your competition is leveraging a Channel Management solution to give them insight and subsequently the ability to make changes, why isn’t your organization?
If you are left wondering, what are some of the ways channel data can be leveraged to accelerate your partner program’s success, here is a couple:
1. Move your company to a channel data-first approach:
Being able to present data as it relates to your organization’s channel instantly brings clarity to the other business units around where they might be able to help. Showing up to a weekly leadership meeting with subjective stories, as opposed to concrete data points, about the program’s success does not have the same impact as a clear report showing the trend lines associated with partner activation.
2. Speak the same language:
Deal Registrations, partner activation, partner certification status, and other channel-specific terms might not mean much to other folks in your company. Leveraging a Partner Relationship Management solution that produces data points your company can understand will help you get the support you need. The velocity of revenue, progression of the pipeline, churn reduction… These are universally agreed-upon business metrics that you can use to help your organization feel connected to the success of the channel program.
Yes, an investment upfront to get access to channel data is going to be painful, but the long-term consequences of not tapping into data points to drive partnership decisions can be catastrophic (and even more expensive). Channel managers today spend too much time chasing data points and deal updates to then populate spreadsheets. This can all be avoided by investing in a solution like Vartopia.
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