Maximizing Partner Potential

Partner Potential

As a channel, we sign up lots of new partners every year, but historically, less than 20% will become good partners. How would we operate our channel differently if we knew who that 20% was? Well, we’d nurture and invest in those partners much differently than we did in the rest of our partners.

Every Partner has a certain “potential” to be a great partner. If the potential is high, they deserve investment ( which comes at a cost), if it’s low – they probably don’t. It’s simply too expensive to invest in every new partner at the rate you would invest in one you “knew” was going to be a hit.

How do we determine a partners’ potential? When I started in the channel, we used a couple of sources of information, early revenue ( how much they sold in the first year) and a “dating profile” of what we thought the perfect partner looked like. There were a couple of key flaws. First , early revenue often meant that the partner had quoted us in a deal and while we’d get one big ( hopefully) hit, we never established a long-term durable relationship. Second, our profile was based on what we saw in our most successful partners now – not what we saw in them at the beginning. We just didn’t have the tools to produce decision-grade information. So , needless to say, that approach was never discriminating enough to base investments on. We did what almost everyone else was doing , signed up a bunch of partners every year and hoped for the best. Which got us what we expected.

We began thinking about this problem a few years ago when we founded ChannelEyes, what if there was a way to identify and predict how successful a partner would be and our clients could just focus on the “winners.” This would be significantly more successful for everyone, vendors, and partners. So we build an entirely data-driven predictive analytic solution to the problem based on predicting the likelihood of success with a given partner.

We use data sources which include sales and partner history and augment it with various other data we can gather. We then build a “predictive model” for each of our clients which allows them to look at partners and determine where the focus should be. This provides a couple of key wins. First, it identifies your “diamonds in the rough” – where investment will actually turn into revenue, and second, it identifies partners who should be left to prove their worth, since we don’t think they have a real chance at being successful.

The real question is: How would your channel operate differently if you could look at each partner and understand their potential? Would you distribute MDF differently, invest in training and onboarding differently, recruit differently?

Love to hear your thoughts on how information like this is helpful to you and your channel.

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