Putting together the perfect partner strategy takes work. It’s a task that’s never done and often doesn’t get a lot of thanks along the way—usually just growing pains. One underlying aspect we’ve seen work wonders in dictating how and where to change a partner strategy is data. Collecting data, measuring performance and performing analysis in order to interpret everything and offer insights.
We’ve talked heavily about the ways you can optimize channel programs with data and also about the difference and use of metrics and KPIs in the channel. These are covered heavily in the newest report put out by Forrester’s team of channel experts, led by Jay McBain, called Unlocking The Power Of Partner Ecosystems Demands Powerful Measurement.
The report speaks to the importance of ecosystems, measurement and the impact a buyer’s journey has on the entire process. In fact they go on to say, “To succeed, B2B marketers and channel leaders must embrace techniques that will measure the expanding ecosystems' influence on the entire buyer's journey and not just the transaction.”
This is something we’ve talked about in our defining the channel ecosystem post. To sum it up, being able to picture your channel as bigger than just a transactional sale is the first step towards a powerful program. (Take a look at the influencer, transactional and retention channels covered here.)
In fact, harnessing partner data inside your ecosystem can lead to personalized incentives and a better understanding of what motivates your partners to do more. Our own SVP at ITA Group, Rob Danna, said, “Mass personalization combined with customer and partner sentiment metrics can provide visibility to intrinsic and extrinsic motivators based on patterns of behavior.”
Adding another layer of analysis—the buyer’s journey—creates an even more compelling understanding of where your partners are helping you. You’ll understand who is helping you fill the pipeline, convert your prospects into customer or retain your business at each renewal.
From there everything is up. The first step is data which helps you know your partners. Which leads to understanding how your unique ecosystem functions. That ultimately gives you the fuel to revamp your partner strategy to account for your ecosystem and your buyer’s journey.
It’s a process and a lot of us are still at the beginning. In fact, the report leads off with, “Today's increasingly complex channel environment means once-reliable partner performance measurements such as revenue tiers, profit contribution, certifications and customer satisfaction surveys fail to properly predict overall channel performance.” So start small. Get your data in order. Start making moves with your transactional partners and start the process of uncovering your ecosystem.
Need help? We’ve got experts you can talk to about where to go next. Contact us.