Channel partner management for international markets: Part 2
This is the second post in my series on Channel Partner Management. The subject matter is both complex and broad. What you get here is a glimpse at what’s involved, what you need to get a handle on.
Reporting and measurement
A structured sales process is a prerequisite: the CP will want to see how it fits into your reporting structure, your Management Information System. The reporting model for CPs is the same but different! Like your direct sales force they must report on their pipeline and activities within the sales funnel: leads generated, deals closed, deals lost. It’s different insofar as you are working with a matrix model: your CPs don’t have direct reporting responsibility to you. However, like your sales model, remuneration will be results based and driven.
Having the right metrics in place is fundamental to determining the success of your channel strategy, the performance of your channel partners and in building that all important trust. You will want to know:
How profitable are my channel partner relationships?
Which are my best and worst performers?
Where should we focus our future management efforts?
What are the costs of channel development?
A few fundamentals that need to be in place to support your channel partner distribution model:
Joint Business Plan (which will form part of the Contract negotiations) will set out:
• Revenue goals
• Margin goals
• Number of Expected wins
The JBP will guide your ongoing reporting structure.
Measures should include performance management such as:
o Sales volume
o Customer satisfaction
o Lead generation
o Customer retention
It’s important to also have capability measures that review your CP’s understanding of your products and services, your strategic objectives, your value value proposition as articulated to the end customer. Capability measure will help determine the training/enablement requirement of your CPs (particularly at an individual level).
With respect to your costs you will want to track:
Market development costs
Your CPs should be incorporated into your sales reporting model and your CRM (customer relationship management) system. Your CP can update whatever online system you use – for instance, salesforce.com, appshore.
A best practice reporting structure would include:
• Weekly updates of the pipeline
• Weekly/fortnightly call between the CP and your CP manager
• Monthly review with key stakeholders – both organisations
• 1-3 meetings per annum between business principals – both organisations
It is important that the CP structure is supported at all levels within the organisation.
Governance and reporting structure
A Governance Model is essential to CP management. This will outline the ongoing operational reporting structure, procedure for issues escalation, risks identification.
Keep it simple, Keep it consistent
Keep the metrics simple, and ensure they are understood. That goes for the marketing people too, who are creating marketing campaigns to support the CPs.
Don’t have complicated systems that people hate to use.