A channel program is a big investment with the potential for a big payoff. But in order to see those returns, a channel manager can’t take a hands-off approach. Keeping an eye on the metrics to track how their channel partners are performing and taking action based on the numbers are necessary steps to channel success. And with plenty of suites of next-generation tools out there promising to gather and parse information, there’s a world of new key performance indicators (KPIs) emerging to quantify success and act as an analytics-based foundation for driving growth.
So in the world of new terminology, what do channel managers need to pay the most attention to as they sit behind that control panel, scrutinizing the numbers and making the calls on how to move forward? The following five KPIs are some of the most important to track and, when taken together, can start to give you a full picture of whether or not a channel program is on the right path to recurring revenue, as well as guide you to successfully managing the complex web of relationships that make up a channel program:
At the end of the day, channel success means bringing in revenue. So it’s critical to track and calculate your active pipeline value: all of the revenue that’s being generated not just by your partners, but the players that they themselves are leveraging to move value up the chain and into your hands.
Understanding all of the active players working on your behalf and how they’re impacting the bottom line is fundamental to knowing how much the program is worth when measured against what you’re investing in it and knowing how to tweak the positioning of your resources and adjust your incentives.
Are your partners in five companies, 50, or 500? Are their clients micro-businesses with five or 10 computers in house, or are they massive enterprises with thousand-employee headcounts that are going to need a license for each one? Are their clients looking for one very specific type of software, or do they have multiple needs they will need you to fill moving on into the future? Answering these questions and knowing the number of opportunities available with each of your partners is another KPI critical to knowing where to direct your resources.
Just having a business signed up as a partner doesn’t mean that it’s doing what you need it to do. Use your acceleration tool to drill down and define partners as active, pending, and inactive based on their behaviors. Then, if a partner is active and working on your behalf, you can invest resources to support and incentivize it. For pending partners, you can see where they’re stalled in the process and how you can get them up and generating revenue for you. And for inactive partners, you can decide if you need to retool or jettison the relationship.
In today’s world of subscription-based selling, you might assume that the size of a given deal isn’t as important as it would be if you were trying to move a traditional product. But it can be even more important. The terms of a deal that a partner is making with a client, the number of machines your solution is being installed on, the number and type of licenses, and what that all adds up to in terms of deal size is crucial to knowing how much revenue you stand to make—not just from a partner, but from any given type of deal.
You’re putting resources into your content for a reason. It’s what drives your partners’ positioning of your solution and underpins the quality of the support they provide. So are your partners actually using the content? By keeping track of the percentage of content engaged as a KPI, you can determine which of your dedicated partners are taking the time to understand your brand. But this KPI isn’t just about your partners following your lead. It can also show you how to improve your partnerships by incentivizing partners to utilize the content and how to hone the content to better tell the story and meet the needs of your partners and their customers.