A company lives or dies by its profit, so it’s natural to focus almost exclusively on this measurement of success. When leadership asks a channel manager to substantiate their budget and hard work, it’s usually with this singular KPI. However, to ignore secondary partner performance metrics is an amateurish mistake.
Tracking partners’ material engagement, frequency of communication, and promotional activities can answer a lot of questions. Are you recruiting the right type of partner, and who shows the most potential? Are there program obstacles that discourage participants?
Learn how to measure partner engagement and derive meaning from telltale metrics to help strengthen all stages of the partner lifecycle to ultimately boost the bottom line.
How to Measure Engagement – Key Partner Performance Metrics
Partner portal logins
Portal logins—the most straightforward of all the ways to measure partner engagement—helps you gauge someone’s interest. Someone can’t receive push notifications or participate in lessons if they don’t first open the door. Keep the following in mind when interpreting this particular datapoint:
• If someone doesn’t log into the partner portal after the initial onboarding, they may not be worth your time.
• If a new partner logs in but doesn’t further engage, this may signify that they are confused about the expected next step. Given their demonstrated willingness, this is a program participant worth further nurturing with more one-on-one attention.
• If a seasoned partner gradually logs into the portal less-and-less, try to motivate them to reengage. Approaches could include scheduling a friendly chat or inviting them to participate in a co-marketing activity. If this happens across the partner ecosystem, it may be time for a new SPIFF campaign.
Training and related quiz engagement – both started and completion
A partner who is fully committed to the program is more likely to undertake training. Make sure to track both the start-rate and completion-rate (and any subsequent quiz scores). Why both?
Let’s say that a partner has a habit of starting training courses but not completing them (or failing the related quizzes). This could be an indicator that (s)he lacks the follow-through to meaningfully contribute to the channel’s success.
However, let’s say that this happens for multiple partners with the same lesson being the common hurdle. This suggests that it is not the partner with the problem, but rather the training itself.
Overall partner response to content
Use PRM tools like Allbound to track page views, content pinnings (and removals), and other measurements of interest. This lets you gauge a partners’ current interest level, even if they’re beyond the initial onboarding phase. Plus, you can identify which pieces attract the most attention and deliver value. For example, if a piece has a lot of clicks but few pins, the topic is relevant but the messaging may need work.
Partner Communication and Event Participation
Individuals learn in different ways; some partners may like the convenience of a portal, while others may prefer old-fashioned one-on-one meetings. When weighing a partner’s engagement levels, it’s important to consider all types of interaction.
Marketing and Promotion Activities
The ideal partner would frequently be using the portal to co-brand marketing content and completing MDF requests to connect with new prospects. If a burgeoning partner rarely takes such steps, it could foreshadow their overall lower profit potential.
Registered Deals and Conversion Rates
The more deals a partner registers, the better, right? Not necessarily.
Registered deals show commitment to the program and elevated potential. However, if a partner has a below-average conversion rate, it can signal problems such as:
• Targeting unqualified prospects
• Poor grasp of the product or sales materials
• Lack of timely follow-through due to divided attention
If the low conversion rate for registered deals persists, it’s worth meeting with the partner to figure out obstacles and workshop solutions. Ultimately, a partner who registers deals demonstrates a strong interest and potential to grow.
How to Leverage New Insights into Partner Engagement Measurements
To Discern Who is Worth Your Energy
As alluded to above, partners that are unwilling to engage from the very beginning of the relationship are not worth your time. The proper KPIs (like portal logins and training-starts) can help you separate uninterested parties from those who are trying but struggling.
To Improve Individual Performance
Use engagement metrics to understand where individuals are encountering obstacles and who may be gradually losing interest. Both insights can help you create targeted solutions based on how partner engagement is slipping. For instance, a partner whose deal registrations has declined may need different motivation than one who continues to register deals but has low conversions.
To Improve the Overall Channel
Trends in partner engagement can create a roadmap on how to improve your program. Observe the following patterns to discern new opportunities:
Engagement drop-off within the lifecycle of a partner. Partners’ interest will naturally fluctuate, but are there are common points at which your partners tend to disengage? Such insights can reveal unintended barriers within your processes. For example:
• If engagement drops during the training stage, it may imply that the “ramp up” timeline may be too long or that the messaging may be hard to digest.
• If partners disengage after registering a few deals with no completed transactions, it may suggest that your sales materials are lacking, partners feel unprepared, or their expectations of the process didn’t align with reality.
• If partners disengage after a few completed sales, it can signify that they take issue with their perceived ROI and the partner commission structure.
Engagement drop-off trends alone won’t be enough to diagnose the specific problems. However, when auditing your channel and collecting partner feedback, the data can correctly narrow your focus.
Individual pieces of content value. Do partners tend to “get stuck” on the same stage of training? Does a particular playbook result in below-average conversion? On the other hand, do partners show preference for one piece of content in particular? Engagement measurements can help you consistently refine your content library.
Engagement data for different groups of partners. An in-depth platform like Allbound will extract performance metrics for individual groups of partners. Possible classifications could be based on geography, title, industry, and company size. Comparing how one type of partner performs against another can help you identify:
• The ideal partner for you to recruit. Does one type of partner tend to not engage with program offerings as much as the rest? Clearly, you should not waste your time pursuing similar prospects in the future.
• Underserved partner groups. Suppose that there is a partner group that regularly logs into the portal and attempts to start training with little success. Or perhaps they register deals that never progress a certain point. This could suggest that you are failing them rather than vice versa.
In the latter case, evaluate your onboarding process and sales playbooks to identify any gaps in the group’s experience. After all, marketing content for American audiences may not go over well with Japanese prospects. Another example? Perhaps you falsely assume that a partner-group has a baseline knowledge that most members lack, creating a need for a new training. How do you know for sure? Pair quantitative partner engagement measurements with in-depth conversations with trusted partners to learn their unique perspectives on what’s working and what’s lacking. For additional guidance, consult with your Direct Sales team about which strategies deliver the best results for specific customer groups. Alternatively, check out The Ultimate Guide to Partner Relationship Management to learn about general best practices.
Measure Partner Engagement Metrics With Allbound
PRM software like Allbound centralizes all partner activities, from onboarding to deal registration. This enables you to track various stages of engagement and identify how they interconnect. The Channel Insights feature lets you organize and visualize data points to deepen your understanding.
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