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It can be a rough and confusing experience when, in the course of reviewing your channel performance statistics, you run into numbers telling you that, while your partner program has grown, your revenue hasn’t. The key performance indicators (KPIs) don’t lie—despite the number of partners you have on board and the number of clients they’re working with, you’re not pulling in the money you expected. So how do you account for that disparity? And more important, how do you fix it?  

Making sense of what your partners are doing on your behalf out in the field requires monitoring a KPI that not every partner acceleration software features—and one that is truly key to understanding your channel performance. When you’re reviewing your KPI dashboard, partner activation percentage is an emerging metric that’s becoming ever more important for vendors to see and understand. So let’s take a look at what a partner activation percentage is and what it means for the success of your channel partner program.  

Partner vs. Activated Partner

Knowing the number of partners you have doesn’t tell you as much about your channel program as you might think. The real determining factor is the number of partners that are actively engaged with your company.

Are partners utilizing the training resources on a regular basis to make sure that their staff is always up to speed on the brand positioning and the features of your product? Are your partners sharing co-branded content in order to solve client problems and address client questions? And are they actually registering deals?

It’s possible that you have partners that look like they’re carrying out these behaviors to your satisfaction, but without the hard data, you can’t really know. It’s possible, for instance, to have partners that are logging on to your partner communication tool regularly and touching base, but at the end of the day, aren’t driving ideal results.

Measuring partner activation percentage as a program KPI will allow you to differentiate between partners that are “active” and partners that are truly engaged and bringing in the revenue you’re looking for.

The Right Tool for a Critical KPI

Calculating partner activation percentage on your KPI dashboard requires you to become granular with how you measure partner behavior. Tracking how frequently content is accessed, viewed, and shared, in addition to logging deal information, will give you robust, solid insight on partner behavior, as well as which pieces of content help close deals.

Just a few years ago, collecting this type of information on such specific interactions would be a logistical impossibility, let alone using it as the basis for a KPI to guide action. But luckily, the best partner management tools allow you to do just that.   

Understanding and Increasing the Activation Percentage

You may be surprised to find, once you have this KPI in place, that only half of your partners—even the ones who you think are pulling their own weight—are carrying out the key behaviors and trainings that you really need them to in order to drive ROI optimization.  

Partner activation percentage can give you a much fuller perspective on your channel performance and the tweaks you need to make to improve it. Once you know which partners are activated and which content drives top results, you can reward successful partners, incentivize the ones in the middle to engage more effectively, and jettison the dead weight to better focus your resources on what’s working. Bring that overall partner activation percentage up and the rest of your program’s KPIs will follow.