First off, congratulations on the new role! And if it’s your first time in channel management, welcome to an exciting industry. With a little planning and legwork, you should be able to transition into your new role in no time. Having a game plan for your first 90 days not only sets you up to flourish, it ensures that your channel is optimized for success.
Your first 90 days will establish the foundation for things to come. First impressions go a long way—so here are some tips so you can make quick wins in the first few months on the job.
Observe and Evaluate
If you can’t measure your partner program, it’s nearly impossible to improve it. However, every channel program is different—and your first steps will depend on how developed the program is upon your hire. Take a good look at your current program. Is it brand new or is it well established? Is it healthy or does it need some improvement?
To determine the state of your partner program, consider the following components.
Content: Partners should be able to discover, consume, and use content. Getting the right content to your reps results in relationship – and data-driven growth. You should be able to measure utilization of content by partners and there should be a correlation between consumption and revenue.
Training: Training should be designed so partners know exactly how to position your product. To evaluate your team’s training program, look for a correlation between learning and earning. Is your partner journey well defined? Is there a clear progression from recruitment to onboarding to training? Is there a link between your training offerings and your partners’ success?
Incentives: In addition to training, the best partner programs include certificates and gamification to track success and incentivize partners. To track the true health of your partner program, you should be able to see a long-term effect of your incentives.
What do channel managers need to pay the most attention to in their first few months? The following five KPIs are some of the most important to track and can provide you a full picture of whether a channel program is on the right path to success.
- Active Pipeline Value: The revenue generated not just by your partners, but the players they’re leveraging to move value up the chain. Understanding your active players helps illustrate your program’s worth against your investment.
- Opportunities per Partner: Use the specific capabilities and opportunities of partners to help allocate and direct your resources accordingly. Analyze your partners’ companies and their existing clients.
- Number of Engaged Partners: A partner program can’t be successful if partners are not engaged. It’s your job to make content and resources easily accessible to your partners at all times from a centralized place. Not only should you be aware of how many partners are actually engaging with your company and channel sales content, but you should also have insight into what specific content your partners are leveraging. That way you can create similar content to help your partners sell more instead of wasting time on content that no one is going to use.
- Average Deal Size: Even in the world of subscription-based selling, deal size is essential. This metric outlines the terms of a deal, the number of machines your solution is being installed on, and the number and type of licenses—which ultimately provides an idea of revenue.
- Percent of Content Engaged: This metric determines whether partners are using your content, but also if partners are taking the time to understand your brand. It can also show you how to improve partnerships by incentivizing partners to utilize content, as well as how to better tell a story and meet the needs of your partners and their customers.
Identify Top-Performing Partners
Reviewing KPIs is also an ideal time to analyze the impacts of your partners. Through data collection and other methods, it’s possible to identify the best partners. In addition to identifying opportunities per partner and partner engagement, here are some signs that a partner is worth holding onto:
- Their expertise aligns with what your customers need.
- They have demonstrated strong financial performance.
- They leverage social media and share your content.
Unless your partner program is perfect upon hire, tweaking your channel management strategy is not only a completely normal procedure—it’s a surefire way to modernize your program to meet any market shifts. Not only is it important to recruit and retain the best partners, it’s essential to create a best-in-class experience that emphasizes their needs and goals.
Looking to bolster your partner program? Consider implementing a partner portal.
As a new channel manager, you’ve inherited your partner program—for good or bad. If you’re in need of a refresh, or are simply looking to optimize your results, sales acceleration tools may be exactly what you’re looking for.
Next generation partner relationship management tools (PRMs) enable partners—and management—to succeed. This technology boosts communication and alignment out of the gate. It enables your team to make the most of content to drive your sales cycles. It turns data into insights, improves business intelligence, and drives partner engagement. Finally, it enables you to collaborate with channel reps and keep them motivated, all while accelerating the sales cycle.
For new managers, sales enablement encourages faster time to value and time to market. How’s that for helping you during your first 90 days?