We’re here to give you the rundown on the best ways to measure your partner program’s KPIs.
Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are used by many businesses’ that sell thru the channel to measure the performance of their channel partners. It’s rather simple: You set a goal. You put tactics in place to reach that goal. Then, you measure how and if channel partners met that goal. The hard part is coming up with measurable tactics for channel partners to execute to reach the determined goal. In other words, the steps your channel partners take to reach the finish line.
So how do you do that? Glad you asked! First, let’s look at some common mistakes in measuring partner program KPIs:
Using the same old, same old – Update your KPIs, people! The KPIs you used last year to measure the performance of your channel partners may not apply today. And don’t just copy and paste your industry’s commonly used KPIs. Take a close look at your business objectives and then formulate KPIs that will actually help improve your marketing and sales channel strategies in real-time.
One size DOES NOT fit all – Different partners perform various functions in your channel management system, so it doesn’t make sense to use the same criteria to measure all your partners’ performance. Measuring the performance of sales channels is pretty straightforward, but with marketing, there are shades of gray. Partner program KPIs have to be tailored to partners based on what you’re trying to measure.
Same goal, different tactics – Sales and marketing go hand-in-hand like peanut butter and jelly. But each channel takes different steps to reach the same goal. You want to make sure that the tactics you set for both your sales and marketing channels are aligned and not conflicted. And “aligned” doesn’t mean “the same.” Your strategies need to complement one another. Put partner program KPIs in place to measure the success of the alignment of your sales and marketing channels. For instance, a KPI defined to measure end-to-end conversion ratio will require different actions from the sales and marketing channels, although the goal is the same for both.
Let’s not be vain – Vanity metrics are nice but mean nothing to your business’ bottom line. It sounds harsh, but no one cares about anything that does not boil down to increased revenue. Who cares how many people you have on your amazing sales team? That’s an empty metric that equates to nothing. A KPI measuring revenue of sales from that amazing team would be better. A spike in website traffic means zilch if you don’t know why or how you got there. And it means even less if there are no conversions to report. An actionable metric such as conversion rates is more informative than how many people bounced from your website. Put actionable metrics in place that actually measure what’s happening in real-time.
Don’t be a tool, use one – There are a ton of programs out there that effectively measure partner program KPIs. Do your research to find the best software to track and measure partner participation in your sales and marketing partner program participation. It would be smart to implement a tool that can be integrated with your existing technology.
Now that we have gone over the don’ts of key partner performance indicators, let’s focus on the dos:
Clearly communicate your goals. A common theme with all things channel management, clear communication is key to making just about any strategy work. How can you expect your channel partners to reach a goal if they don’t know or understand what the goal is? You must be particular and extremely specific in communicating what you want your channel partners to achieve, and how you expect them to get there. If you’re having trouble with measurable goals, start with your business objectives and work your way down from there.
Set your metrics. You can’t set measurable metrics unless you have established and clearly communicated your business objectives. Once you’re set on your objectives, you need to spin that objective into a goal. For example, if your business objective is to increase sales revenue, your measurable goal could be to increase revenue this year by 15%. Got it? Now you have to determine how your channel partners intend to increase sales revenue by 15%. Those would be your tactics. “Tactic” is just another word for “action,” so don’t let semantics throw you off.
Mix up your goals. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your company won’t be either. Establish both short-term and long-term goals when you are coming up with partner program KPIs. Also, consider both low-level and high-level KPIs. A low-level KPI would put metrics to objectives that focus more on the performance of a specific channel or a function within that channel, whereas high-level goals look at the overall performance of your business.
KPIs are a team sport. Although your business objectives may come from top leadership, you should involve all the players when it comes to defining KPIs. You need the input of all channel members that are instrumental in reaching your goals. They’re going to be the ones in the trenches performing the actions needed to meet that goal.
Track your wins and losses. How’s it going? Are your partners meeting the KPI? If not, how close did they get to the finish line? Did they uncover a more efficient way to meet your goal? You have to track the progress of your partner program KPIs if you want to reach your goals. And if you don’t reach your goals, the reasons why will be outlined for you. You may have to refresh your tactics if the ones you established aren’t working.