The Place of a Partner Profiling Strategy in the Partner Recruitment Plan Formula
Although some vendors use their own partner profiling strategy as a tool to evaluate their existing partners, partner profiling is widely used for identifying and selecting the right partners. Vendors know the importance of working with partners who successfully sell their products. Generally, vendors seek partners who possess the proficiency and competencies necessary to thrive and grow revenue. So before a partnership is formed – or an existing partnership examined – vendors need to take the time to invest and build a partner recruitment plan to calculate the impact each and every partner will have or has had on their organization’s growth.
As you can see below, creating an ideal partner profile falls right in the middle of a partner recruitment plan:
So let’s take a closer look at how each component in the partner recruitment plan equation above contributes to an organization’s revenue growth.
1- Ideal Target Buyer Profile:
A target buyer profile is based on a set of attributes that categorizes the type of people who are more likely to purchase a product.
The criteria for differentiating categories of buyers are usually based on:
- Geographical location
- Level of education
- Life stage
- Buying pattern
- Purchase history
Creating a buyer profile allows vendors to understand what types of channel partners they need to recruit and how to prepare these partners to meet the target buyers’ needs. Once a vendor has established their target buyer profile, they can then start their partner recruiting process by finding partners that are suitable to offer their customers what they really want in the most cost-effective manner.
Creating a target buyer profile also helps a vendor by:
- Aligning their solutions with their customer’s evolving needs
- Designing a marketing program to address their customer values and needs
- Discovering new customers
- Allowing partners to pursue higher percentage opportunities
- Achieving higher quality revenue
Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than businesses which are not customer-centric.
Source: 2018 Deloitte
2- Ideal Partner Profile:
An ultimate partner profile entails a list of predefined criteria for examining and evaluating partners – or in case of potential partners, qualifying future ones during the partner recruitment process – to ensure that they possess the qualities and characteristics to achieve the vendors’ business objectives. The defined criteria differ for each vendor however, they are usually based on partners’:
- Company size
- Years in business
- Solution capabilities
- Assets and creditworthiness
- Current partnerships with other vendors
- Reliability and commitment level
- Geographical location and coverage
- Target markets
- Business strategy
- Industry expertise
- Specific certifications
The ideal partner profiling ensures vendors that they are investing their time, resources, and capital on the right partners.
In addition, developing a profiling strategy helps vendors to:
- Increase productivity
- Support productive partners
- Provide additional services to partners who may be struggling
- Prevents conflicts
- Stand out from the competitors
It is important to note that as our digital economy, business industry, and customer behaviors change, a vendor needs to adjust their target buyer profile as well as their partner profiling strategy. Partner profiling is a process that needs to be re-examined at least once a year. Characteristics that were once important to an organization may change over time. Cloud Computing and SaaS industry are great examples of technologies that changed a few key attributes related to the independent software vendors (ISV).
3- Arrive at the Right Coverage Model:
A well-balanced and customer-aligned coverage model is key to driving profitable growth. A coverage model outlines how a vendor addresses customers and potential customers in its target market in order to achieve their revenue goals. Therefore, to accomplish these predetermined revenue goals, vendors make sure that partners located in the territories with the highest saturation of their target buyer are well equipped, trained, and positioned to best meet the buyer’s criteria.
When creating a coverage model, during the partner recruitment process, it is important to consider the following:
- Sales process
- Sales cycle
- Revenue from the past 2-3 years
- Customers’ purchasing behaviors
- Top 10-20 accounts
- Existing and future partners
- The current state of the marketplace
- Where the industry is heading
- Competitors’ behavior
Profiling is key to a successful partner recruitment process and crucial to recruiting the partners with the highest possibility to succeed. Therefore, by taking all 3 steps in the partner recruitment process, vendors will identify partners that are engrossed, eager, and able to succeed in selling the vendor’s solution.