The tech marketer's guide to channel marketing: Measurement and tracking

How can you measure your channel relationships to know if they’re working?

When B2B Marketing held a roundtable for marketing leaders on the subject of channel partners, the number one frustration expressed was the lack of transparency when it came to understanding whether the partnerships were working.

Most complained that getting feedback from their partners was tougher than drawing blood from a stone. This left them with little evidence how effective their channel relationships and programmes actually were. This is alarming when you consider the money invested in joint marketing funds (JMF) or market development funds (MDF).

The ultimate measures of success of a channel program are revenue and opportunity creation, and you should be able to trace this closed business back to its source.

At Mitel, whenever there is joint marketing activity and it’s footing 50% of the cost of this, partners need to provide what it calls ‘proof of performance’. This includes evidence of the activity (photos from a trade show, for example), and the leads generated by the activity. The difficulty arises when the channel partner is already working those leads, so the update is not instant. 

Mitel’s solution is to apply a campaign code to the lead when it is logged at deal registration.

Doing so allows them to track that code through Salesforce.

The implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018 has made  racking more complex.

It’s now harder to gain a common view of leads, due to the restrictions around personal data and transfer.

“As vendors, we need to make it easier for our partners to tell us about their success – and that’s our problem, not theirs. Not duplicating records, being real-time, and making it easier for the partner to provide updates, and that’s nirvana. It’s tough, but we can get there.” Andy Grant, Mitel.

In addition to revenue and opportunity tracking, there are softer metrics that can track the health of a partner relationship. 

Tom Perry of Sherpa recommends the following:

  • Time to cash/revenue: how long does it take to close deals? 
  • Time to self-sufficiency: when does the partner stop needing the support of the vendor in the sales and marketing process 
  • Accreditation metrics: has the partner invested in accreditation? 

Avoid this mistake

When tech vendors want to expand their geographical reach, such as into Europe, they’ll often pick six countries and try to go wide. They would be better off going deep in one market before moving onto a second, says Tom Perry. Most US vendors will start in the UK to take advantage of the shared language, for example, before moving on to the Benelux countries, and then the Nordics. It’s far better to go deep rather than wide to begin with, unless you have very deep pockets.

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