Channel Partner Ecosystems Measurement & Personalization

By: Ellen Linkenhoker
person analyzing channel partner data

Putting together the perfect partner strategy takes work. It’s a task that’s never done and often doesn’t get a lot of thanks along the way—usually just growing pains.

One underlying aspect we’ve seen work wonders in dictating how and where to change a partner strategy is data: collecting data, measuring performance and performing analysis in order to interpret and offer insights.

We’ve written extensively about the ways you can optimize channel programs with data and also about the difference and use of metrics and KPIs in the channel. These are covered heavily in the report put out by Forrester’s team of channel experts, led by Jay McBain, called Unlocking The Power Of Partner Ecosystems Demands Powerful Measurement.

The report addresses the importance of ecosystems, measurement and the impact a buyer’s journey has on the entire process. In fact they go on to say, “To succeed, B2B marketers and channel leaders must embrace techniques that will measure the expanding ecosystems' influence on the entire buyer's journey and not just the transaction.”

This is something we’ve talked about in our defining the channel ecosystem post. To sum it up, being able to picture your channel as bigger than just a transactional sale is the first step towards a powerful program. (Take a look at the influencer, transactional and retention channels covered here.)

In fact, harnessing partner data inside your ecosystem can lead to personalized incentives and a better understanding of what motivates your partners to do more.

The combination of partner metrics and personalization will let us identify patterns in behavior that ultimately prescribes how best to motivate partners and their teams in the field. Whether that is through extrinsic rewards or intrinsic motivators.

Adding another layer of analysis—the buyer’s journey—creates an even more compelling understanding of where your partners are helping you. You’ll understand who is helping you fill the pipeline, convert your prospects into customer or retain your business at each renewal.

From there everything is up. The first step is data, which helps you know your partners. This leads to a better understanding of how your unique ecosystem functions. And in turn, that information ultimately gives you the fuel to revamp your partner strategy to account for your ecosystem and your buyer’s journey.

For effective engagement, we should strive to understand the differentiators of our audiences and the key drivers for their role in a successful program. Most often we think of ways to segment the channel partners and sellers to speak more specifically to their needs. By tying direct messaging and calls to action within this internal audience can build a stronger, more effective program for the channel partners and sellers.

It’s a process and a lot of us are still slowly beginning. In fact, the report leads off with, “Today’s increasingly complex channel environment means once-reliable partner performance measurements such as revenue tiers, profit contribution, certifications and customer satisfaction surveys fail to properly predict overall channel performance.”

So start small. Get your data in order. Start making moves with your transactional partners. And start the process of uncovering your ecosystem.

Need help? Download our white paper in which we lay out a few of the ways and best practices you can increase partner engagement and foster community.

Ellen Linkenhoker
Ellen Linkenhoker

Ellen Linkenhoker is the Channel Partner Solutions Lead for ITA Group. She drives the insights, strategy and evolution of the organization’s channel solution while offering advisement for client engagement and incentive programs. She’s worked as a practitioner in technology, software and service companies as part of the channel and as a vendor. She is an award-winning marketer and navigates all things channel, marketing, incentives and engagement, including pioneering thought leadership on channel partner ecosystems and the partner experience.