While Investment and Incentives may sound like a rather unexciting factor, our Partner LifeTime Value® study shows it plays an even larger role in building successful channel partnerships than even partner loyalty. Organizations that have a thoughtful, well-structured approach to partnership perform better than those that don’t. They have:

  • Conscious partner profiles
  • A structured onboarding process for partners
  • A coverage plan showing which regions and segments are open
  • A budget to promote our strategies and generate new leads
  • Case studies showing successful partner relationships

Having a conscious partner profile plays a particularly important role. In fact, partners who described themselves as not having a conscious partner profile show notably lower revenue growth than partners who do. This suggests that something as simple as taking the time to think about what your ideal partner looks like (e.g., services offered, type of revenues, number of employees, business model mix) can have a measurable business impact. We have seen companies who do this well obtain 30-50% more revenues from that partner type because they understand the business so well and have educated the whole of their company as well to support them. In addition, we have seen effective partner profiles lead to improved demand generation and 3-4x the deal registration because of the accurate profile.

The other four items also have an impact on channel partnership success. Conducting case studies of partnerships can contribute to the quality and depth of the partner profile. Having a budget to promote joint strategies, including lead generation, may seem obvious, but many companies do not do it effectively. The companies who jointly market with their partners are tied more tightly together and generate more revenue longer term. Similarly, creating a partner coverage plan and a structured onboarding process are all important aspects of partnership- building. A partner coverage plan sets clear expectations about who is doing what in the business plan and execution phase of a partnership, and it minimizes the chances of inefficiency or oversights throughout the partnership process.

The findings of the Partner LifeTime Value® study show that in channel partnerships, like other forms of relationships, the importance of careful work and long-term planning cannot be underestimated. Investment and incentives play an even larger role than more glamorous sounding concepts like loyalty and gratitude. Loyalty, especially earned personal loyalty, does play a role but when working to improve Partner LifeTime Value®, the Investment and Planning checklist is a straightforward and productive way to start.

Curious to learn more? This is the third in a 6 part series of blogs about our Partner Lifetime Value™ study and its results. Check back next week to learn how engaged your partners really are and why this matters!