Allegiance and Collaboration, Commitment and Loyalty, Training and Education, Investment and Incentives, Velocity and Resource Expansion, and Engagement—These six factors, which form the acronym ACTIVE, provide a roadmap for successful partner strategy.

AchieveUnite partnered with the University of Glasgow to launch a study of Partner LifeTime Value® aimed at learning about its underlying structure and the factors that are most important to partnership success. Central to the philosophy of this study was the notion of going beyond partnership as a locked-in commitment and instead examining it as value-based commitment. In locked-commitment, partners stay in a relationship because it would be costly to leave, but in value-based commitment partnership is viewed as actively enriching and productive so partners voluntarily stay in the relationship.

Vendors responded to questions about their attitudes and policies towards channel partners. The questions, which were based on industry best practices as well as findings from psychological literature, asked vendors to respond to statements about four stages of partnership: recruitment success, early ramp to revenue, partner collaboration, and partner legacy. Vendors responded to items such as “We have a conscious partner profile,” on a scale of one to five, with one meaning “completely disagree,” and five meaning “completely agree.”

The data was then analyzed and six broad domains of Partner LifeTime Value® were found. The domain found to have the largest impact on Partner LifeTime Value was “Engagement,” with “Velocity and Resource Expansion,” following closely behind. “Allegiance,” was found to be the least influential factor, although it was still one of the six key elements of Partner LifeTime Value®. However, when asked what they believed the most important quality in a channel partner was, the most frequent response given by vendors was “Loyalty.” This suggests that “Commitment and Loyalty,” while important, are over-valued by vendors and the importance of factors such “Velocity and Resource Expansion,” are undervalued. In other words, to be successful in Partner LifeTime Value® generation, the vendor’s behavior needs to change.

Our team developed the results of this survey into a Partner LifeTime Value® Tool, which businesses can now use to evaluate their partner strategy. This tool allows businesses to see how well they score in each of these six domains and, thus, see which areas need work. Furthermore, they are offered concrete ways to improve their partnership strategy in each domain. For instance, a business which shows weak performance in the domain of “Partner Strategy and Allegiance,” could improve by including channel partners in research, and a business with a low score in “Investment and Planning,” could improve by developing active partner strategy.

Excited to learn more? This is just the first in a 6 part series of blogs about our Partner Lifetime Value™ study and its results. Check back next week for more!