Actionable Insights And Metrics That Unlock Channel Sales Growth
Importance Of Channel Sales Metrics
Today, actionable insights are the backbone of channel sales organizations. Collecting the right data and transforming it into actionable insights enables channel sales leaders to spot risks, find opportunities for growth, and make smarter decisions. In other words, tracking the right metrics could mean the difference between hitting your channel sales number or coming up short.
Digital technologies allow channel sales leaders to track an endless number of metrics. Choosing the right ones — the vital few — is essential. Too often, organizations waste time and effort tracking metrics that don’t improve decision-making or performance. Another common mistake is looking at metrics in isolation. This leads to false conclusions because you’re not seeing the big picture.
Getting Metrics Right
The following are metrics commonly tracked by channel sales organizations. Each can, and should, be modified to provide more meaningful and actionable insights.
- Number of partners. Tracking the number of partners is a classic example of a “feel good” metric. Understanding the trend in this number is important, but it doesn’t provide actionable intelligence. Instead, track your active partners. The percentage of active partners is the percentage of partners involved in selling, influencing, and/or supporting customers within the past three months. Another telling metric is the percentage of active salespeople within each partner organization. Make the shift to these two metrics to more quickly identify problems and opportunities with your current partner community. Combine these with insights gained from other growth potential metrics to make better decisions about where to prioritize time, effort, and investment.
- Number of new partners. Getting a partner’s signature on an agreement doesn’t guarantee future revenue. Increase your confidence level by tracking metrics providing more actionable insight. Track the improvements you should be making in your partner qualification criteria and in your partner onboarding process. One example is onboarding completion rate. This is the percentage of new partners that complete all their required onboarding training and activities within an agreed time period. Another is the average time between recruitment and the partner’s second deal (versus their first deal, to avoid counting on “one-hit wonders”). The faster you can help partners secure their first two deals, the more likely they are to become long-term, actively contributing partners.
- Total partner revenue. This is one you must track. Analyzing it in isolation, however, can lead channel sales organizations to falsely believe they’re effectively leveraging the channel multiplier effect. An example is when channel partners are simply fulfilling orders versus generating incremental revenue. It can also underrepresent channel partner contribution, since it doesn’t measure the value provided by nontransacting partners such as referral partners. Get the full picture by tracking partner-sourced revenue, the revenue directly attributed to the efforts of a partner. In addition, track partner-influenced revenue. This is the revenue not directly attributed to a partner but that a partner(s) helped advance or close.
- Deal registrations trending. Knowing how many deals a partner is pursuing over time is a good indicator of partner engagement trending. It’s also an important indicator of partner satisfaction with the deal registration program itself. It doesn’t provide any insight, however, into the quality of the opportunities they generate or how effective the partner is at closing them. Look to metrics that expose partners needing more training or that need to enhance their marketing and demand initiatives. For example, benchmark how each of your partners are doing compared to their peers (and direct sales, if applicable) using metrics such as win rate. Win rate is the percentage of deals registered that closed. Another is pipeline coverage, which is the total value of registered opportunities compared with their target revenues.
Without the use of the right channel sales metrics, it’s difficult to track, or to predict, your partners’ performance. More importantly, it’s difficult to identify where and how to improve their performance. That said, defining even the right metrics doesn’t help if the data can’t be easily accessed and isn’t regularly updated. Your go-to metrics should be shared and watched regularly and displayed on your data dashboard.