For several months now, B2B channel suppliers have issued full-scale alerts announcing efforts to locate and capture the ever-elusive ROI (pronounced “Roy”). Not since INTERPOL issued its bulletin seeking capture of the infamous Spanish terrorist “Carlos” has there been such a widespread effort – involving hundreds, if not thousands, of global organizations – to achieve a singular purpose.

Join Us At Summit EuropeCapturing ROI data is key to understanding what it takes to grow a company’s business in new markets or launch new offerings through channel partners. However, ROI is not so easy to find. Of course, there have been sightings, namely from one-off EMEA channel sales and marketing programs claiming that not only have they found ROI, but they can, with some degree of accuracy, pinpoint and capture it.

Here are a few reasons why netting ROI data is so difficult:

  • First, ROI cannot be located easily once the proverbial EuroRail train has left the station. Once a channel marketing initiative is underway, if there’s no hint of what the ROI will look like or where it’s likely to be found, it becomes increasingly difficulty to report on. Like forensic detectives, many channel marketers wait until the activity is completed, then go back to look for traces of ROI, digging through partner relationship management reports and disparate partner sales force automation records. Suppliers will have a higher degree of success if they start by predicting likely outcomes of their demand creation tactics (e.g. content syndication, search engine optimization, events) instead of waiting for these to conclude or trying to measure ROI as they are in progress.
  • Second, suppliers cannot find ROI alone. Partners must be enlisted to collect data and report on ROI findings. Use a program concierge to set partner expectations on what form ROI is likely to take and when/how often partners should report on their progress when executing marketing plays with their suppliers. This conversation should take place between the concierge and the partner in the partner’s local language, using methods familiar to the partner (e.g. scheduling followup calls to measure a program’s ongoing progress).
  • Third, technology alone cannot find ROI. There are no uniform processes or systems supporting the capture of ROI data across fragmented European partner portals. INTERPOL can use its worldwide database that extends across countries during a manhunt, but let’s be realistic – partners are not registering deals into a common database each time they board a flight or open a smartphone app to upload ROI data. Nor is there a magic wand that European suppliers can wave between two systems – the partner’s and the supplier’s – to automatically report on ROI.

Not until EMEA suppliers take a more holistic approach will they have a chance of collecting ROI data from partner-led marketing programs, especially in EMEA.

On October 22, during SiriusDecisions Summit Europe 2014, I will present “Understanding the Partner’s Journey to Maximise Channel Effectiveness,” looking at which routes to market suppliers should choose to support their goals. I’ll also discuss how to measure the success of channel growth initiatives to prove that strong partner ROI data exists and can be reported on with confidence. Join us as we continue in our efforts to help EMEA channel programs find ROI, not just across the Atlantic, but beyond.