Partner Performance Dashboards (PPDs) are powerful data visualization tools that help you monitor and optimize your partner ecosystem. These dashboards leverage a variety of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), i.e. measurable values to track progress and assess the effectiveness of specific partner-related activities, goals, and objectives.
Channel Mechanics recently hosted a webinar titled “The Power of Partner Performance Dashboards”, featuring a panel of senior channel executives. They included Laura McGregor Falko, Head of Worldwide Partner Programs at Broadcom, Brian Kroneman, Sr. Director of Worldwide Channel Programs and Strategy at SentinelOne, and, Kenneth Fox, CEO at Channel Mechanics. This blog is the second of a series of three blogs exploring topics covered during the webinar.
In our first blog How Partner Performance Dashboards are Driving Channel Revenue Growth, we explored how PPDs foster collaboration and data-driven decision making. In this proceeding blog, we continue our exploration by outlining 5 best practices for achieving meaningful partner KPIs.
Establishing these partner KPIs is essential because they provide a clear roadmap for aligning partner efforts with overarching business objectives. Thereby ensuring that partners directly contribute to your business’s success and can be efficiently managed and optimized for sustainable growth. And this all starts with the crucial step of aligning partner KPIs with your overarching business goals.
5 Best Practices for Achieving Meaningful Partner KPIs
1. Align partner KPIs with your business goals
“It really starts with the business goals, and where is your channel in line with that”. Brian Kroneman, Sr. Director Worldwide Channel Programs & Strategy, SentinelOne
Meaningful KPIs start by aligning your partnering ecosystem strategy with your overall business objectives. This alignment ensures that your partners’ efforts directly contribute to your company’s success. Thereby making you more effectively able to communicate the impact and ROI that partners bring to the business as a whole. Begin by clearly aligning to your company’s strategic priorities. Whether that be revenue growth, market expansion, or customer satisfaction, these objectives serve as the compass for your partner ecosystem strategy. If your business goals change, such as a greater focus on expanding market share or launching new products, realign your partner KPIs accordingly. By regularly reviewing and adjusting your KPIs, you will stay in sync with evolving business priorities and market dynamics.
2. Adapt KPIs as your partner roles and ecosystem evolve
Different partner types fulfill unique roles within your ecosystem, and your KPIs should reflect these contributions. For instance, reseller and technology partners may have KPIs focusing on revenue generation and product integration, respectively. However, partner roles and market dynamics evolve as your business adapts to market shifts. Therefore, you will need to continuously assess partners’ roles. Are they driving sales, providing technical support, or generating leads? This understanding guides the formulation of appropriate KPIs.
As your partner ecosystem evolves, so should your KPIs. While initial emphasis often centers on revenue growth, priorities may shift over time to include renewal rates, net new lead generation, and customer satisfaction. Ensure your KPIs align with these evolving objectives.
By aligning your partner ecosystem with overarching business goals and adapting KPIs to partner roles and ecosystem changes, you establish an effective and dynamic approach to partnership management, optimizing them for long-term success. By aligning your partner ecosystem with broader business goals and adapting KPIs in response to partner roles and ecosystem changes, you create a more effective and dynamic approach to managing and optimizing partnerships for long-term business success.
3. Focus on Insights that Drive Action
An effective PPD should provide a comprehensive view of your partner ecosystem through key metrics. However, having the data is not enough. To be truly effective, these metrics should be insightful enough to enable data-driven decision making and lead to action. For example, tracking partner booking trends could help you identify sales patterns. And an actionable insight from a decline in these bookings could be to trigger specific promotions and marketing campaigns. A drop in customer satisfaction rates associated with partner-led transactions could highlight service quality issues, prompting corrective actions such as accelerated training and/or resource augmentation. Conversely, if partner-initiated pipelines consistently outperforms internal efforts, it may signal the need to allocate more resource and investment to support and expand partner-led business and gives you the data to build that business case.
“If you don’t, when your CFO comes back to you and asks you to justify your spend in the next budgeting cycle, you may need to make some hard decisions you don’t want to make.” Brian Kroneman, Sr. Director Worldwide Channel Programs & Strategy, SentinelOne
4. Be SMART
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound—these are the attributes of SMART KPIs. Avoid vague, generic metrics that can lead to misinterpretation.
“When you’re setting KPIs, caution to be very specific, think about how that KPI will be interpreted. Make sure that they’re SMART, and that they’re actually driving what you’re trying to drive as a company”. Laura McGregor Falko, Head of Worldwide Partner Programs, Broadcom
SMART KPIs are essential for effective goal-setting and performance measurement. They provide clarity, measurability, achievability, relevance, and a clear timeframe for achieving objectives. For example, rather than using a vague KPI like “Increase partner collaboration“, you could create a specific SMART KPI like “Increase the number of joint marketing campaigns with partners by 20% in the next quarter.” This specificity not only clarifies the objective, but also makes it easier to measure through your partner performance dashboard progress and take action.
5. Create a Common Language
Data’s power lies in its ability to foster transparency and communication. The right KPIs can help you establish a common language that unifies all stakeholders, from channel managers to sales leaders to partner executives. This common language should be easily understood and consistently communicated not only to your partners but also to internal stakeholders.
This includes the channel managers, their superiors, the sales teams providing support, and executives. With the right metrics in place, leadership should be able to assess whether partner performance aligns with their expectations and the vision presented by the channel chief.
The goal is to create a common language that facilitates clear communication and understanding throughout the organization. With this shared understanding, everyone can work together effectively to achieve common objectives.
“You’ve got to create that common language, that is easily understood, easily communicated throughout the organization.” Brian Kroneman, Sr. Director Worldwide Channel Programs & Strategy, SentinelOne
The right KPIs open the gateway to success in partnership management and communication. By embracing these best practices, businesses can optimize their partner ecosystem, make informed decisions, and drive mutual growth.
Driving channel revenue growth with partner performance dashboards is now more accessible than ever…