There’s a lot of talk these days from vendors about rethinking partner programs to reflect the changing partner ecosystem. Partner levelling, or partner tiering, has been one of the foundations of the traditional partner program – and it remains so. But why is partner levelling important? And is there a better way to approach it?
While a debate currently rages as to whether to tier or not to tier, the truth is that 90+ percent of all vendors still use levelling to differentiate between partners. And that is why partner levelling is so important. That differentiation informs things like pricing, partner discounts, MDF allocation and percentages on rebates, for example.
The challenge is that partner programs are becoming more sophisticated as the channel becomes more complex. Traditionally, partners were allocated tiers based on achieving revenue and certification thresholds. However, vendors must now accommodate more partner types with new business models, including the addition of non-transacting partners to the mix.
That means that beyond the key metrics of revenue and training, vendors may require a certain number of deal registrations or opportunities closed within the year. Additionally, in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) world, vendors may require partners to do things like consume content, attend events or sign up for their webinars.
So now, partners may be subject to seven to ten program rules, where previously there were only two. For the vendor, seven to ten rules across three different tiers and 500 partners becomes an exponential set of rules to run. And for a vendor looking to scale their channel – even from 500 to 1000 partners – this becomes impossible to manage on a spreadsheet.
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But there is a better way. Part of Channel Mechanics’ enablement solution is dedicated to partner levelling or as often called, tiering. Our platform enables vendors to create rules as to how to allocate levels. Thereby eliminating the need to wait until the end of the year for tackling the task. This is possible because levelling continually runs on a real time basis.
So if I’m a partner, I can click on my partner performance dashboard and clearly see the thresholds I need to achieve to maintain or climb tiers. It will even show how much revenue I have brought in. Which in turn can be split between products, services, or even cloud and non-cloud. The dashboard will also show the training I have undertaken, alongside any other requirements to fulfil.
This makes it easy for me, as a partner, to understand a vendor’s program rules; to follow them and constantly see how they’re doing against those rules.
This is especially important when so many vendors are vying for partners’ mindshare. By giving partners the power to see where they are at any point in time helps cut through that noise. And in a crowded market, this provides a real advantage to the vendor.
For the vendor, it also empowers account managers to become sales-focused rather than spending all their time trying to plough through disparate data sets to figure out where partners stand. It also alleviates the pressure on the vendor, so there’s no last minute, end-of-year stress. Thereby creating a win-win for both partner and vendor.
To see first hand how partner levelling can help drive your channel forward, contact us today for a demo and transform your channel tomorrow!
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