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Most Channel Managers Struggle to Maximize Partner Revenue

Frustrated Guy

Edward GatelyA new survey of channel managers at vendor companies reveals frustration in the channel among managers who say they do not have the tools and measurement systems needed to grow partner revenue.

Relayware sponsored a third-party survey of 319 channel managers designed by March Insight and facilitated by Precision Sample. Relayware released the results in a report titled “The Data-Driven Channel.”

Relayware's Gordon RapkinGordon Rapkin, Relayware’s CEO, tells Channel Partners that successful business relationships are generally based on “win-win behavior on both sides.”

“This survey was primarily aimed at channel managers working on the supplier side, rather than channel partners selling goods and services produced by the supplier,” he said. “However, channel partners can use the results to gain a better understanding of what drives channel managers and how to become better partners. Recognizing that while managing channel revenue is at the top of the list, most channel managers have deeper operational and performance goals for their channel. Information flow is a two-way need, and partners that are engaged will generally be more successful. Building an understanding of the supplier’s success metrics will enable a channel partner to improve their performance and rise in the ranks of resellers.”

Channel managers generally are unsatisfied with their current resources to manage partner relationships, which weakens the potential impact of channel programs. For example, despite the fact that measuring channel-partner engagement and productivity is the most commonly shared activity among channel managers, only one in four is very satisfied with the resources provided to facilitate it, according to the survey.{ad}

Study highlights include:

  • One-third (33 percent) of channel managers don’t track partner revenue, making it impossible to learn which activities deliver the best results — and hindering their success.
  • More than two-thirds (69 percent) of channel managers don’t track both revenue and partner activities, meaning that less than one-third track all of the activities that lead to increased revenue.
  • Only one-quarter (25 percent) of channel managers track both portfolio depth and the number of leads brought in by partners.
  • Nearly half (50 percent) believe they spend a lot of time on tasks that may not make their channel partner(s) more productive.
  • Most channel managers need at least 20 minutes to calculate the revenue of just their largest partner from the past six months — assuming they can determine it at all.

“Communication is a key component of engagement, and we all know that engagement creates a successful channel,” Rapkin said. “But, less than half of the channel managers surveyed are …

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… evaluated on channel-partner engagement. The old adage is ‘that which gets measured, gets managed,’ so if channel managers are not evaluated on engagement, it follows that it is also not the top of their list to manage. It is also interesting that less than 25 percent of channel managers were satisfied with their resources for measuring channel partner engagement — further evidence that this is an underserved area.”

Most channel managers believe they know how to make their partners perform better, but as a group, they have not embraced the frequent tracking that makes agile course corrections possible, he said.

“Driving engagement will drive the flow of information in both directions,” Rapkin said. “Clearly, suppliers need the tools to foster a successful partner program, and the suppliers that have adopted a PRM (partner relationship management) platform are better positioned to manage their channel. Engagement is a two-way street that leads to performance improvement. With the right structured data gathering and the right tools, suppliers can learn from other partners’ successes and provide all channel partners with prescriptive direction to become more successful – win:win.”


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