I had a chance the other day to continue an ongoing conversation with Richard Flynn, a principal at The Spur Group. The conversation centered on the ever-vexing issue of how to find the right partners, measure their value, and motivate them to change behaviors to be more productive. Simple stuff–yes! While everyone agrees on the importance of this challenge, Richard, who leads the company’s channel management practice, peaked my interest months ago with his definition of what The Spur Group calls the “Four Cs” – Contribution, Coverage, Capability, and Commitment. Richard and his team have done a great job of creating a framework that defines, organizes, and prioritizes a lot of what so many struggle with daily. Check out his presentation from the recent Channel Visionaries conference if you want to see the details.
I told Richard I really like the way he has built a framework for measurement and that the time has never been so right and the content more relevant. Everyone is trying to maximize resources, get the most out of their programs and partners, and measure and share all the results. So the question I asked Richard was one that I hear often, and that is simply, where do I start? How can I best acquire the data needed to measure each of these factors? Okay, that is technically two questions but they always seem to go hand in hand.
From Richard’s point of view, most companies he works with have a lot more data than they think they do. “Usually,” he said, “the challenge is not that they don’t have the data, but that it is disbursed across their organization.”
So, to a certain extent, the challenges that channel leaders face is successfully selling the need to gather and share partner data collection across the organization. This idea has to be sold both internally to upper management and externally to partners; internally because it takes resources to drive data collection, and externally because partners need to see the value in providing even more data. Channel organizations need to work carefully with partners to find ways to gather data that won’t overburden the partners—ways that make it relatively simple for them to provide the extra data needed. And relevant — Richard and I both agree that partners are far more willing to go the extra step if they understand the value to the them and the vendor.
As Richard pointed out, the purpose of all this data gathering is not just to learn more about partners, but to use the data to create individually tailored marketing campaigns, incentive programs, and business plans. As partners use the programs to be more successful, channel organizations can use those successes to ask for more resources. These resources can improve these partner programs even more, and create an evolving win-win scenario for all parties concerned.
Listen to the entire Richard Flynn podcast for more great partner insights.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steven Kellam, President at CCI
As a growth specialist, Steven is responsible for driving CCI’s evolution to expand its offerings and grow across its product suite, utilizing marketing to position the organization for continued, long-term success. He is also responsible for developing the strategic alliances necessary for CCI to achieve its revenue and profit goals, including technical alliances, service partnerships and sales relationships. Steven has experience in both the VAR space, having run a successful managed services IT business, and a background in manufacturing where he built a channel of over 2,000 partners.