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  • You can't handle the Truth.

    Posted by Jacqui Rand Apr 16 - Category: News/Updates - 103 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #Channel  #partner  #Portal  #partnerportal 

    A few good partners, is all you need, but to ensure they perform, you will need to work with them to understand their business and work together in partnership.  But how does that process scale?  Once you go beyond a handful of partners, even the simple things can become hard – like keeping all the partner contacts up to date so you can target communications; sending the sales executive the new sales demo script, the marketing-lead the new collaterals and the technical architect the product update information. Most vendors just hope the individuals go “find what they need” on their partner portals and then wonder why less than 10% of their partners are performing.

    Firstly, do you really know your partners?

    And if you could profile them, what next?

    Can you handle the marketing and management

    of those partners in a way to increase performance?

    All but the smallest vendors will have some form of PRM (Partner Relationships Management system) whereby they will track certifications and partner levels and even the lead-to-revenue journey, but unless they are directly-managed they are unlikely to know much more. The information held and monitored is primarily of a transactional nature and yet understanding your partner businesses is the key to mapping leads to the right partner and driving the right marketing, sales and technical content to support your partners.  

    The key thing to learn about your partners is how they add to your partner ecosystem; what do they have beyond certifications such as vertical knowledge, associated technical skills and other experience that makes them unique. If all you know is what revenue they bring to you, you really need to rethink your tactics. How will you know which partner to select when passing leads and how can you build a team to deliver on a specific project without deeper knowledge of the skills, resources and nuances of your partner ecosystem?

    Surveys can capture a moment in time information, but ideally you need to maintain a portal or system that enables partners to keep their own information up to date. This should include everything from contact details through to their unique proposition and offering, enabling them to present that to you and other partners; helping with partner-to-partner engagements. 

    There are some big numbers bandied around by the industry analysts such as an $8bn industry in partner-to-partner business opportunities. Perhaps an easier one to visualise is that there is 20% of additional revenue available to partners when they partner with other partners. As a vendor, you can facilitate this P2P opportunity by sharing the partner profiles within your partner ecosystem, securely behind your firewall, but thereby enabling partners to “partner up” with other partners, with your technology at the core. If the result is healthier and wealthier partners everyone gains.

    Capturing contact details, proposition information, vertical alignment, target customer and other information about your partner can help you, as a vendor, build and distribute the right content to the right partners. But what incentive is there for partners to “self-profile” I hear you ask? Simple; if it is done in a way that benefits the partner, so enabling them to take advantage of P2P opportunities within the ecosystem and also providing targeted information so individuals can self-select topics of particular interest to them, (such as verticals or even closed interest groups such as beta product testers).

    The challenge is twofold; capturing the interesting anecdotal information that makes your partners unique and then ensuring you handle that to best effect; channelling the right information to educate, inform and engage your partners.

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