• What are Best-in-Class Channel Marketers Doing Right?

    Channel best-in-class performers yielded 44% higher quota attainment, 157% higher lead conversion rates and 109% increase in average deal size relative to average performers.  What the heck are the best-in-class performers doing with their channel programs to help them be so successful? Well, pull up a chair and let’s go for an adventure.

    Here are just some of the key characteristics of Best-in-Class performers per the Aberdeen study:A recent study conducted by Aberdeen research resulted in a brief entitled: Enabling Best-in-Class Performance In Your Channel.  

    Their study represents insights volunteered from roughly 295 companies who utilize independent sales channels as their GTM foundation.   Aberdeen’s methodology (if I may paraphrase to save space) is to map channel practices of any one company against overall company performance.  This allows the analyst (in this case Peter Oxley) to compare the habits of the best performing companies to those of the laggards and average performers (for a total of 3 distinct groups).

    For reference, best-in-class performers (BiC) as a group actually yielded 44% higher quota attainment, 157% higher YOY improvements in lead conversion rates (e.g.: lead-to-close ratios), and 109% increase in average deal size YOY relative to the ‘average performers’.  The numbers are even further off the charts when BiC performers are compared to the laggards of the group.  When the difference in overall company performance is this big, doesn’t it make you wonder what the heck the best-in-class performers are doing with their channel programs to help them be so successful? Here are just some of the key characteristics of Best-in-Class performers per the Aberdeen study:

    Emphasis on quality over quantity: it is believed by BiC performers that having more resellers isn’t as good has having the right resellers. Additionally, channel partners of BiC companies are required to meet specific requirements or maintain a minimum level of activity (such as revenue or quota attainment).  81% of the of the BiC performers have a way to identify best and worst performing partners and have a recourse methodology in place for under-performers.

    Joint Marketing Planning is viewed as a way to gain partner insights and assure alignment of partner/vendor goals. In addition, Joint Planning can also provide a means to facilitate sales forecasting through channel partners. Barely a third of the Laggards have a process in place to forecast sales revenue.

    By a wide 42% margin (81% vs 57%), the best performing companies offer effective lead distribution and tracking programs which focus on sending a steady stream of pre-qualified prospects to their partners—and monitor results of those leads through a closed loop process.

    Dedicated channel marketing teams are in place to provide channel partners with unique resources and tools to help them proactively generate leads and close more deals.

    MDF funds are treated as a strategic marketing tool (not a cost of doing business).  Only 29% of the Laggards offer such a program, and their quota attainment and average deal size suffers as a result.

    Easy to use PRM systems (partner portals) are in place that provide partners appropriate information on products and programs (what I call “why sell” and “why buy” content), and marketing enablement tools.  These systems have proactive triggers and alerts that convey important announcements (push capabilities) that are relevant to partner audiences. It was further pointed out that the state of the art PRM systems would typically include multi-lingual, multi-currency capabilities.

    These are just some of the findings from the study. Request your own copy of the brief by clicking here.  Hopefully its content acknowledges your work, and positions you as one of the best in class models—or helps you re-evaluate your priorities in order to get there.

    Craig DeWolf is Vice President of Business Strategy for CCI: Channel Management Solutions.  Craig’s extensive experience spans over 20-years, across a variety of industries and distribution models. This background has given Craig an excellent perspective of the issues facing marketers and their distribution partners, and the solutions that will make them mutually successful.

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