A new survey released by BLUEROADS and SiriusDecisions has demonstrated a clear link between the types of partner programs that top channel executives emphasize and their impact on revenue growth in the indirect channel. Of those executives surveyed who said they focused on sales ‘effectiveness’ strategic activities such as lead management and deal registration, 62 percent reported an increase in revenue in 2008.
Paradoxically, 80 percent of the channel investments by the vendors that were surveyed focused around tactical issues such as training, partner portals, and partner communication tools – all activities that simply automate the relationship with partners. Of those who focused investment on these types of ‘efficiency’ programs, only 40 percent reported an increase in channel revenue in 2008.
Nearly 60 percent of respondents recognize they need to spend more on sales effectiveness programs in 2009. However, their intended actions don’t necessarily support that goal. For example, training and partner content portals were among the top technology investments, yet these are often simply easy-to-implement infrastructure investments with limited return.
Several other data points from the survey point to the need for a change in focus away from efficiency initiatives for channel chiefs in 2009:
*Most are not measuring and monitoring the performance of leads or sales opportunities effectively
*Required reporting from the channel focuses merely on tactical pipeline and deal status, rather than on strategic issues such as lead acceptance and deal registration, which hampers the opportunity for vendor staff to provide high value sales support to the partner community.
BLUEROADS points to several key recommended investment areas that will help channel chiefs to boost effectiveness:
*Measurement of every partner, lead and opportunity KPI
*Generate high quality leads for the channel
*Rapid delivery of leads to channel
*Get each lead to the right partner every time
*Lead and opportunity accountability on the part of channel partners
*Protection from channel conflict
*Bi-directional accountability and benefit for all revenue generating programs
*Selling guidance and coaching to help partners accelerate sales cycles
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