PRM Best Practice: Partner Segmentation – Value Based Segmentation & Measurement Criteria


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A tried-and-tested approach for value-based partner segmentation is based upon the balanced scorecard method. Using this approach, you can identify all of the criteria both quantitative and qualitative and assign them scores and weightings that reflect their importance, scoring each partner or potential partner accordingly.

The balanced scorecard approach works well in two different scenarios:

  1. When relatively small numbers of partners are involved and hence the process can be managed adequately using manual methods
  2. When larger numbers of partners are involved and a PRM system is deployed to conduct automated analysis

Both scenarios require good data sourced from a variety of places:

  • Your transactional or ERP systems
  • Contact databases used by marketing staff to distribute channel marketing communications
  • Contact management systems used by channel account managers
  • Training or learning management systems
  • Technical support systems
  • External sources such as data vendors, industry directories and trade show catalogs

Input from these various sources needs to be brought together into a single repository and one must ensure that it is both accurate, consistent and uniform. When these conditions are met, you can scorecard your partners.

Multiple Measurement Criteria

Establishing multiple measurement criteria creates a need for repetition and continual validation. This is complex to manage and nowhere will this complexity be felt more than in the areas of fulfillment and administration. Before embarking on this route, ask yourself:

  • Who will transfer the knowledge to your partners to the level you require?
  • Who will monitor and manage accreditation criteria attainment across your channel?
  • What systems processes and supporting resources will be made available to them to do it?
  • How will you manage education, examination and certification?
  • How will you manage certification expiry? How will you punish defaulters?

And what of those partners who do maintain their accreditation? Those who do everything that is asked of them? How will you reward them? How will you protect their investment? How will you support them to maintain their accreditation? And how will you manage those who create demand for you without actually fulfilling it? After all, many companies have the expertise and customer relationships to influence buying decisions and yet they have no interest in actually supplying the customer with the solution. Your accreditation scheme must be sufficiently robust and flexible to cater for such partners for which revenue criteria and product margin will be completely irrelevant and counter-productive.

Partner segmentation through accreditation is a proven and successful method of targeting a suitably qualified partner network or channel but only if your product is in the right phase of its lifecycle. Exclusive models such as this will deter volume channels from selling mainstream products if alternatives exist in the market. For value added channels selling early-life, specialist or low volume/high value products, accreditation can work well depending on the approach to effective administration and management of data, systems, processes and resources that exist to implement such a program.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mike Morgan
Mike has over 20 years of ICT, OA and CE channel sales and marketing management experience and is responsible for Relayware's global go-to-market strategy as well as the sales and marketing functions while overseeing the company's operations worldwide. Mike is recognized as one of the industry's leading experts in indirect go-to-market strategy best practice.


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