Channel Marketplace Blog

Must-Have Features to Demand in a Partner Performance Dashboard

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 27, 2020 10:24:35 AM / by Gary Morris

Gary Morris

End the fruitless search for partner performance management systems. Building strong partnerships and simplifying channel management is possible with the right intuitive dashboard tool that has the specialization to do the heavy lifting for you.

Dashboard-IconsChannel executives have long sought out a comprehensive turn-key performance management dashboard where their channel managers could monitor, manage and measure all of the elements of a channel program seamlessly, with little wasted time. What if we told you a dashboard does exist that could bring all the key program and performance metrics together in one place? Set goals, assess capabilities and measure performance, all at the same time — sounds too good to be true, right? It is finally a reality.

Channel executives have up until now had to make due with tools that were never designed to support partner planning and performance management. A new tiered dashboarding system that “snaps” into existing channel infrastructures can transform how Channel Managers work to motivate and measure their partnerships.

The right system, specifically designed to display a partner performance summary, can be used as an “instant QBR” while building partner commitments and measuring goal achievement. Channel Managers need a comprehensive, real-time, business planning and performance management dashboard for effective partnership management.

Why has it been so hard to create good channel partnership dashboards?

  • Data is Scattered: Data is tracked in various systems inside and outside an enterprise, making it particularly difficult to have a single consolidated view of channel performance on all key program metrics.
  • No Integration: Until now there hasn’t been a way to consolidate the views of channel partner performance.
  • Business Operations can be Fragmented: Reporting processes for sales, pipeline, incentives, MDF, discounts, planning, scorecarding, and QBRs might be handled by different departments with differing tracking systems.
  • Stuck on Spreadsheets: Excel, despite its limitations, is still the go-to when it comes to business planning, scorecarding, and QBRs.
  • Lack of Channel Performance Management Vision: It took a long time before someone pulled the various outcome metrics (e.g., Sales-to-plan, pipeline-to-plan, # and quality of leads and opportunities) and direct metrics (e.g., # of deals, certifications, accreditations, products sold, market coverage, etc.) into a unified dashboard system. Many people didn’t even recognize the need for it until now.

What goes into an effective partner performance dashboard?

To effectively manage, motivate and measure their partners, channel managers need a three-tiered dashboard system that makes the process efficient and user-friendly. Eliminating wasted time and making the processes more rapid can have an enormous impact on revenue outcomes. Typically there’s never enough time to pull together all the critical elements of a goal setting and QBR process. The ultimate dashboarding system addresses this time-crunch, with a three-tiered approach to performance dashboards that deliver data quickly and elegantly.

Tier 1: Homepage Performance Dashboard:

A customizable planning and performance management homepage needs to integrate into your existing channels systems. It allows you to select and customize a range of display and navigation “widgets” to build the optimal user experience by partner type.

Easily inserted wherever your partners currently go for information on your brand, the system plugs into your current PRM / Portal, CRM or website easily and effectively. Data Integration is key, you want automated integration with all key data sources (e.g., CRM, ERP, LMS, etc.) including account contacts, sales pipeline, leads and other data to power your ultimate partner performance dashboard options. Below is an example of a homepage performance dashboard.

Homepage-Dashboard

Tier 2: Partner Program Performance Dashboard:

The most productive channel programs work with their partners to define joint goals for success. When working on joint plans, both partners and suppliers look to define goals in-terms of sales, pipeline, certifications, accreditations, jointly developed solutions, or other collaborative metrics .A one-page performance dashboard and QBR system all-in-one serves as a customized program performance summary for a partner, allowing for 24/7 updates to all key goals and metrics. Exportability to PowerPoint is also important.

The biggest challenges with effective implementation of joint planning targets is often just getting it done. It is difficult to access data, do the calculations and provide a transparent process that partners will earnestly commit to participate in. A planning enabled dashboarding system (PPD) allows for efficient partner performance management and tracking. See the example partner program performance dashboard below.

Partner-Performance-Dashboard

Tier 3: Partner Capabilities Scorecard:

This dashboard helps pinpoint where a partner’s strengths and improvement opportunities areas are in a helpful stoplight view and is exportable to PowerPoint. It is also part of a partner life-stage management process for quarterly assessments and action plans.

Channel Managers need to be able to measure and motivate their partners in a fraction of time. They need to be able to do meaningful partner planning, scorecarding, and QBRs with many more partners than technology has allowed them to be able to cover thus far. A robust and efficient partner scorecard can also allow partners to build better capabilities through action planning and goal setting, enabling them to be a more effective representative of your brand. Below is an example partner scorecard.

Overall-Score

With this three-tiered dashboarding approach, channel account managers can effectively manage more partners in less time, allowing channel executives to set up a more systematic, measurable and trackable cadence plan for managing partners. The key is to plan and implement an annual partner management cadence as illustrated below.

Cadence-Plan

Managing partnerships is a complex and time-consuming task. Until now, channel managers had to seemingly invent processes for managing and encouraging partner growth. By utilizing the latest developments in automated dashboarding tools, you can give your channel managers a replicable structure for building annual commitment plans and managing progress and performance to these plans on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. Partners, channel account managers and channel executives equally appreciate the efficiency power and growth-producing potential dashboards like these represent.

Topics: Analytics, Partner Performance

Gary Morris

Written by Gary Morris

Gary Morris is a 25+ year marketing and channel veteran.   He is a veteran corporate VP and entrepreneur who founded 3 software companies.  Gary has deep partner planning, scorecarding, and QBR expertise and most recently founded Successful Channels which is the leading provider of Channel Manager / partner performance management tools that integrate with PRM and CRM systems.