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Channel Matters Blog > February 2013 > Plans and trust drive revenue

Plans and trust drive revenue

by Geoff Wright
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Trust is essential in building high performing channels. Resellers that have a high degree of trust in their manufacturer partners contribute 78% more sales than those with a lower level of trust. Geoff Wright looks at the relationship between partner planning, trust and revenue success.

As I work with channel teams in APJ or elsewhere in the world, I am often surprised at the minimal effort shown to truly plan with their partners.

For me, managing a partner relationship without a plan would be like trying to drive a car without a steering wheel. While there is a slim chance you may get to where you want to go, it is 100% certainly that whatever the outcome it will be a wild ride filled with many surprises, twists and turns.

Having a disciplined, structured approach to create joint plans with partners is a proven key success criterion for working with partners. Planning puts a backbone in the relationship and when done effectively increases the performance and productivity of all involved. When done badly it is a distraction, a time waster and seen negatively as overhead and unwanted administration.

A structured and joint planning approach is more than a set of revenue goals and a discussion about how to spend the MDF each quarter. A successful partner plan is one that:
  • Is focused on the business goals of each partner
  • Was developed and agreed together in collaboration
  • Has the backing of the executives in each organization
  • Has long term goals and short term activity plans that are measured, frequently reviewed, and adjusted as required
  • Fits on one page of A4 paper - although preparation and supporting documentation may require more
Creating strong plans with partners delivers many advantages to both vendor and partner; for the vendor these include:
  • Increasing the productivity of the channel team
  • Delivering a higher level of certainty to revenue forecasts
  • Reducing last minute surprises or disappointment
However there is another key success factor that planning can deliver. TRUST.

Those of you that have participated in our Channel Success Essentials workshop will know how important we think Trust is in terms of building high performing channels. It is not just my personal experience, many channel leaders have seen that successful collaboration in planning leads to TRUST, which in turn leads to better collaboration, and that leads to revenue results. Chicken-and-egg style!

According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review, resellers that have a high degree of trust in their manufacturer partners contribute 78 percent more sales than those with a lower level of trust. The trust factor correlates directly with financial performance, effectiveness of field execution and resource allocation.

As you move through the start of this year I challenge you to do a little audit on your Partner Planning efforts by asking yourself these questions:
  1. Does your organization have a structured and consistent planning process in place? Is it being used consistently?
  2. Does the planning process allow for different partner types and sizes?
  3. In 2012 what percentage of partnerships had a plan that was:
    • Created in true collaboration with the partner
    • Contained goals apart from revenue
    • Centered on the partner's needs and goals as much as your organization's
    • Was concise, clear and reviewed with the partner quarterly
    • Was signed off by senior executives in each organization?
  4. Would your partners say they have a high level of trust in your organization and people?

I encourage you to complete these questions on the short anonymous survey below. Let's find out how your results compare with others - we'll publish the results in a future blog posting. If you answered 'Yes" to those questions, well done! You are one of a small minority!

Last modified on 6/30/2013 10:11:22 PM
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