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Channel Matters Blog > February 2015 > Focusing your resources

Focusing your resources

by Rich Blakeman
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For evaluating year-over-year performance in a channel organizationone metric rises to the top: revenue per partner. When we talk about partner productivity at Channel Enablers, it's the yardstick by which we most often measure performance improvements. And as channel leaders look for ways to improve partner productivity, they often focus in on improving revenue per partner.
Chose the right goal
Once the revenue numbers are inone of the first steps sales leaders take is to look at which partners produce the most. If yours is like most channel organizations, you'll find that the 80/20 rule applies. That is, 80 percent of your revenues come from 20 percent of your partners. Often it's the same 20 percent every year, especially in mature channel organizations.
Inevitably, someone in the executive team will ask, how do we get the 80 percent of our partners who only contribute 20 percent of our revenues to sell more? It's an interesting question, but in all my decades of working with channels, I can't recall a single organization that managed to break the 80/20 rule in a sustained or positive way. Some managed a 70/30 split after some intense incentivizing of the channel that ate into their margins. Others even saw a 60/40but that was usually the result of some external event that distracted the top performers (not in a good way) or motivated the 80 percent for a short time
Focusing your resources
The point is, it's difficult to maintain a split other than 80/20 and may not be worth the effort. Even worse, efforts spent on the 80 percent may not make the pie any bigger if it takes needed resources away from your top performers.
At the end of the day, the only thing really under your control is how you invest your resources, specifically your money and your time. To improve productivity, "getting the 80 percent to sell more" is too simplistic and misguided a goal. The question needs to bewhich partners are willing, -able, and capable of selling more – and how can we enable them to do that? It doesn't matter whether they're in the 80 percent or not.  
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