Core Metrics for Your Partner Portal Software
Most organizations selling through the channel have deployed some sort of partner portal software. If there are many partners doing many things, then the partner portal may be quite full of capabilities. On the other hand, if it the partner portal is supporting just a few partners, it may simply be a tool for exchanging documents. In this article, we will explore which metrics you need to track to measure the effectiveness of your partner portal software and make sure it is fulfilling its potential.
Before we begin, let’s step back for a moment and ask why you should even bother with metrics when it comes to your partner portal software. Well, there are actually a few reasons, especially if you are selling through a broad channel. First, the purpose of your partner portal for many organizations is to make information—about products, programs, pricing, training opportunities and so on—available to your partners. Metrics allow you to track the usage of that information and make sure your partners are getting and using that information. Second, you may want to personalize your offerings to partners, so that only certain information and assets are available to certain kinds of partners. Tracking metrics can help you make sure the breadth and depth of your partner portal content doesn’t overwhelm and confuse your partner base. Finally, you may want to use your partner portal to connect various types of partners on the basis of experience, expertise and other characteristics to build an ecosystem-like environment where partners learn from and help each other.
The three scenarios that I have described here barely touch the surface when you consider how partner portal software can be configured to address business needs. But these three examples can provide instructive examples of useful metrics that your partner portal software should be able to provide.
When it comes to business process automation for organizations selling through the channel, partner portal software is the first and almost always the only “handshake” an organization can have with its partner base. A partner portal never sleeps, so a partner can always access information and the assets they need to carry out a business transaction. Therefore, one of the most fundamental partner portal software metrics you may want to track is usage—who is using it and how frequently. You may also want to know which particular assets are being used the most by partners, and you will probably find it helpful to segment that data by partner type, size, geography, etc. Such usage metrics can provide valuable insights to your marketing and sales team, and ensure they load your partner portal software with the right types of marketing and sales assets for the right partners.
Another dimension you can easily measure is partner productivity. If you carry out sales transactions via your partner portal, then your partner portal should allow you to track sales pipeline development and deal registration. Deal registration is quite common in enterprise sales where multiple partners may be trying to sell to the same end-customer. In those situations it is essential for a vendor to be able to protect a deal for a specific partner. You may also want to track partner sales productivity by the market segments, transaction types, deal types, programs and so on that a specific partner or a group of partners is involved in. The ability to measure productivity is a core capability your partner portal software must have.
In addition to tracking asset usage and partner performance, you may also want to figure out which training programs you offer are most effective and which partners are using them. Your partner portal software should be able to track results across various training programs, partner types, locations, sales volume and similar variables. This is how you can build a true input and output model. These days, organizations often provide incentives like sales rewards, rebates and market development funds to certain partners based on their competencies and performance. This is a correlation that your partner portal software should be able to provide, and tracking such relationships will help your channel marketing team understand which incentives are most effective and why.
I could keep going and discuss various other dimensions of performance and activity tracking, but the details would vary greatly from industry to industry. A core set of metrics should apply across most verticals, and those are the measures I have discussed here: portal usage, asset usage, partner performance by programs, products and training, as well as various incentive programs tied to partner competencies and performance. These are the core metrics you should consider tracking for your partner portal software, regardless of the industry or vertical you sell to or do business in.