Expert Insights to Build and Measure Partner ROI More Effectively

Fiona O'Connor
Fiona O'Connor

Content Marketing Manager

No matter what stage of your partner marketing evolution, identifying and understanding ROI helps keep up the momentum.

For the latest insights into how organizations are developing partner programs that achieve the highest levels of ROI success, Michael Latchford, VP of Strategic Alliances and Partner Marketing Services, spoke with three partner marketing executives – Kathleen Tandy (VMware), Eric Pan (Oracle) and Samara Halterman (Pure Storage). Here are some key takeaways from their discussion.

Developing sustainable, successful partnerships

For every panelist, automation systems are important, both from planning through execution. Systems are used to help automate the simpler processes – streamlining and removing work from people’s plates. And they’re also becoming a must-have as marketing activities become more and more digital-forward.

“We’re getting ready to roll out an automated DF planner – our platform is based on E2open,” says Kathleen Tandy of VMware. “Having an end-to-end system that allows your partner marketing managers to automate planning with your partners, connecting it through to your execution platforms and then to your claims, is really important to maximize the resource and time of your people working with your partners and it’s going to deliver a much better partner experience.”

In addition to improved partner experience, when teams are freed up from more tedious, often administrative tasks, notes Pure Storage’s Samara Halterman, they become better at innovating in other, more visible areas of the program.

For Eric Pan of Oracle, having a process to set expectations and goals is a key element of their success. “We have a very simple template that’s consistently provided to all channel partners, which allows them to really lay out their plan,” he says. “In that template there are some absolutes: 1) What are the goals and objectives for the overall sales teams? 2) What are the marketing pipeline metrics that reflect the final metrics for hitting those sales pipeline targets? 3) If there’s MDF involved, how much of that MDF is that partner requesting?”

Tracking and measuring partner success

Without continuous feedback from dependable data, teams lack the information necessary to properly evaluate campaign and partner performance. But simply having the data available only gets you part of the way there. Importantly, as all three experts noted, organizations need to put the processes in place for analysis and understanding, and then they need to be able to execute on any necessary changes or new ideas.

“We’re a relatively new organization, so we’re in the benchmark-setting stage – we’re looking to really understand where we’re at, what we want to measure, where we’re going and setting clear goals for each of our partner types,” says Samara Halterman.

There are three key areas where metrics are centered to measure partner success: total partner investment, pipeline and bookings.

“We measure pipeline in two ways: on a partner-by-partner basis we look at our entire development funds investment in them and … total pipeline created,” says Kathleen Tandy. “We look at … a two-month investment rolling, compared to a two-month output, offset by quarter … to take account of that lag … we also do those same calculations through a bookings measurement as well … we’re not just looking at pipeline creation, we’re looking at how good that pipeline is …”

Ingredients for delivering more ROI

To do their best work, teams must understand precisely who each particular audience is and why they should especially care. If each execution simply carries the same general message – instead of shaping it in closer relation to audience specifics – campaigns will not perform as well as they could. The goal should be to offer real value and substance wherever possible. “Why would someone care about this? So what?” echoed the panel. We all need to make this a practice from program development through launch.

For continued growth and success, it’s critical that this careful evaluation continues even after program launch. For Eric Pan that means using quarterly business reviews to identify strengths and correct weaknesses.

“We always look at what works and what doesn’t – we have a lot of metrics that support the pipeline value from the marketing dollar that we spend – and then when we roll that out in a quarterly business review,” he says. “With these reviews we’re really able to see what works and what doesn’t. And of course, people have lots of ideas of how to strengthen things that aren’t working and want to continue to leverage things that do work well.”

For more insights from partner marketing experts, watch TechTarget’s Partner Marketing Visionaries webinar series. To learn more about products and services to support your partner marketing efforts, contact Michael Latchford.

Channel and Alliance Partnerships, channel marketing, partner marketing, partner marketing impact, partner marketing program ROI, partner program ROI

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