Aligning resources to engage and enable the right partners is crucial. To get it right, you must invest in the right partners to meet your business objectives. Explore best practices in this white paper.
Best Practices in Ranking and Prioritizing Your Partners
Best Practices in Ranking and
Prioritizing Your Partners
As margins shrink and competition soars, optimizing partner
“Our focus is on selecting the right performance and channel investment are critical. The key to your
partner for the right market or the
right industry.” success is to enable your channel partners, but this task may be more
Doug Kennedy, VP Worldwide Alliance difficult than it first appears.
and Channels, Oracle
Many technology vendors struggle with the traditional 80/20 rule—the
division between top-performing solution providers and smaller, hard-
to-reach value-added resellers. What are you doing to get beyond
that first 20 percent? How do you identify the “diamonds in the rough”
among next-level partners to successfully move from the traditional
Contents: 80/20 ratio to a more ideal 70/30 ratio and beyond?
Make your partners a
competitive advantage ................. 2 In this white paper, we explore best methods of ranking and
A unique approach to the prioritizing partners, based on a unique, four-level approach to the
traditional 80/20 rule .................... 2
traditional 80/20 Pareto Distribution rule. We then examine how to
Proven methods to effectively
rank and prioritize partners ........... 3 most effectively apply proven, predictive modeling methodologies.
In conclusion ................................ 4 This approach has been applied in real-world situations for hardware
and software companies in North America, Latin America, Europe
and Asia, resulting in significant increases in revenue and partner
Make your partners a competitive advantage.
If you’re a channel sales or marketing manager, you’re tasked with the constant
need to identify, prioritize, target, invest, and measure the performance of your
Key to Success
partners. By effectively enabling your partners, you have the potential to transform
The key to channel success lies your channel—and propel your business.
in identifying partners with high
Aligning resources to engage and enable the right partners is crucial. To get it right,
potential and providing them with
you must invest in the right partners to meet your business objectives. But this
the right tools and resources so they
may be easier said than done. Basing your enablement efforts on size of partner,
become bigger players—and you
revenue, accreditation, volume, or tier could lead you to support only your largest
more deeply penetrate
20% partners. This approach could potentially result in insufficient coverage and missed 5%
key markets. 20%
opportunities, as in the case of emerging countries—like China and Russia—or 15%
emerging vertical markets—such as healthcare. 30%
80% The answer 80%in pinpointing and rewarding the right partner for the right market,
industry, application, product or geographic region. By identifying partners with very
high potential—in expertise or industry-specific capability—and providing them with
Partners Performance the right tools and resources, you can give them a boost so that they become big
Partners Performance Partners Perfo
players, and you more deeply penetrate key markets.
20% A unique approach to the traditional 80/20 rule.
So, how can you pinpoint these high potential partners? Let’s take a look at a 20
unique, four-level approach to the traditional 80/20 Pareto Distribution rule and
examine three proven methods that range from good to better to best.
Four-Level Pareto Distribution The classic Pareto Distribution rule predicts that 80% of any large number—like
4 Level Pareto Distribution
wealth, taxes or channel performance—will be generated by 20% of the population.
20% 15% Performance Rather than a simple two-level 80/20 division of partners based on performance,
e or Value
value total and partner count, we break the partner base into four levels to provide
granularity and to identify and focus on “opportunistic” partners.
80% This four-level breakout anticipates that the top 5% of partners will produce 50%
of the total used for distribution, the next 15% will produce 30%, the next 30% will
produce 15%, and the bottom 50% of partners will produce only 5% of the total.
Together, Level 1 and Level 2 breakouts add up to 20% of the accounts that will
4 % Total produce 80% of the total number used for the distribution. Levels 3 and 4 combined
15% represent 80% of accounts that will produce 20% of the total distribution.
ive This four-level approach is superior to other uses of Pareto distributions because
it provides the granularity needed to identify appropriate partner groups. It is also
Figure 1. A four-level approach to Pareto superior to subjective methods of prioritizing and ranking partners such as tiering
distribution offers granularity to identify by accreditation or competency level, which may or may not correlate with actual
and invest in “opportunistic” partners. partner performance.
◆ Objective versus subjective methods
of ranking and prioritizing partners are
◆ Assuming that only more highly
2 accredited partners are your best hawkeyechannel.com
performers is not always true. Use
You buy a lot, so measures and analytics to iden-
other you “Managed” Tier 1
Proven methods to effectively rank and
Now, we’ll look at three ways to most effectively rank and prioritize partners, based
on the four-level approach to the Pareto Distribution rule and grounded in the While the first two methods use
golden rules of tiering (refer to sidebar on page 4). trailing performance data, the
These approaches depend on the depth and breadth of partner performance and third approach requires that the
attributes. All three methods for ranking and prioritizing partners use the same core partner database be populated
Pareto distribution approach. The major difference is in the calculated number that with a sufficient amount of partner
determines a partner’s Pareto level assignment based on the data set we use— attribute data to calculate the total
trailing performance, predicted performance or a calculated value score. partner value and priority ranking.
First, we sort partners in descending order of performance or value score and then
total the number of partners. Next, we divide the partner base into four Pareto
levels that correspond to 5%, 15%, 30% and 50% of the total base. Then, we total
the corresponding performance or value scores for the partners in each level.
Acceptable: Trailing Performance
Here, performance data totals for each partner from the last four quarters are used 4Qs Trailing $$$
as the basis for the Pareto distribution. Individual
Account $1 $2 $3 $4
While this method is considered superior to other tiering and ranking methods, one Assign Individual Pareto Sum All Individual
primary disadvantage is that it looks only at past performance rather than potential Levels Based on Descending Account Account
Total Trailing 4Q 4Q Totals 4Q Total
C B A
Better: Predicted Performance
Figure 2. Trailing performance.
This method has the advantage of looking forward. Simple, predictive modeling
techniques establish a forecast for the coming four quarters based on the trend
5Q Trailing $$$
or slope calculation of the partner’s trailing five quarter results. We then use the Individual
descending totals of these forecasts to assign the predicted performance of Account $1 $2 $3 $4 $5
partners in each of the Pareto levels. This combination, which uses the Pareto Sum All Accounts Individual Account Trend
level structure and predictive modeling, provides a better basis to support Forecasts Next 4Q Forecast Projection
partner enablement, offer program benefits, assign sales resources and target
C B Af
communications to the right partners.
Figure 3. Predicted performance.
Best: Partner Value Score
In this method, we use a calculated partner value score as the basis for Pareto 5Q Trailing $$$
level assignment and top-down ranking of the partners. The score is evolved from Individual
Account $1 $2 $3 $4 $5
the forecasted performance number discussed earlier. That initial number can be
raised or lowered by using multiplier factors assigned to key partner attributes or Frequency Individual Account Trend
Factor Next 4Q Forecast Projection
to achieve specific product and/or customer segment marketing and sales goals.
The final score provides true ranking in their order of partner importance. This C X B Af
methodology is extremely valuable for prioritizing partners “on the fly” to identify
those most appropriate when launching new products for different customer types X
and sizes. Figure 4. Calculated partner value score.