As we approach 2022, it’s important to consider overall business goals and how your partners fit in them. Joint success planning can facilitate conversations from partners and vendors alike on how to approach the market, best utilize resources, and set expectations around goals. For your top partners, this is also an opportunity to ensure mutual clarity on objectives and KPIs while engaging with executives.

“Joint partner success plans are an essential ingredient to maximizing long-term partner potential and success, but a majority of partners report that many vendors don’t prioritize this initiative,” Theresa Caragol, Founder and CEO of AchieveUnite, said. “Joint success plans present a great opportunity for vendors to engage and collaborate with their partners to drive Partner LifeTime Value® and accelerate revenue. The key differentiators between this approach and traditional planning are that this is an experience created for the benefit of both parties and will guide the relationship for the next 12-24 months.”

Vendors can kick these discussions off with their partners as part of regular conversations and planning. 

“This approach is not an 18-page spreadsheet to be filled out or a complex process that provides little value to the partner,” Caragol added. “This approach is a joint value-based planning exchange that brings together the best of both organizations to serve a set of clients/markets/solution areas. It requires the right executives from both companies, active participation, and strong execution. This execution can be in the form of QBRs or my new favorite term, MBRs – monthly business reviews – which are more critical in a Covid/Hybrid world than ever before.”

This ongoing transformation within the channel has increased pressures for channel leaders to get it right.

“For companies that sell through an indirect channel the expectation to drive accretive growth and capture the addressable market has significantly increased,” Christian Alvarez, SVP WW Channel Sales at Nutanix, said. “In order for manufacturers to reach their financial goals, they must partner even more effectively to better leverage their existing partnerships. Partner success planning is fundamental and a key foundation to setting mutual go-to-market objectives, goals, growth targets, and drive alignment on what ‘good’ looks like. Success planning should be a comprehensive 360° exercise encompassing all key stakeholders from channel marketing, sales engineers, and field sales leadership. An effective planning session should have very clear financial targets and goals that all parties have agreed to and measure quarterly to celebrate when goals are achieved and learn when goals are missed.” 

In addition to financial measurements, vendors can look at another factor that drives success: what steps their most successful partners have taken. From here, vendors can create a model for their other partners to follow. The goals listed in this model might include recruiting new accounts, distributing marketing campaigns, and achieving certifications and training. 

This approach can be beneficial to the long tail of your channel program as well. In channel programs, money, staff, and other resources are finite. It’s easy to focus what you do have on the channel partners generating 80-90% of revenue. In the meantime, your other partners are wondering what they need to do to level up, get attention from your team, and succeed over competitors. You can help these often overlooked partners by providing them with a plan. Annual business planning, enhanced with automation,  makes goals more clear, giving partners a sense of which hurdles to jump over. 

“Ultimately, business planning should be part of an overall discussion of both partner and supplier goals,” Heather Tenuto, Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) at Zift Solutions, added. “Vendors should come out of the discussion with the partners’ agreed upon goal, their plan to achieve it, and a list of what the supplier is going to do to enable it.”

Companies looking for guidance on how to improve their business planning efforts can contact AchieveUnite to learn more about value-based business planning. To see a demonstration of Zift’s robust Success Planning tool, contact us for a demo.