Placing Partner Bets in SaaS and Enterprise Software
When your partner ecosystem gets large, you have to start making intelligent decisions about where you are going to spend your time, allocate resources and invest budget. These are mini bets that you need to make everyday.
This applies to all forms of partnerships – alliance, channels, ISV etc…
A typical distribution of partner performance will look like this:
There are broad 3 categories of partners -
· Top performers - Your top 10 to 20% of partners will deliver 70 to 80% of the sales.
· Bottom performers - 10-20% of your partners will deliver poor sales
· Middle performers - 70-80% of your partners will deliver the balance of your sales
Which partners should you focus your attention and energy on?
Most partner managers will spend too much time with the top performers and the bottom performers.
If your top performers are already delivering consistent results then they don’t need as much of your energy and focus. The exception here is when a top performing partner is pursuing a large opportunity that needs assistance to bring it across the finish line.
Some of your bottom performers are struggling because they are a new partner. These deserve your time and attention. But partners who are perpetual poor performers should not be allowed to suck up your valuable time. They should likely be removed from the partner program. Hoping that somehow one day some of these bottom performers will magically “wake up” and become top performers rarely ever materializes. Placing bets on these partners is high risk with rare payoff.
You need to focus on the middle performers. These are the partners that show the most promise and are most deserving of your time and attention. Moving a middle performing partner to a top performer is a lot easier than trying to turn around a poor performing partner.
At least once a quarter an effective partner manager should be analyzing their partners and deciding what category they fall into. Allocate your time accordingly – disengage from poor performers, engage strategically with top performers and fully engage with your middle performers to help move them along to becoming a top performer. Do this right and you will be on your way to a performing partner ecosystem.
About the Author: Bryan Socransky is the Principal Consultant of Disruptive Consulting Group. Bryan's experience spans over 25 years in some of the most competitive B2B sectors including enterprise software and SaaS. Now he is applying this experience to help small and medium-sized B2B tech companies grow. http://disruptiveconsultinggroup.com/