Our earlier discussions of Partner Relationship Management centered on “starting the engine” and “gaining traction”. Now we look at “tuning for performance”, making the most of the investment in collecting reported POS and Inventory data from the channel.
For many high-tech OEM vendors who are in the early stages of collecting POS and Inventory data for matching, program calculations and – ultimately – business decision-making, the initial foray is followed by a “tune-up” to adjust some settings on the machine for better performance. What do I mean? Many of our clients have, for years, been collecting “what they could get” from channel partners. With different types of distributors, multiple regions, different product lines… the result is a collection of reports from different systems, in different formats, containing different data elements.
Collecting, compiling, cleansing, normalizing and performing matching and calculations on this data is a chore – time and resource intensive and more than a little frustrating.
It makes sense to revisit what’s coming from whom, how often, in what format, with what kind of completion and accuracy. A Channelinsight Quarterly Business Review is a great forum for circling up the teams from the client and Channelinsight who envisioned, designed and launched the program, for an inspection of progress and results, and to decide how to “fine-tune the settings” for optimal results.
While the beauty of the SaaS product coupled with facilitated on-boarding of reporting partners does provide a certain “set it and forget it” capability, there is often a need for some preventative maintenance and performance tuning. Keys to both include visibility and communication.
Visibility: during the heavy-lifting phase of on-boarding reporting partners, there is a LOT of information at any given time about who is in what stage of the process, what step comes next, what’s stuck and why, etc. Providing dashboard visibility to progress has proved very helpful to many of our clients. This is especially true in the beginning phases of a project, where the value proposition of an expanded and enhanced channel data collection and processing venture has a high degree of interest and scrutiny.
Communication: the companion to visibility, communication is KEY not only in the beginning but throughout the engagement, and it takes many forms. Progress reports, proactive reminders and post-event notifications are key factors that keep the process operating at peak efficiency.
The bottom line? It is possible to have success designing, launching and performance tuning a robust channel partner data-reporting program! Focus, energy and partnership with experts in the space will enable a solid start, sustained momentum and increased performance over time, enabling rapid, high-confidence decision making.