Channel Effectiveness

5 Steps to Effective, Partner-Centric Deal Registration
By Penny O’Rourke, Bluewolf

The Agile Enterprise

The Agile Enterprise

executive summary
Companies rely on partner channels to help them maximize profits, extend market penetration, expand into new markets, reduce sales costs and serve customers as efficiently as possible. However, driving business effectively through the channel can be a challenge for any sized company. As companies try to increase volume through the channel, productivity emerges as a critical strategic success factor. There is no shortage of terms, terminology and jargon in the channel enablement space: sales programs, channel reviews, market development funds (MDF), sales promotion incentive fund (SPIF), co-marketing, joint selling - the list goes on. However, there is one area which matters most to both partners and the vendor: deal registration. Deal registration is important because it is about managing revenue, eliminating conflict, and measuring channel compliance. It is a top priority and the vendor’s responsibility to accurately implement a deal registration process that is both fair and transparent for partners. Additionally, effective deal registration allows the vendor to understand the true merit of each partner within their network. This allows vendors to practically structure their overall program and manage each channel partner to maximize value. There are a number of best practices involved with setting up an effective deal registration process for the channel. This

white paper will provide an overview of the Channel Management Lifecycle for deal registration and the key building blocks to achieve success.

channel enablement is its own lifecycle
Typical customer relationship management (CRM) initiatives look at one, several or all of the areas in Figure 1: from demand generation through sales automation, to customer service and support. Effective Channel enablement follows a similar process, although your partners have their own unique life cycle and a slightly different flavor in each sub-process. For example, in terms of a channel or partner management program, demand generation considers how vendors find, recruit, and on-board partners. The customer support sub-process includes service entitlement, warranty and returns management. Deal registration may be considered one of the many sub-processes within channel enablement, however, typically its scope would touch several functions in vendors’ and partners’ organizations: marketing, inside sales, channel managers and executive management. The scope of deal registration can be as narrow as asking your partner to capture prospect information in a tool or it can be as broad as making your partner responsible for lead generation and qualification, converting leads to opportunities, closing deals and pipeline reporting.

“An effective deal registration process can dramatically improve visibility into sales, both for the vendor AND for the partner. It Makes pipeline visibility AND forecasting much simpler and straightforward.”

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CRM Customer Lifecycle

deal registration: 5 steps to building success
Laying out a successful deal registration process involves taking time upfront to consider the varied needs of partners and structuring a process that meets both your partner’s needs as well as your own. Deal registration on its own is not a partner management (PRM) strategy. Deal registration, however, is often the most contentious piece of a given channel strategy, so correctly building a partnercentric approach to deal registration can be the difference in your channel strategy’s ultimate success. The 5 steps to effective, partner-centric deal registration are as follows: Step 1: Segment Your Channel Step 2: Define a Channel-Centric Sales Process Step 3: Identify the Partner ‘Do, See, and Share’ Policy

Step 4: Determine Logical Hand-off and Approval Points Step 5: Enhance the Partner’s Experience with Advanced Quoting, Pipeline Visibility and Reporting

step 1: segment your channel
Segment your channel partners by key characteristics (size and role in the network, geographic location, products and services they sell, success factors, etc.) and then identify the unique needs (as a vendor and the channel partner) in the deal registration process. This step is critical, as companies might find that different partner classes might have very similar needs, or conversely, partners in the same class and category have very different needs due to various operational differences (e.g. the territory they operate in). One of Bluewolf’s global enterprise clients offers a great example of the importance

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Channel Process

of channel segmentation. Although they segment partners into a number of unique classes, and the methods of administrating to each partner class is different, the deal registration process is exactly the same for different partners within the same region. It is a simple and short process, with only a few pieces of key information required from the partner. On the other hand, two re-sellers in neighboring countries who are managed by the same channel manager need to use very different deal registration processes because one has exclusive rights to sell in a territory and the other does not.

can we best support you in the selling and marketing of our products?” This is not one size fits all, so vendors should be diligent about addressing the SPECIFIC needs of each channel segment.

step 3: identify a partner ‘do, see and share’ policy
Information visibility rules. Construct well-defined polices for administering to various accounts within your channel. Be sure to keep the unique characteristics of each partner segment in mind when defining policies for account setup, deal sharing and information flow, both internally with channel managers and externally with partners. Can they see each other’s accounts? How about each other’s deals? Most vendors raise their eyebrows at those questions but they also have to consider deal sharing or two-tier selling. On the other hand, vendors and partners (with which you share sensitive data) present a class of compliance and security risk that

step 2: define a channel-centric sales process
A clear, simple sales process is at the heart of deal registration. Vendors should design a channel sales process based around PARTNER needs, not vendor convenience or ideas about what a vendor thinks the partner’s needs are. To do this, start by asking partners within each category, “How

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organizations are increasingly required to address, driven by regulatory requirements and standards. Vendors must also always consider the key hand-off points in their sales process. It is often the case that deal related information moves between the vendor and the partner. Vendors should outline their approach up front: identifying the key trigger points, who needs to be notified when, who receives regular updates, and what is necessary in terms of an audit trail. Also, determine the areas that might be better managed manually. For example, for a partner in Norway who is registering a single deal once every 3 months, it is cheaper to collaborate with them over e-mail instead of building and maintaining the necessary logic directly inside of your business system.

Also, vendor specific approval might be required before a partner can offer a certain discount or non-standard terms and conditions. Clearly establishing a workflow for vendor approvals can reduce your close time. Research shows that 80% of deals can be approved without human intervention by using simple business rules. Don’t make the deal approval process more complicated than is necessary. It is not likely that direct vendor approval can ever be eliminated from any channel management process. However, establishing the proper timeline and workflow for hand-off and approval points can eliminate much of the strain and/ or delay of getting a deal closed.

step 5: enhance the partner’s experience — advanced quoting, pipeline visibility and reporting
Steps 1-4 are the foundation blocks for a successful Channel Management Experience. Step 5 serves to enhance that experience, by offering channel partners access to shared business intelligence. Depending on the variations available to a vendor’s product and possible add-ons or services offered by a channel partner, generating customerfacing quotes might be a complex process. Common platforms and systems can make it easy to collaborate on quoting information and keep necessary documents within a single repository. Cross channel dashboards and advanced reporting provide immediately actionable insight into your customer and channel mix.

step 4: determine logical hand-off and approval points
Deal approval is often another critical step managed by deal registration. Managing channel conflict is a major challenge for vendors. From the vendor perspective, deal registration helps a company gain visibility into a global pipeline and forecast. But from the partner standpoint, deal registration ensures credit for a given opportunity. It also provides that there is no cross or competitive selling happening by another channel partner or even the vendor itself. Identifying the right point for partner deal registration to occur helps alleviate and manage this potential for conflict.

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close the loop with channel partners
An effective deal registration process can dramatically improve visibility into sales, both for the vendor and for the partner. Once all the steps for a deal registration process are in place, pipeline visibility and forecasting are much simpler and straightforward. However, just as with a direct customer sales cycle, closing the loop with your sales and marketing efforts is a critical step to any program’s success. Vendors need to both measure and manage the impact of their deal registration programs and plan for sharing this information regularly with partners. Vendors should also build in the ability for their deal registration process to change and adapt over time, as needs of both the vendor organization and the partner channel change and react to ongoing market conditions.

PRM applications for lead management, deal registration and partner location (up from 5% in 2009). Gartner research also shows that organizations that enable on-demand PRM will be able to capture more deals (more than 25%) through the registration process, as well as increase visibility of leads managed by their partners (more than 40%). Both of these activities will help to make the vendor organization more visible to partners, create loyalty and increase collaboration with partners.

customer highlight Adobe Systems Incorporated offers award-winning software and technologies that have set the standard for communication and collaboration for more than 25 years. challenge Management and monitoring of partner commission payouts worldwide • Complex product sets • Multiple disparate legacy IT systems • Multiple Partner Portals, no unified process • Internal resource constraints strategy Salesforce.com Partner Portal for Deal Registration rolled out to 300+ Partners • Phased by business unit and product set • Integration to multiple systems results • Provided one global partner process and portal • Provided real-time, accurate data and reporting • Enabled full audit compliance worldwide

vendors cannot afford to sit idle
As outlined at the start of this white paper, deal registration is only a single, although critical, component of any wellstructured PRM strategy. Organizations that take the time upfront to lay out a clear, advantageous partner-centric approach to deal registration are building an important foundation which supports the entire structure of a channel program, but a complete PRM strategy involves much more. A fully developed channel strategy contains proper incentives, training, certification, communication, market development, and sales sub-strategies that all work together to engage and drive loyalty from your channel partners. With the recent global recession some organizations believe the time is right to take a break, reign in spending, and stop innovating. Actually, this is completely inaccurate. Market slowdowns, or recessions, are not a time to stop

on-demand partner relationship management (PRM) solutions
The channel enablement vendor market has struggled for years with traditional ERP/ CRM providers offering overly complicated, industry-specific solutions, which all require significant funding and resources to implement. The emergence of on-demand PRM solutions has begun to capture the attention of vendor organizations across different industries. According to Gartner, by 2014 more than 20% of organizations that sell via channels will use on-demand

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innovating; they are a time to invest in real process reform. Partner channels represent an area for forward thinking organizations to both reduce costs and drive growth.

your unique culture and organization to develop a full range of channel solutions that map to the entire life cycle of your partners. * Partner Recruiting

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about us > Bluewolf is your guide on the journey to enterprise agility. We partner with clients to sync business and IT to create a new level of business responsiveness. From cloud enabled customer life cycle innovation, to IT staffing, to agile managed services, Bluewolf knows how to get your business to the next level of innovation. Our clients include Time Warner Cable, GlaxoSmithKline, ADP, Dow Jones & Company, United Way, Chevron and more.

bluewolf’s channel effectiveness solution
Bluewolf has 10 years of consulting experience and has helped customers successfully deploy 3,000 on-demand CRM and PRM portal projects. We are experts in both business process and technology development. We offer a number of channel enablement solutions and work directly with

* Training Certification Management * Channel Compliance * Partner Account Planning * Lead Sharing & Deal Registration * Marketing Developing Fund Tracking * Quoting * Special Pricing Authorization * Warranty Entitlement Support * Customer Support * Return Material Authorization

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