Coterie’s partner prioritisation digital assessment service helps global service provider to evaluate partners 

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How do you offer an excellent experience to partners and ensure your sales teams are set up for success? 

Success starts by ensuring you are working with the right partners, with the right plans in the first place, and with suitable investment. But this can be easier said than done when you’re just one person trying to manage tens of partners.

We helped a global service provider objectively prioritise their partners and the investment made in them. Using best practice and the teams’ insight, we were able to determine the strategic actions and plans required to improve the strategic fit and engagement for tens of accounts quickly and cost-effectively. And in doing so, we helped them get the right partners performing well, without wasting time or money on the wrong partners.

The combination of our Partner Prioritisation Digital Assessment tool and process, which is based on academic research, along with our client’s foresight to take a different approach with their partners, enabled the service provider to give its partners a better experience and its salespeople the best chance of success.

The challenge

Our client had 50+ partners in Europe. With so many relationships to manage, knowing which partners to make marketing investments in was a significant puzzle. The Channel Marketing Director was being required to make decisions in the moment rather than making informed choices based on data. There simply wasn’t enough time to create detailed plans for every partner, so activities and engagement were sporadic.

Our client knew there had to be a better way to do things to ensure he wasn’t wasting time and money on the wrong partners, whilst also finding a quicker, more structured way to create actionable sales and marketing plans to support the sales team. That’s when he reached out to Coterie.

Our approach

Our Partner Prioritisation Digital Assessment tool was at the core of our service to quickly and easily help him prioritise partners and the investment made in them, objectively. This ensured our client only worked with those partners that had good engagement and aligned to the European business’s strategic objectives.

Based on findings from primary research carried out with The University of Huddersfield, and best practice white papers, the tool took the client’s Partner Account Managers through a simple online questionnaire based around two criteria, Strategic Fit and Engagement. Their answers were used to automatically plot their partners onto a Boston Matrix-style prioritisation summary. This approach gave our client a quick, visual way to see which partners were Cash Cows, Rising Stars, Question Marks, or Dogs.

Our additional insights gathered through the surveys gave our client a more granular view of each partner. For example, although 48% of partners were mapping as Dogs, we determined that just over half of them were new partners, meaning the total number of real Dogs dropped to only 21%.

Once the priority partners were selected, action plans were generated from the tool. These provided a management dashboard with an elevated view across an entire region or partner base, presenting what was working well and areas for improvement. This dashboard is perfect for 1-1 channel management reviews, partner MDF allocation, and to track actions monthly.

The benefits

Our partner prioritisation programme’s outputs provided our client with a mission-critical path to partner success, helping him understand what was working and where investment was needed to be made based on a specific improvement plan. Taking all the guesswork away and making success much more achievable. For our client, this means:

  • Getting the right partners performing well to grow the business efficiently
  • Informing and maximising his MDF investment by ensuring money is only spent on those partners with good strategic fit and engagement
  • Making it easier for him to support sales plans to move partners to Rising Stars with clear action plans developed quickly and cost-effectively
  • Increased scalability with a template approach to be used across multiple partners and regions with a single management view
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“We were particularly interested in Coterie’s partner prioritisation tool to help us assess the large number of partners that we work with across Europe and to establish which partner types are the most effective and which ones we need to focus on to maximise performance. The evaluation tool enabled us to do this in a strategic and methodical way, assessing partners by capability and strategic fit. We now have a robust plan of action for moving forward with our partners, and we will be repeating the evaluation early in 2021 to assess how things have changed.

It was a pleasure to work with the Coterie team on the assessment, and myself and the team look forward to continuing to work together.”

Channel Marketing Director, Global Service Provider