Talk to Us

The New Buzz Words: Partner Contribution


How a shift in perspective is affecting vendors and solution providers.

blog-partner-contributionThe promise, hope and resolutions of a new year are starting to fade. The global economic situation is dubious with some businesses recovering from recession woes while others try to scrape by. One thing remains true: companies both large and small are looking anywhere and everywhere for more leads and deals in the pipeline. We are all looking for partners to contribute more to the sales processes but not in the methods of yesterday. “Partner contribution” is what vendors are starting to value in partner ecosystem management but what exactly is partner contribution and how do you measure it? How will it affect partners and vendor partner teams?


The evolving role of partners

It’s nothing new for solution providers to have a goal of supporting their vendors’ sales efforts. Traditionally, vendors expected partners to register their sales opportunities. As the industry shifted to SaaS and away from resale, deal registration turned into lead referral. Instead of the expectation that partners would sell the technology, vendors wanted solution providers to pass the opportunity over so their internal sales team could close the prospect. Over the last few years, this referral morphed even further. Partner influence was the new goal. In a world of partner influence, solution providers are expected to use their relationships and expertise to affect a prospect’s buying decisions.


Partner contribution takes place at every stage

Now the term ‘influence’ is passé and considered slightly underhanded. The implication of influence (especially in the greater context of social media and global commerce) is that solution providers are exerting undue pressure on prospects. The new trending term is ‘contribution,’ in which the goal is to have solution provider partners contribute at every stage of the customer sales and success lifecycle. Vendor partner executives are being tasked by their leadership to motivate partners to support each step of the sales and services processes: from building awareness and evaluation; to objection handling and decision-making; through to implementation, deployment and change management. Driving usage and adoption are critical in a SaaS implementation and partners need to play a role beyond the initial sale.

Download the Intro: Partner Journey

Vendor teams are held to new metrics

The most significant shift we’ve seen for 2024 is how the vendor partner teams are measured. These internal success metrics have evolved from partner sell-through, to partner competency, to partner engagement and now to partner contribution. Partner program, management and executive teams are being measured and compensated on partner contribution metrics. Previously, the key measurement was how many partners were certified to implement your technology solution. It’s a big adjustment to have your compensation tied to partner contribution along the sales and/or customer success lifecycle. We’ve barely figured out how to motivate, track and reward influence and that’s exponentially harder with contribution.

We understand the quest. To continue to invest in people, processes, training, materials and tools to engage and empower a partner ecosystem, management needs proof partners are contributing to the number one goal of increased pipeline. It is no longer a given that partners are important. Management needs data to justify the continued investment. The industry is devising incentives to encourage partner participation and methodologies to observe, track and report where partners are engaging.

Diane-Krakora-soft-120Are you being measured by partner contribution? Or are you still one of the lucky ones measured by fluffy metrics of partner competency and/or engagement? If it’s a new world order for you, give us a call, we can help.

Diane Krakora is CEO of PartnerPath with over two decades of experience defining the best practices and frameworks around how to develop and manage partnerships.

Watch: Measuring Partner Contribution

Topics: Industry Perspective

Partner Advisory Councils  Answer these 10 questions to design a more effective Partner Advisory Council. Download the Guide

Subscribe to the Blog