Partner Business Plans in 2021: Why are They so Important?
Business plans define the operational strategy of your partners in accordance with the overall strategy of your company. Established for each partner, each of the business plans determines the sales, marketing, and training objectives in alignment with the ambitions of your organization. As an essential tool for managing your network, it allows you to monitor, measure performance, and take the necessary actions to support your partners towards success. With a co-constructed business plan shared with each of your partners, your indirect sales ecosystem gains coherence and synergy in the actions to be carried out.
Before Establishing a Business Plan: Two Key Steps
1. Know Your Partners Well
Having a good knowledge of your partners is an essential step in developing any business plan. In your indirect sales ecosystem; a business provider, an integrator, a value-added reseller (VAR), an IT service company, or a reseller, responds differently to logic and economic models.
Deep knowledge of each type of partner makes it possible to build an adequate business plan with the strategy of your partner and that of your company.
Isabelle Castellanet, Partners & Growth founder of the firm IXC, shares something to be aware of: “Depending on the typology of its network, it is important to see that the partners do not expect the same information. A wholesaler, for example, does not require the same information and tools as a VAR, an integrator, or even a third-party publisher who prescribes or resells for you.”
2. Have a Well-Defined Global Business Objective
To develop an efficient business plan with your partner, it is necessary that you have a clear and precise definition of your general business objective. This objective must be quantified. For example:
- Have more than 20% of the market share in France for your product
- Reach an annual turnover of “X”
- Reach 5% of turnover in a new country
The general objective will form the basis of the business plan that you will define for each of your partners. The idea is to assign individual objectives to your partners that align with your global strategy. Each partner's business plan can thus be a contributor to achieving the overall objective of your business.
Establish a Partner Business Plan: The Objectives
Setting objectives within your partner business plan is essential, engaging, and decisive for the success of the partnership. Aligned with the main objective of your business, these objectives, whether quantitative or qualitative, must be measurable and therefore quantified.
Set Quantitative Targets
According to sales history, the result, location, and seniority within the network, each partner will be assigned the following:
- Business objectives on sales volume and turnover
- Marketing objectives through the organization of events and webinars
Set Qualitative Objectives
Including these objectives in your business plan will allow your network to be more professional. Particularly important, as part of a new indirect sales partnership, the training sessions allow your partners to train their sales team on your brand. These training sessions increase your partner’s knowledge of your products, allow them to share your vision in the short, medium- and long-term, and be well aligned with your strategy. For example, you can set an objective, the certification of “X” sales, within your business plan.
To ensure optimal monitoring of your business plan and assess the progress of your partners, these objectives must be measured using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Have Regular Monitoring
In the interest of constant iteration and shared efficiency, the objectives must be defined periodically and be subject to regular monitoring. Establishing a business plan without regular monitoring of objectives is a mistake- it will simply be too late to act if your partner deviates from his objectives. To ensure the success of your collaboration, it is ideal to evaluate the objectives month by month, by adjusting them (for example, if August is a weak month, etc.).
The Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will allow you to monitor your partners and analyze their strengths and weaknesses. With a monthly follow-up and a regular report, you are able to:
- Set realistic objectives as close as possible to the reality on the ground
- Monitor the implementation of actions and the achievement of objectives
- Support your partner by implementing actions to help them reach their objectives
The Essential Tool to Build a Business Plan and Manage it
To establish a business plan and ensure its follow-up with optimal visibility on the activity of your partner, a PRM or Partner Relationship Management, is the ideal tool. More than a management software, the PRM allows you to structure your process of indirect sales and to interact with your ecosystem of partners in real-time, at any time.
When setting up business plans for your partners, a good PRM should allow you to:
- Define a business plan for each partner
- Know the progress in real-time of the defined objectives
- Have KPIs that allow you to focus on what is important in the success of your business partner plan