Partner Business Plans in 2024: Why are They so Important?
Business plans serve as a foundational framework that aligns the operational strategy of your partner firms with the overarching goals and expectations of your company. Tailored for each partner, these business plans outline specific sales, marketing, and training objectives that are designed to be in perfect sync with your organization's aspirations. These plans are indispensable tools for effectively overseeing your network, enabling you to evaluate and measure performance continually and, as needed, take strategic actions to bolster your partners on their path to success.
By collaboratively constructing business plans in conjunction with each partner, you foster a sense of cohesion within your indirect sales ecosystem. This shared roadmap ensures that all partners are working in synergy, collectively pursuing the identified actions necessary for accomplishing mutual success, further strengthening the strategic alignment between your firm and its partner network.
Develop Partner Bussiness Plan: Two Key Steps to Consider
1. Know Your Partners Well
A thorough understanding of your partner network is a fundamental prerequisite for the successful development of partner business planning. Within your indirect sales ecosystem, business providers, integrators, value-added resellers (VARs), IT service companies, and resellers each operate within distinct logic and economic models. Acquiring deep insights into the nuances of each partner type is crucial for crafting business plans that align with both your partner's strategic objectives and your company's overarching goals.
Isabelle Castellanet, the founder of IXC, a firm specializing in Partners and Growth, emphasizes the importance of recognizing the diverse expectations and requirements of partners based on their typology. She notes, "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."
Recognizing these key elements in partner business planning ensures that your efforts are tailored to cater to the specific needs and expectations of each partner category, ultimately fostering a more productive and mutually beneficial collaboration.
2. Have a Well-Defined Global Business Objective
Creating a robust business plan in collaboration with your partner necessitates a well-defined and quantifiable overarching business objective. This objective must be crystal clear and expressed in measurable terms. For instance, it could be aimed at achieving specific milestones, such as:
- Capturing more than 20% of the market share in France for your product;
- Reaching an annual turnover target of "X" amount or;
- Expanding your operations to attain 5% of the turnover in a new country.
This overarching business objective serves as the cornerstone upon which you will construct the business plans tailored for each of your partners. The core concept is to apportion individual objectives to your partners that harmonize with your global strategy. Consequently, each partner's unique business plan becomes an instrumental component contributing to the fulfillment of your company's overarching business objective. This strategic alignment ensures that the combined efforts of your partner network work in unison to advance your business toward its ultimate goals.
Establishing a Partner Business Plan: The Objectives
Setting objectives within your partner's 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
Based on a careful analysis of historical sales performance, specific criteria such as outcomes, geographical location, and seniority within the partner network, distinct objectives will be strategically allocated to each partner. These objectives encompass a variety of key areas that guide their contributions to the partnership:
- Business Objectives on Sales Volume and Turnover: Partners will be tasked with well-defined business goals related to sales volume and revenue generation. These objectives may be tailored to the partner's track record, the market potential in their location, and their historical sales figures. This approach ensures that targets are realistic and achievable, motivating partners to excel in their specific market segments.
- Marketing Objectives through Event and Webinar Organization: In addition to sales targets, partners will also be entrusted with marketing objectives, which often involve organizing events and webinars. These events serve as crucial touchpoints for engaging potential customers and driving brand awareness. The specific objectives may vary depending on the partner's strengths and past performance, encouraging them to leverage their marketing expertise to enhance the partnership's overall success.
By customizing these objectives based on partner history and characteristics, the partnership becomes more adaptable and efficient, with each partner playing a unique role in contributing to the collective success of the collaboration. This tailored approach maximizes the potential for growth and achievement within the network.
Set Qualitative Objectives
Incorporating qualitative objectives into your business plan imparts a heightened level of professionalism to your partner network. This is especially pivotal when embarking on new indirect sales partnerships. Training sessions play a central role in this process, serving as a crucial avenue for partners to equip their sales teams with comprehensive knowledge about your brand. These sessions not only elevate your partners' understanding of your products but also empower them to embrace and disseminate your vision over the short, medium, and long-term horizons. This alignment ensures that they are seamlessly integrated into your strategic framework. As an illustrative example, you may set a target, such as achieving a certification for a specific number of "X" sales, within your business plan.
To ensure the optimal monitoring of your business plan and to gauge the progress of your partners, it is imperative to implement KPIs. These quantifiable benchmarks enable you to assess the attainment of objectives, offering valuable insights into areas where potential refinements or additional support may be necessary. By embracing KPIs, you introduce a structured, data-driven approach that ensures the partnership remains on a well-tracked trajectory toward realizing the objectives outlined in your business plan.
Have Regular Monitoring
In pursuit of ongoing refinement and shared operational efficiency, it's essential that these objectives are periodically defined and subject to regular monitoring. Constructing a business plan without a system for ongoing objective assessment is a critical oversight, as it can become too late to take corrective action should your partner deviate from their established objectives. To ensure the long-term success of your collaborative efforts, it's highly advisable to assess and potentially adjust objectives on a monthly basis, accounting for variances such as weaker performance in a specific month, such as August.
KPIs play a pivotal role in facilitating the monitoring and analysis of your partners, allowing you to identify both their strengths and areas that may require improvement. With a monthly review and a systematic reporting mechanism, you gain the capability to:
- Set Realistic Objectives: By closely aligning objectives with the current conditions on the ground, you ensure that they remain practical and attainable in the context of evolving market dynamics.
- Monitor Implementation and Achievement: Regular tracking using KPIs enables you to gauge how well partners are executing planned actions and progressing towards the predefined objectives, offering insights into areas that might need attention.
- Provide Support: Armed with this detailed data, you are better equipped to initiate timely and targeted actions that can help partners overcome challenges and, in turn, assist them in reaching their objectives. This proactive approach ensures that your partnership remains adaptive and robust, fostering sustained success in a dynamic business landscape.
The Essential Tool to Build a Business Plan and Manage it
In the endeavor to establish a comprehensive business plan and ensure its effective management with full transparency into your partner's activities, a PRM, or Partner Relationship Management system, emerges as the quintessential tool. Going beyond the capabilities of conventional management software, a PRM empowers you to systematically structure your indirect sales processes and engage with your partner ecosystem in real time, irrespective of the hour or location.
When crafting business plans for your partners within a proficient PRM platform, you can expect to benefit in several key ways:
- Tailored Business Plans: A robust PRM system should facilitate the seamless definition of unique business plans for each partner, accommodating their specific objectives, strengths, and market dynamics. This tailored approach ensures that each partner's plan is finely tuned to optimize success.
- Real-Time Progress Tracking: The PRM offers the invaluable advantage of real-time progress tracking for the objectives set within these business plans. It allows you to stay updated on your partner's performance, offering insights into their achievements and areas that might require attention or support.
- KPI Integration: Effective PRM systems seamlessly integrate KPIs into the platform, providing you with a set of critical metrics that pinpoint what is vital for the success of your partner's business plan. These KPIs offer the ability to focus on the most significant aspects of your partnership, enabling data-driven decision-making and strategic adjustments as needed.
By leveraging a PRM, your business can optimize its partnership management, ensuring that business plans are not only efficiently established but also actively tracked and adjusted as necessary, fostering the mutual success of both your company and your partner network.