Is your channel revenue attribution giving you the visibility you need?
I recently attended a conference that included channel revenue attribution as a topic of discussion. As the buzz about this evolving, business-critical process circulated from group to group, the wider landscape soon came into view. What became clear was that while there are many possible ways to connect revenue to channel, there is no one right way in every case. The best path to success and sustainable growth greatly depends on your partner ecosystem, product focus and organization’s priorities.
Despite the varying opinions about the best way to divvy up the land—that is, what to include in your channel revenue attribution model and how granular to dig, five key considerations stood out from the crowd:
Above all is the need to clearly define your channel revenue attribution with data that prove you’re considering important key indicators. Aligning your definition with your department or organization’s corporate goals is critical to ensure you have “buy in” from finance and executive management. This will also lay the groundwork for clearly understanding where your channel revenue is coming from and bring the multilayered, and often indirect, B2B buying journey into perspective.
Many participants agreed that deal registration is an important key indicator to consider when attributing channel revenue, as are pipeline and profit. Use your partner segmentation as a benchmark for whether your revenue attribution model is appropriately displaying key areas and accurate percentages. Should you be focusing on attribution by product or partner type? Should both be included?
It could also be beneficial to consider how incentive programs are providing (or having little effect on) revenue lift. Which programs are giving the most ROI? Are you incentivizing partners who would have sold a product anyway, or are product-focused promotions clearly showing incremental lift?
What about programs that won’t immediately generate revenue, such as POC (proof of concept)? Some feel that POC is too complex and expensive and therefore couldn’t or shouldn’t be considered or attributed to revenue. Some companies have vast programs built on gaining new logos from POC programs. In those instances, it may make sense to include them.
If you decide that incentive programs and POC-type programs are an important part of the picture, then you may also want to consider how influencers change (and grow) the revenue model. Tracking lift from influencers (or even knowing who they are to begin with) is a fairly new concept. If you’re focusing on this internally, then it may be beneficial to include your influencer network in your model.
Seeing is believing.
Technology has come a long way in providing the proof needed to connect channel revenue to ROI, yet this is still one of the biggest challenges many companies face. Effectively attributing channel revenue involves having access to clear and timely intelligence gained from automation and comprehensive integration of performance data. While some of this may involve a degree of data-driven intuition and experimentation tied to KPIs, having clear visibility and confidence about ROI will lead to greater efficiency of spend, accurate budgeting, and ease of planning ahead, or even adjusting course, as needed.
Cleared for flight.
Once your channel revenue attribution is built and cleared to take flight, you will be equipped with the needed visibility on the success of each allocation and have greater perspective on areas that need improvement. This bird’s-eye view can also guide you towards your sales white space and help you map out new opportunities.
Data automation and integration will help you clearly see what’s lagging or being left behind, and what are the biggest opportunities yet to be found.