Designed to help enterprises expand their channel sales by focusing on what matters most
Over 75% of commerce is done via indirect selling — also known as channel sales.
The benefits of implementing and improving a channel sales strategy are pretty clear. The complexities that come with it aren’t. Only by improving policies and processes through measuring what matters can organizations continue iterating on what success looks like today and tomorrow.
For those overseeing channel sales, you know there is a ton you can measure… but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
Understanding which channel sales KPIs to track depends on the stage of your channel sales strategy — do you already have a few partners, are just getting started, or have a robust team managing the entire process?
It also depends on where you want to focus your time and effort. We can only pull so many levers at one time — focusing on the right ones at the right time is critical. Whether it’s partner recruitment metrics, onboarding success, or comparing direct to indirect sales, knowing the why behind what to measure matters.
That’s because measuring the right KPIs can turn a mediocre channel partnership into a mutually beneficial, highly lucrative relationship.
If you’re new to channel sales this guide will help set the foundation for the channel sales KPIs you should focus on — and if you’re a more experienced channel sales expert, we’re sure you’ll find a KPI or two that you haven’t thought about yet.
Remember: You can’t fix what you don’t measure!
Setting the Stage for Channel Sales Success
The way companies discover, manage, and measure channel sales processes and partners is shifting from generic to specific — meaning what you measure matters even more.
Before robust lead management and routing tools came along, companies had to implement blanket policies and procedures across their channel sellers. They couldn’t route the leads to the best partner because…well, they didn’t know who that was! And if they did, usually the manual tasks of locating, emailing, confirming and managing with spreadsheets, delayed lead response time significantly. They also couldn’t contrast and compare partners or even indirect versus direct sales without having to manually gather and analyze data.
Because there are a wide variety of channel sales strategies a company can engage in, understanding what channels you’ve mastered and where you want to go next will be foundational in understanding what KPIs matter most to your organization.
Take a look at this list and see what type of channel sales partnerships your organization utilizes. Maybe there is an opportunity to expand into a new category or shift your focus on a channel that shows potential.
Whether you’re deep into the world of channel sales or are just getting your toes wet, understanding the differences between each type of channel sales partner can help set you up for long-term success.
Types of Channel Sales Partners
- Resellers – Purchases your goods and resells them to an end consumer
- Distributors – An intermediary who resells your product to another business who then sells to the end consumer
- Affiliates – Where one company refers leads to another company
- Wholesalers – An intermediary who resells large quantities of another company’s products to a retailer
- Marketing Agencies – Partners or organizations that help create advertisements and generate traffic to your products
- Value Added Resellers – A business that purchases a product from other companies – usually within the IT industry – and adds value by bundling it with additional products or for the purpose of reselling.
- Independent Retailers – Independently owned businesses who sell many companies’ products
- Dealers – Sell specific products directly to end consumers such as car dealers
- Agents – An intermediary Individual who facilitates the sales and buying processes between two organizations
The Channel Sales KPIs Every Enterprise Should be Measuring
Good news: while there are many different types of channel sales, measuring them is relatively the same. That’s because they all operate on the same principles: successful recruitment, training, and engagement, and follow up.
That being said, there are different types of channel sales KPIs — some are internal while others are external. Chances are you’re already measuring a few of these… but are you wasting your time on metrics that don’t matter?
In the new data-driven world we live in, making sure you’re measuring the metrics that matter will enable you, your team, and your partners to achieve better results in less time.
Channel Sales Recruitment Metrics
Selecting the right partners is the start of channel sales success. If you’re not being selective with who you choose to partner with, you could end up with a lot of distractions that aren’t producing real results. Channel sales recruitment is all about finding the balance between high-quality and high-quantity partners.
Based on analyzing our customers, these are the top recruitment metrics every enterprise should be tracking:
- Total number of partners in each channel sale category – the number of people or companies that will sell and distribute your company’s products that will increase revenue.
- Recruitment quota attainment – measures how close a company was to reaching a goal by measuring a salesperson’s total amount of sales as a percentage of their share during a time period.
- Partner attrition rate – measures the number of employees or customers lost and can be calculated annually to determine progress.
- Partner recruitment channel percentages – valuable channel data that helps identify which sources what works best to attract high quality candidates.
- Average cost of recruiting new partner – reducing the amount of time to fill vacant positions will attract better talented candidates and find areas to improve your sales.
- Average cost of onboarding new partner – guaranteeing your partner is onboarded successfully by having training materials and programs will set them us for success.
- Average length of recruiting new partner – it can take between six to twelve months before you find an ideal partner to work with based on company needs.
- Average length of onboarding new partner – after recruitment it can take from 30-90 days to train the right partner.
Once you’ve agreed to partner with an individual or organization, it’s all about setting them up for success. If you try to just throw a hundred page guide at them and expect them to memorize it front to back, you’re pretty much dead in the water. Even if you go the technical route and add a new app or platform for a channel partner to log into, you’re just adding more tasks to their already busy day.
Instead, try hosting live digital workshops that engage the partner(s) with interactive opportunities. Test their knowledge in fun but challenging quizzes and think about giving rewards to those who ace the exam!
Remember: training a channel partner isn’t just one-and-done. As you release new products, update your brand messaging, or go after new verticals, keeping your partners up-to-date will ensure messaging doesn’t get mixed up.
- Percentage of partners using provided sales and marketing collateral – using the right media material to help generate new leads and communicate your company’s message.
- Percentage of partners who attend ongoing training – preparing your potential partners to represent your products is a prerequisite part of the hiring process before becoming a partner.
- Average partner satisfaction score – a scoring framework can help you identify strong or weak points that can lead to increased sales and determine if your efforts are having a positive impact
- Percentage of partners who attempted certification – it is important to use a system that is easy to track your partners certifications and will help you monitor where they stand at training levels.
- Percentage of partners who completed certification – partners who complete certification allow you to measure the capabilities of your channels.
Your organization got into channel sales for one reason: to expand revenue opportunities. If your channel sales are costing you more than they’re bringing in, you’re wasting time and money!
That’s why it is important to measure overall channel sales success. But, be sure to not be quick to criticize or judge your channel partners. Half of their success is your policies and procedures on helping them achieve their (and your) goals.
- Turnaround time (aka speed to lead) – the amount of time between a channel expressing interest in your business and the amount of time it takes for you to respond.
- Number of leads accepted – helps you assess the channel’s performance based on the number of leads it produces.
- Number of leads declined – any leads that are rejected should be reviewed and updated into your company’s organization system that includes the reason it was rejected.
- # of leads timed out – the number of rejected or dismissed leads should be looked upon again for further analysis or resubmission.
- Lead response time – the average time it takes for a sales representative to follow up with a lead.
- Total number of partner deals assigned – overwhelming number of partners can lead you to have no more room to upsell and market your products to resellers.
- Average value of partner deal – choosing a partner that agrees with your business objectives will help you deliver great performances and lead to new partner deals.
- Lead conversion rates (vs. direct sales) – assessed how effectively you turn qualified leads to new customers.
- Percentage of accepted partner deals – registering partner deals helps reward your partners for increasing sales and provides visibility in performances.
- Average sales cycle length – the average amount of time it takes to close a potential deal with partners can take at least four months.
You can’t measure channel sales in a silo. Understanding how your channel sales strategy is performing against other sales channels enables you to understand where best to invest your time, talent, and funding.
- CAC for each partner sale versus direct sale – The amount of money being spent on sales and marketing strategies during certain time periods divided by the number of customers acquired.
- Retention rates for partner sales versus direct sales – The percentage of customers who continue to pay for a company’s product over a specific time frame.
- Cross-sell and upsell rates for partner sales versus direct sales – Cross-sell rates is the practice of selling a different product to a customer whereas upsell rates consist of convincing a customer to buy a higher-end product, both are beneficial to increase revenue.
This is where LeadAssign comes in.
If you work in channel sales, you know how difficult it can be to manage all of the moving pieces. From finding and training partners to managing distribution, it can be hard to keep track of it all.
We’ve helped over 300 organizations increase their channel sales by empowering their policies, processes, and analyses with an end-to-end lead routing and management platform. From lead enrichment to customized channel sales KPIs dashboards, we enable our customers to transform their channel sales from complex and chaotic to simple and slick.
With over 18,000 real estate agents managing more than 400,000 leads annually, Royal LePage implemented LeadAssign to help onboard agents faster, increase sales velocity, and get real-time lead conversion data to help improve processes and policies fast.
Hewlett Packard used LeadAssign’s lead routing and management platform to route leads via browser, SMS, and email while analyzing and improving their KPIs. After implementing LeadAssign, they saw an increase of almost 9x conversion to customer rate and routed thousands of leads instantly to over 960 partners in Europe, Asia, and North America.
Want to see if LeadAssign is right for you?