Channel Data: Leveraging Insights for Better Business Decisions

Channel data has become deeper and richer; helping to drive channel incentive performance management and determine who is engaged with your brand. When it comes to making strategic business decisions, many channel marketers leverage data and analytics to accelerate growth, increase engagement and improve ROI.

In this 360insights webinar; Leveraging Channel Insights for Better Business Decisions, Steven Kellam, VP of Alliances moderates a discussion between presenters, Maria Chien, Service Director, Channel Marketing Strategies @SiriusDecisions and Bryan Spitzer, Director of Solution Consulting @360insights. Bryan and Maria discuss the state of channel data and what it means to be data informed. They also outline some common challenges associated with leveraging channel data and how to measure channel incentive program performance. The importance of matching insights to key channel personas is also discussed.

The State of Channel Data

According to an article in the Economist, “data” is the “new oil” that is greasing our economy. Most sales and marketing channel leaders agree that channel data is an invaluable source for evaluating behavior. Yet, many find it a challenge to use effectively. They struggle out-of-the gate with locating, accessing and turning it into actionable insights. According to a recent report Winning in the Channel Requires Data-Driven Program Innovation published by @Forrester, Dave Geoghegan, CEO of ChannelEyes, says, “Depending on the industry, upward of 80% of channel leaders don’t know who ended up with their products.”

What It Means to Be Data Informed

In the webinar, Maria Chien outlines a framework for channel marketers to become more data informed. She explains they need to create real business value by turning data into prescriptive actions that align to key stakeholders. The overall message is that data needs to be understood and managed effectively. This will empower teams to use it more strategically. Placing the right information in the hands of key decision makers at every level of the supplier organization, facilitates timely and informed decisions.

In the Forrester report, Winning in the Channel, Jason Atkins, CEO of 360insights explains, “Matching the customer journey with the partner journey through incentives and motivation techniques is a best practice.”

In order for channel professionals to design effective incentive programs, they should use channel data in a broader context that links to previous sales, customer feedback, pricing history, inventory behavioral data and other systems.

Common Channel Data Pain Points

Data and system challenges have forced many channel organizations to make critical decisions on the basis of hunches, anecdotes and outdated assumptions. Is there too much or too little available data? What is the velocity and veracity and are there too many siloed sources? Some of the consequences include, a lack of understanding of customer and partner behaviors. It also focuses investments on the wrong partners. Plus, the inability to measure return on channel investment and track true lead performance results in missed sales opportunities.

Finally, there is the issue of experiencing an Insights Chasm where according to Bryan Spitzer, a data gap exists. Not until you know how to interpret and understand data can you truly differentiate your brand and achieve organizational goals. Simply looking back at data is generally not enough. We need to start looking forward at how to optimize channel data through modeling and forecasting. In the webinar, Maria mentions, “Moving to a channel incentives platform can help to improve the data collection process thereby saving a lot of time and money by providing timely and accurate information within a single source of truth.”

The Key to Good Performance Measurement

The first step in good performance measurement is to distinguish between what is done, and the results produced. According to Maria, this requires a good performance measurement plan that properly scopes reporting deliverables and engages each audience to align performance measurement to business decisions. This can be done by applying four measurement metrics from the SiriusDecisions Key Performance Metrics Framework i.e. Impact, Output, Activity and Readiness.

Leveraging Data Beyond Reporting and Matching Insights to Key Personas

Channel marketers must tailor reports to stakeholder needs. In the webinar, Maria Chien states, “just because data can be measured doesn’t mean that internal stakeholders will find it useful.” Knowing what counts, is a major challenge. Channel marketers need to make the data relevant to who receives the reports. But how do you get started? Maria explains that channel marketers need to start by defining a process for developing marketing measurement with three stages that include, initiation, discovery and alignment.

Every organization is different, however, there are usually five to six key metrics that are important to each audience i.e. percentage of productive partners, partner-sourced pipeline, partnered-sourced revenue, segment views, and channel marketing ROI. By understanding your audience and aligning to their needs will help demonstrate channel marketing performance relative to strategic corporate goals and growth strategy.

To learn more valuable insights from this presentation, check out the full replay of this webinar.

If you wanted to skim the slides, review the full presentation deck here.

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About 360insights

360insights is a global channel technology provider offering its Channel Success Platform, the first integrated software-as-a-service solution enabling brands to manage, measure and optimize consumer rebates, SPIFFs, volume incentives, MDP/CO-OP, sales allowances, points programs, and associated spending in one central location using data-driven channel insights, all underpinned with concierge support including program design and management, regulatory and compliance services, help desk, claims adjudication and payment services.

The company serves over 150 of the world’s top brands and produces loads of content for channel marketers wanting to up their game, including The Channel Edge Podcast, Channel Pulse Report and their company blog.

About SiriusDecisions

SiriusDecisions empowers the world’s leading marketing, sales and product professionals to make better decisions, execute with precision and accelerate growth.