Pick a number, any number…

Douglas Adams said that the meaning of life is 42…or is it 39…or is it 46?

One of the most difficult things within an organisation is to agree on a number.  If you ask Finance what the revenue of a particular Channel Partner is, they will give you their number. The Sales person will have their number based on their comp. Sales Ops will have their number. Marketing will have their number.  Everyone tracks Partner revenue differently as they measure different things that are meaningful to them.

But this is not much help when you need to get to the ‘real’ number in order to see what’s going on with your Channel.

In order to really understand and manage your Channel Partners you need to know what they “look like” and arguably the most important aspect of this is how much business they do with you.  To do this you must be able to work from a revenue number that is solid and that you are confident in.  This means that your revenue reporting systems and processes need to be robust and consistent.  Automate as much as you can. Any manual manipulation or editing might seem the easiest option on a small scale or as a one-time problem fix, however this is not scalable or without the risk of error.

When Partners benefits within a Partner Program are calculated from their revenue performance, you need to be 100% confident in the number that you use.  Hell hath no fury like a Partner who thinks they have been short-changed on their revenue performance.

When doing any kind of Channel analysis, check that the rest of the business agrees with the numbers you are using, don’t just assume ‘your’ number has a consensus.  Otherwise you will struggle to get support for your findings as they can be easily dismissed because ‘the revenue numbers are wrong.’

Agreeing on a number sounds obvious but it is often overlooked.  So the next time you are looking at revenue, think for a minute where your numbers came from and if you are really seeing the full picture.

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