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How to tie revenue to partner marketing?

4 min read By November 3, 2022 November 18th, 2022 No Comments

There are so many sources of revenue when working in the channel. End-users, partners, distributors… It can be complicated to establish where the cash is coming from. And that’s even harder with marketing. How can you even tie revenue to marketing? To partner marketing

Here we are, in front of one of the biggest challenges posed by the channel: connecting revenue and partner marketing. It’s such a crucial measurement to be able to invest in the right places!

Revenue attribution and infrastructure is broken in the channel

If you need to call your partners and ask them if they did a good job… scaling is going to be complicated. Which is why nobody uses that system. Instead, look to automation, which is pretty common in operations and sales. There is a certain amount of automation in marketing, but not when it comes to revenue attribution in channel. You need that level of automation in marketing in order to scale at the same rate as other departments. Otherise it will eventually slow you down. Especially knowing that ROI is the ruling metric for budget allowances. Agreed? Let’s dive into it then.

  • Stop focusing on MQLs

In channel and partner marketing, everybody’s obsessed with MQLs. But, truly, how much of your revenue actually comes from those leads? For most channels, less than 5%…

“I’ve even heard less than 1% for at least five multi-billion dollar vendors”, confessed our VP of Partnerships, Alex Whitford.

Think about all the market developments funds (MDF) and activities invested to generate MQLs while they’re generating so little revenue. That hurts. That other 95% doesn’t just fall from the sky. It comes from proactively messaging partners, great service, on-point customer support, awesome content posted online, and social media networking – just to give a few examples.

  • Check out the dark funnel

Imagine that an end-user has heard about your product already – from a friend for instance. This end-user will directly buy online or chat about your brand with a partner that they know and eventually purchase. That’s it. No forms. No MQLs.  Everything is happening in what is called: the dark funnel. Now, how can you track that? There’s no easy answer. But basically, those dark funnel conversations come from demand generation. Onto the next chapter…

  • Demand generation = Revenue

Want to know if your partner marketing is really paying off? Prove that partners are participating in your demand-generation activities. Yes. That’s it. Partner performance is the simple metric that will get your budget to grow. We’ve developed a partner marketing engagement score (PMES) to indicate revenue performance. We’ve seen a very tight correlation between partner recruitment and enablement and revenue! Being a great channel marketer is not all about making content available or distributing. It’s also knowing: what did that campaign do, which asset had such an impact on revenue and which partners performed? In other words, it’s about being able to clearly predict ROI and measure it.

Customer Success as a blueprint for partner marketing

Do you know what moves the needle when it comes to partner marketing? If not, rest assured. Your customer success team probably does.

  • Campaign participation
  • Partner network demographics
  • Partner interactions
  • Partner NPS

These are the metrics they live by, all day, every day. Aim to correlate what you hear from customer success, AKA partner engagement to end-users reach, engagement, retention. It will provide that one metric that will let you know which partners are most active, which partners are participating in your marketing activities. Basically, which partners are helping you generate the most revenue. Here we have it! The key to tying revenue to partner marketing! The partner health score. Thanks to that, you’ll finally know exactly on which partners to focus and where to increase your budgets.


Curious to know more about channel marketing? If you liked this article about how to tie revenue to partner marketing, be sure to check out Partnerships Unraveled episode 4. Listen below or head to Partnerships Unraveled for links to your favorite streaming service.

Audrey Senecal

Audrey Senecal

Audrey is a Content Writer at Channext. She started out as Customer Success Manager before switching to content. Channel intelligence, partner engagement and marketing are her favorite topics. Ideas about what you want to read next? Connect on LinkedIn.

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