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Shift your channel into a data-informed mindset

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

Today’s companies are fully driven by data. Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple to name a few. But what has caused this enormous data drive, and how can you shift your channel organization into a data-informed mindset?

Two ways to look at data

 

Data as a resource

On the one hand, companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple, are leveraging data as identity tracking. They use the data they collect about their customers to create hyper-specific marketing in order to generate sales. These businesses have a huge resource of information that they leverage against their competitors when it comes to marketing. Who has the biggest pool of people to run ad campaigns to?

Data as an indicator

On the other hand, there are businesses that don’t just see data as a resource, but rather as a way to make informed decisions. They can use data to break down process flows in order to allocate resources effectively and make accurate decisions. This works great for small businesses that are agile and can typically pivot cheaply. Data will help you make accurate decisions, like which new markets to go after.
 

The quality of your data matters

The closer to the customer, the better the data. You’ll see that companies with access to a lot of data are often the closest to their end-users. They have an obsession with it. Because how else can you predict that I will need to purchase professional conferencing software if you don’t know that I have already purchased a large screen and speaker set-up for my conference room?

Accuracy is key. The more you know about someone’s buying habits and what they already have and use, the better you can service your end-users. There is a big shift from selling to servicing – something that is reflected in a shift from reseller to tech partnerships. So think about how to use data in order to service, not sell.
 

What type of data will help your decision making?

When determining what type of data will help your decision making, there are 3 questions you need to answer:

  • Where are we going? 

Set your North Star metric within your company

This should be a metric that you can align your entire company on, something that you can do to bring the most value both to the market and to your end-users. This North-Star metric can be broken down into team goals and individual goals. Each person should have a target – it makes for an efficient business.

Our VP Partnerships, Alex Whitford is very passionate about OKRs. “For me, being able to tie the strands of business together so that each individual knows that they’re part of a well-functioning machine, not just that they’re contributing and they are valuable to that growth.”

  • How do we get there?

Turning your lag metric into lead metrics

This one is fully fuelled by data. And it has become so much easier than in the past. Say you want to do a train journey from London to Edinburgh. All you do is put it in a maps app on your phone and it will calculate for you:

  • What is the best route?
  • How long will it take to get there?
  • Which stops will I make on the way?


Lead and lag metrics breakdown

Your North-Star metric is also known as a lag metric: what are you aiming for?
Your lead measures are the smaller objectives that will get you closer to that goal.

Take revenue. Your lag metric would be:

  • Grow 10 million in the next 12 months.”

Your lead metrics would be:

  • Number of partners onboarded
  • Number of end-user expansion

Smaller objectives make your lag metric easier to digest. If you need to recruit 10 new partners who will each bring in a million, and your customer conversion rate is 30%, then you need them to reach out to 30 new customers.
Then break that down into even smaller objectives.

Let’s go back to our journey from London to Edinburgh. It’s a long trip, but if you break it down into mile-long jumps, suddenly it’s much less daunting.

In practice you need to break down your 10 million revenue goal into say, 36 months. From there you can set monthly or even daily targets to focus on.

What data do you already have? What can you focus on, on a daily basis? This will really help you be in control of your North-Star metric. And allow you to see by when you will get there.

  • When will we get there?

Get into a predictable model and make it more predictable

If you use the lag and lead metric model, then over time, you are accumulating more and more data. The more data you have, the more you will learn. The better you can predict when you will get there.
It will allow you to shift resources within your business in a way that makes sense and works towards a common goal.

“I really like the ‘when’ because it’s actually a metric of ambition,” says Whitford. “Which I think most people miss.”

In the London to Edinburgh example. If we know that the journey should take 6 hours. Then trying to get there in 5 hours is ambitious. But trying to get there in 9 hours is not. You know this because you have data from your maps app.

But often we see businesses set arbitrary goals like ‘we need to generate 20% growth’. Is that good? You don’t know because you don’t know what you are doing to deliver this plan. Better data informs you. It allows you to be ambitious, predict growth and understand business performance.

Hit your OKRs this quarter within the first ten weeks? Great, next quarter we can set them a little higher.

Now you have a clear pattern of your North Star metric, your lead metrics, and all the other little actions that allowed you to accomplish your goals.

 

How do you shift your channel into a data-informed mindset? 

In order to get a channel that thrives on data and is truly predictable you need to answer the following 3 questions:

Where are you going
Your North Star metric or your lag metric – revenue for example.

How are you getting there
Your lead metric. What are you doing on a daily basis to make sure you eventually achieve your North Star metric?

When will we get there?
Get your business into a predictable model and make your culture data-driven.

Want more helpful insights into turning your channel data-informed? Listen to episode 6 of Partnerships Unraveled below. Or go to our podcast page to stream via your preferred channel. 

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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