The Voice of the Channel


Partner Improvement Series, Part I

How to Increase Profitability and Success with Partner Lifetime Value®

By Theresa Caragol, Achieve Unite Founder & CEO

As the supply chain model changes to be increasingly based on collaborative partnerships, companies are looking for ways to inspire loyalty in both their customers and partners.

The value of loyal customers is well-established, both in empirical literature and industry wisdom about best practices (increasing profit by saving on the costs of prospecting and nurturing new customers, providing a reliable metric of success, etc.). Companies are finding a benefit from developing and nurturing the relationships they have with their partners—and, as they do with their customers, they are placing a premium on developing partners that remain loyal throughout their lifetime.

While research has also shown that cooperative relationships with partners can greatly benefit profitability and are an important measurement of success, many companies are deeply unsatisfied with their partnerships. How can this situation be changed? Knowing the benefits of healthy partnerships, what can service providers, MSPs, and their channel partners do to improve their B2B partnerships and cultivate loyalty? How can a company know which aspects of its B2B partnerships need improvement? How can this improvement be carried out?

While research shows that B2B cooperation can benefit profit, context and the type of cooperation is also important. Cooperation can take many forms—sharing information, tackling problems together as businesses, etc., and not all these aspects of cooperation have equal impact.

To better understand the ways in which IT channel partners and vendors can work toward building more collaborative partnerships, AchieveUnite conducted a Partner Lifetime Value™ study. The data-driven research project, which evolved our Customer Lifetime Value, was aimed at investigating the proactive steps ways IT organizations are taking to build Partner Lifetime Value® and providing a quantifiable measure of the success of their partnerships.

Specifically, our study assessed channel partnership practices and identified the areas and practices most crucial to success. Practices such as having a conscious partner profile were found to be highly predictive of success, and broad domains of partnership practice such as "Investment and Planning," and "Allegiance and Cooperation" were identified.

One crucial aim of this study was the notion of going beyond B2B partnerships as merely sustainable. Previous research on B2B partnerships has often focused on the costs of switching business partners, and other deterrents of leaving partnerships. This research looked not only at costs of leaving, but at the notion that business partnerships may be actively enriching and serve as sources of growth. In this six-part blog series, we'll share our findings. It's research your business can't afford to miss. Join us in the series!

Theresa Caragol is founder and CEO of TCC, LLC, and Achieve Unite, a strategic advisory firm that provides business acceleration services to global enterprise. She has more than 20 years' experience in building and managing multi-million-dollar indirect channel teams and strategic alliance business and programs from inception to sales success. Prior to founding TCC, Theresa held senior executive roles at Extreme Networks, Ciena and Nortel.

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