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Setting Yourself Up For Success: The Importance of Defining Goals for your Partner Program

Oct 07, 2019

Customer Success Manager APAC

The Importance of Defining Goals for your Partner Program

Within all aspects of business, it is essential to outline specific and achievable goals. The benefits are clear: this allows your employees to have a definitive understanding of the company objectives and helps with setting priorities. So, why should your partnership channel be any different?

When it comes to partnership programs, it’s easy to fall into the trap of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Things appear to be running smoothly and targets are hopefully being met. However, have you considered whether the initiatives you have in place and the tasks you’re undertaking on a daily basis actually align with your overall business goals?

If your program appears stagnant, it could be attributed the lack of meaningful goals and execution. If this is the case, or if you are new to the channel, it could be time to review or set your partnership program goals. 

Why is goal setting important in the partner channel? 

There are many different types of goals and metrics you can implement as part of your program. However, before you get started it’s important to understand why you’re setting goals and what they mean as part of your wider business objectives.

1. It will focus and empower your team

There are endless opportunities and innovative ideas within the partnership channel, and it can be tempting to try and do it all but setting specific goals will allow you to apply laser focus and undertake activities that are strongly aligned with your overall business strategy and team KPIs.

As an example, a broader business goal might be a 20% increase in new customer acquisition but your team is pouring their energy and resources into a customer loyalty. Setting a channel specific goal that aligns with the business strategy will empower your team to focus on key initiatives, and dial back their effort on initiatives that aren’t as important.

2. They help to obtain buy-in from the business/executive stakeholders

No person is an island and this is especially true for those of us working in the partner channel. In order for revenue to grow, spend to be managed, and relationships to thrive, you’ll need buy-in from at least one executive and numerous business units.

Any executive or business leader will need to be convinced that your activity is relevant to organizational performance, and clearly defined and aligned goals and objectives will go a long way to doing this.  After all, studies show that senior executives dismiss good ideas from below far too often, largely for this reason. 

On the other side of the coin, presenting achievements back to executives and stakeholders will be challenging if you can’t articulate what they are, or contextualize them.

3. You can determine what resources you might need to achieve your goals.

Obtaining buy-in at a high level from senior stakeholders is one thing, but it’s likely you’ll need resources of some kind to reach your goals. Whether you need additional budget, headcount or technical resources, you’ll almost certainly need to tie any requests to an outcome, preferably one that can be quantified.

Let’s say you have some great ideas for creative campaigns which will require approval  from the brand team and increased budget from the finance team but will increase AOV or booking value. You are much more likely to win hearts and minds if you explain that you have a goal of increasing booking value on every order in line with the company objective of driving a 20% increase in revenue

4. Goals establish mutually beneficial relationships with partners and open collaboration opportunities

The most successful partnerships are transparent, open, and collaborative. If you can be clear about what you’re trying to achieve with your partners, they will often have a multitude of ideas about how you can collaborate. After all, they know their customers better than anyone.

A previously goal-less approach might have inadvertently incentivized behaviors that are in opposition to your business goals. 

Perhaps you have a loyalty program offering points on purchase or for members. Your partners may be driving traffic to your loyalty pages with the best intentions, such as wanting any customer they send to your site to become your most loyal customer. What you might not be aware of is that they have identified a drop off in conversions to these pages.    

Coincidentally, you now have a goal to increase your conversion rate by X% and on sharing this with your partner they have an immediate solution to help you reach your goal and increase sales.

How Can You Set Goals?

When it comes to setting goals, it’s imperative that you partnership strategy aligns with wider business and marketing goals. As a starting point, work with others in your team to ensure your goals are aligned and complementary of each other.

There are six key areas you can set goals around:

  1. Measurement
  2. Revenue
  3. Volume
  4. Profitability
  5. Scale
  6. Brand Awareness

By dedicating some time to set goals, you can ensure they are both measurable and achievable. When you’re ready to get started, here are some strategies and tactics you can use to set goals:

  • Understand where you are starting from
  • Review your company’s mission, vision, and goals
  • Review your team/department goals
  • Consider your pain points and obstacles
  • Adopt an analytical approach. If you don’t have the data to arrive at a certain number, what are you tracking/measuring?
  • Know your limits – what resources do you have to do this?
  • Break your goals down into smaller attainable steps 


To get you set up, here are some examples of questions you can ask yourself to help set your goals. Remember that goals should be personalized to your business, so use these questions only as a starting point:

  1. How much revenue do you generate from the channel currently?
  2. How does this compare to your online sales overall?
  3. What is your current ROI?
  4. Which products are your partners helping you to sell?
  5. What does your ideal customer look like?
  6. What has your growth rate been over the past 12 months?

Remember that even though your goals should always be realistic for your business, it doesn’t mean you can’t look outside for help. If you’re already operating in the partnerships channel, work with your Customer Success Manager who can give you tips and strategies on setting achievable goals. Finally, remember that goals are there to be accomplished so ensure you’re always evaluating and adapting your goals to suit. Whether you’re achieving and want to set a higher growth target, or you’re under-performing and need to re-evaluate how realistic your goals are – remember that your objectives should be as evolving as your business.

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