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Data-Driven Channel Management


Using Analytics to Improve Indirect Channel Performance

B2B companies across a broad range of industry sectors are increasingly leveraging channel partners to promote, sell and/or distribute their products and services.  Indirect channel models are an attractive option for many companies for several reasons.  Channel partners often provide a cost effective means to extend coverage, particularly in remote and emerging markets.   Channel partners can accelerate account acquisition and penetration by providing access to their customer relationships.  In some sectors, channel partners are uniquely positioned to address customer demands for unbiased guidance, integrated solutions and advanced services.

Unfortunately, up until recently channel management has been more of an art than a science. Data and system challenges have forced many channel managers to make critical decisions based on hunches, anecdotes and outdated rules of thumb.   The good news is that recent innovations in data management and business intelligence tools make it easier than ever to analyze data from channel partners and end customers to better inform decision-making.   A new spirit of collaboration and trust is emerging between manufacturers and their distribution partners, creating an opportunity to share insights that help both parties accelerate profitable revenue growth and better serve end customers.

The objective of this course is to help channel sales and marketing leaders leverage data analytics to improve indirect channel performance.  The course will include practical examples of best practices and guidance on how to develop a channel analytics engine for your business.

Recommended for: Channel Sales, Marketing or Operations managers in business and industrial markets


This course will teach you:

  • How to gather, synthesize and manage data from channel partners, end customers and 3rd party providers
  • How to use analytics to identify of channel performance drivers and better focus your channel investment on the right partners and programs
  • Best practice examples of how industry leaders are utilizing analytics to improve channel productivity and boost ROI in their channel partner programs
  • Frameworks and methodologies to help you generate actionable insights from data that is readily available to most companies
  • How to gain partner minds


This course is only delivered as an in-house, custom program for ISBM Members.


Introduction: Data-Driven Channel Management

  • Critical channel strategy & management decisions
  • Importance of making fact-based decisions in the channel
  • Types and sources of channel data

Evaluating Channel Partner Performance

  • Assessing partner demand generation & market coverage
  • Evaluating distributor inventory management
  • Tracking partner sales performance
  • Measuring partner impact on customer satisfaction

Channel Partner Segmentation

  • Segmenting partners based on value and growth potential
  • Identifying differences in channel partner  business models and capabilities
  • Attitudinal and behavior based partner segmentation

Predictive Analytics – Improving Return on Channel Investment

  • Assessing the impact of channel program investments (e.g. enablement, incentives, demand generation campaigns)
  • Identifying and prioritizing channel performance drivers
  • Case study: Reallocating MDF/Co-op to boost channel performance

Collaborative Analytics – Building Partner Mindshare & Loyalty

  • Sharing insights with channel partners
  • Building your partners’ analytics capabilities
  • Case study:  Using customer data to identify bundling and cross-selling opportunities for channel partners

Implications on Partner Program Design

  • Redefining your partner value proposition
  • Defining reporting requirements (e.g., POS or sales out and level of detail)
  • Using incentives to drive channel partner behavior

Building a Channel Analytics Engine

  • Developing your Channel Operations team’s skills and capabilities
  • Channel data management best practices
  • Overview of BI/Analytics & reporting tools
  • Getting started: Developing a proof of concept, roadmap and business case

Participants in this seminar will receive a diagnostic tool that can be used to assess current channel management capabilities and identify gaps vs. best practices.


John DeSarbo
Principal, Channel Strategy & Management Practice Leader

John DeSarbo is a Principal in the ZS Associates San Mateo office with responsibility for ZS's Sales Channel Strategy & Management Practice.  John helps clients develop and execute multi-channel go-to-market strategy to scale coverage, improve customer acquisition/retention and accelerate revenue growth in target markets.  John and his teams conduct deep channel analytics and gather customer/partner insight to uncover the drivers of channel performance.  John helps his clients utilize this insight to design and manage alliance and channel partner programs and build high-performing indirect sales organizations. John works with clients across a  broad range of industries with a particular focus on the tech sector.

John has 20 years of consulting and industry experience focused on sales and marketing strategy and operations.  Before joining ZS, John led the Marketing function for Presidio, a $2B+ IT services provider. John has led numerous consulting engagements in North America, Europe and Asia with MarketBridge, CSC Index and Accenture. John also helped launch Cvent (NYSE:CVT), a leading provider of event management cloud services.
John is a frequent speaker on channel strategy and management topics for industry associations and leading business schools .John holds a BS in Industrial and Operations Engineering from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Filed under: Elective, Professional

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