SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

September 11, 2008 13:15 ET

Research Reveals Best Practices in Partner Relationship Management

Best-in-Class Organizations Are 5.7 Times More Likely Than Laggards to Indicate a 50-100% Increase in Channel Sales as a Result of Using Referral Fees

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - September 11, 2008) - Every company that sells products and solutions through channel partnerships is looking for new ways to maximize value from channel sales. In order to grow channel revenue, organizations must empower channel partners with incentives and resources. The need to manage the channel becomes equally as important as managing the company's own internal sales and marketing efforts. As a result, manufacturers rely heavily on technology to automate and standardize channel management with the goal of reducing channel conflict, improving partner loyalty, and increasing the overall revenue for the manufacturer. A recent research study entitled, "Channel Sales: Renaissance in Partner Management", conducted by the Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), reveals that 72% of survey respondents lack sufficient visibility into the performance of channel partners and 84% of all respondents are exploring investments in channel management in the next 12 to 24 months. This report reveals how top performing organizations currently blend process and technology to achieve superior channel partner performance. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=4896

While the challenges of increasing channel revenue (88%) and increasing visibility into the channel (28%) to improve forecasting and channel management were identified by all respondents as the top two factors causing companies to focus resources on channel management, the research reveals that Best-in-Class organization demonstrate superior performance in annual channel revenue by continually recruiting new partners and focusing on cross-selling/up-selling initiatives with existing partners. Best-in-Class companies indicated that they currently utilize partner relationship management solutions (89%), lead referral systems (59%), and lead tracking tools (55%) to improve the effectiveness of channel partners. Despite the adoption of technology solutions, the research reveals that Best-in-Class companies yield higher returns than all others by supplementing technology adoption with processes and other organizational capabilities. The result is increased revenue growth for Best-in-Class companies.

"The true renaissance in partner management lies in the revelation that technology and process play the most critical roles in supporting channel growth. All respondents demonstrated heavy adoption of PRM tools and technologies, and yet, Best-in-Class companies were able to deliver 131% more annual revenue per channel partners than peers," explains Ian Michiels, Senior Research Analyst in Aberdeen's Customer Management Group.

The report demonstrates the value of collectively leveraging organizational practices in process, performance measurement, knowledge management, and technology to provide a foundation for partner success. By combining organizational capabilities with a two-pronged strategic approach focusing on partner recruitment and cross-sell/up-sell initiatives, Best-in-Class companies are able to positively affect performance in average order value and deal size.

The research educates readers about the various aspects of partner management. The report also identifies Best-in-Class performance as a result of partner management initiatives compared to the Industry Average and Laggards and the difference in capabilities and technology use among maturity classes. A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part to the following underwriters: MaintenanceNet (www.maintenancenet.com) and Channeltivity (www.channeltivity.com). Furthermore this research is being disseminated to the market through the support of various media outlets, such as the ECT News network and ITO America. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=4896.

To access all of Aberdeen's complimentary research please visit http://research.aberdeen.com.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to AberdeenTM for insights that drive decisions. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

2008 AberdeenGroup, Inc., a Harte-Hanks Company
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