Impact has today released a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting.
The study, Smooth the Partnership Journey by Learning from high-maturity companies, provides a set of actionable next steps for optimisation, fully tailored to the maturity level of the individual programme.
The World Trade Organisation cites that 75 per cent of world trade flows indirectly: not through direct selling but through channels, partnerships and alliances.
Impact’s commissioned study confirms that partnerships remain a significant revenue generator with29 per cent of direct-to-consumer (DTC) decision makers estimating a 20 per cent or greater year-over-year revenue growth rate for 2019 from their partnership channel sales.
“Partnerships are an increasingly significant driver of enterprise growth. The question is no longer ‘if’ or ‘why’ – it’s ‘how do you put a programme into action?’ What insights can new partnership programmes apply from those who have been forging the path?” said Impact chief partnerships officer Michael Head.
“This study provides partnership professionals a window into the methodologies of the most successful programmes, down to the benchmark partner mix by vertical or tactical recommendations for each stage.”
The study found that there are seven phases within a partnership lifecycle with each phase having different goals and objectives depending on the maturity of the program. The seven phases are: Planning, Discovery and Recruitment, Contracting and Payouts, Tracking, Engaging, Protecting and Monitoring, and Optimisation., The study recommends a different approach within each phase for high- versus low-maturity programmes.
Low maturity programmes are often new programmes, with a siloed approach and limited automation capabilities. High maturity partnership programmes are defined as those that cover a wide breadth of partnership types and take a coordinated/de-siloed strategy and approach to their partnerships, standardising how they manage all types of partnerships through a unified life cycle that runs with automation technology that lets them scale their program and accelerate its growth.
The study found a number of high-level insights that are true across all phases and for programs of all maturities:
- Planning is challenging across the board. It is the second most challenging phase behind Discovery and Recruitment for high maturity companies and behind Optimisation for low maturity companies.
- Maturity = Growth. The maturity of an organisation makes a difference in revenue: a quarter of high maturity companies get 25 per cent or more of their overall company revenue from partnerships, in contrast to only 14 per cent of low maturity companies.
- Partner Mix and Scale. Programmes mature as the type of partners are diversified and the scope of the programme scales: low maturity firms have often been reliant on traditional affiliates, while average maturity firms have partnered with a wider variety of partner types.
Julianne Kiider, Tuft & Needle Affiliate and Influencer Manager commented: “Since working with Impact, our affiliate program has grown to be a fully scaled ecosystem of diverse partnership types that generate incremental revenue. Automation was key to the process; once we automated the more tedious phases, we were able to reallocate that time to relationship building and expanding our strategic efforts.”
The Smooth the Partnership Journey by Learning from high-maturity companies respondent pool was made up of marketers across all direct-to-consumer (DTC) verticals, including: retail, travel & hospitality, financial services and consumer software.
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