When measuring the success of an AI partnership, elements such as revenue, profit, cost of acquisition, lead generation and deal cycle times are all excellent hard-dollar benchmarks that a company should track.

Similarly, there are many metric-based components for generating and maintaining strong alignment with partners. These include tracking and coordinating leads and opportunities generated by the collaboration. How many leads are you both creating as a unit during a specific time period? How many of those leads are converted?

Benchmarking success against those metrics depends heavily on the length of your sales cycle, the scope of your partnership and the industry into which you’re selling. Regardless of the variables, each opportunity should be tracked with both parties identifying the cost, potential or actual revenue, and an optimum ROI scenario against which to measure each opportunity.

Determine what worked and what didn’t during initial opportunities and learn from those engagements. Did your marketing messaging allow you to differentiate our solution effectively? Did closing the sale take longer than anticipated or alternatively were there some factors that caused unnecessary delays? By creating measurable parameters for every stage of the sales cycle in a partnership, both parties can be more effective moving forward.

Qualitative Success

Success in a partnership is not solely a question of expense versus revenue on each client opportunity. Sometimes a relationship can yield long-term value that may not be visible in the short term. For example: One of the key benefits of an AI partnership is gaining access to key executives at new customers and organizations — such as when your partner has a relationship with a leader within a particular Fortune 50 company that you lack. Your partner, meanwhile, may not have any relationships with boutique firms, but that just happens to be your specialty. You may not close a sale in the first year through these introductions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve wasted effort, as effective networking is a viable partnership goal.

The same goes for invitations to panel discussions, closed-door roundtables, industry networking events — some of these could come via your partner relationship. Someone you meet at one of these sessions can be the key to a major deal five years from now.

There’s another critical component to partnership benchmarking that is highly abstract but equally valuable. Partnerships tend to breed inspiration (either organically or at times through competition). An idea generated during a brainstorming session or a client meeting might not fit the scope of your partnership, but it may result in a new approach or something less tangible that still benefits your business. Don’t assume the idea would have struck you without having been a part of a partnership — keep track of where and when inspiration strikes and give credit where credit is due.

Measuring the success of your partnership isn’t solely about leads and new business. A fortuitous CEO introduction, a spot on an industry panel, or inspired thinking that generates innovative services can be just as valuable.

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