Having worked across both Partners and Vendors for quite some time, I've lost count of the amount of annual debates around deal registration programs, processes, applicability and fairness over the years.
What's more astonishing is that 20 years on, it's still happening; and often with a view that tweaking the model is what helps align focus and grow the business.
However, is it all it's made out to be? Or is it an out-dated, blunt stick, with often questionable business value?
Let's consider the issues:
Requires a high degree of investment. If you're a vendor, I challenge you to look at the amount of resources & systems that are deployed to run your deal registration process.
If you're a technology partner, look at the amount of deal registration co-ordinators & alliance leads you have; to understand and properly leverage deal registration. You may even require data scientists just to understand the programs.
Even with all of this investment, has anyone ever reached a time where (internally & externally) every stakeholder is 100% happy?
How much does it actually get used? Often, many deal registration programs are only being used for between 20-40% of all deals. With all of that investment, if you're only capturing a small percentage of overall deals, what is the actual purpose of deal registration and is it worth the lost opportunity cost of investment into driving business?
The key challenge with deal registration moving forward
Customer transformation projects across software, cloud, and applications, are not only changing customer environments very rapidly, but also resulting in a more complex and risky sales environment.
When deal registration was in its prime time 10 years ago it was a reasonably-focused stakeholder selling motion. Fast forward to today, and now many sales involve complex buying committees across multiple technology teams & many line of business stakeholders all with variious requirements.
With this complex, solution-based selling motion that can cover numerous areas of a business, is deal registration remaining relevant?
Is it really a skills, or return-on-effort, issue?
This is where old-school deal registration programs don't adequately support the proactive investment required in solution selling.
But, what if my program is different? Consider your more complex solutions. If I register a deal, is there any margin or effort protection difference (up-front) if I wait for the order to land instead of investing the time to sell the whole solution?
Often, I see that a specific solution area is the strategic anchor point within an account, yet another area is the revenue & volume area of the account - which, in turn, attracts most of the rebates and incentives. As a salesperson, how would this encourage me to invest significant effort into the strategic (but often smaller) area of the account?
What if the margin model rewarded a salesperson's time investment into areas that are really becoming important? For example, expanding a single requirement into a sale across the entire portfolio, or executing a defined customer coverage plan instead of only a Proof of Concept?
When you look at your deal registration program, with all of its investment costs and the outcomes, is it the solution? Or is it the problem?
It's time to get real about deal registration
Now is the time to re-think the 20 year old, vanilla deal registration farmework. Don't be tempted into the usual thoughts - a quick win, a clip-on program... those won't move the needle.
Re-imagine what your business needs, and re-distribute your costs & resources to directly align with your sales team's needs that will drive sustainable business success moving forward.