Business partnering has changed dramatically over the last 10 years, and with the move to cloud, digital transformation, and connected applications through APIs, the changes are accelerating. How you partner with other businesses is no longer a matter of just finding partners to resell your solutions. Today, businesses are co-innovating together, co-marketing, co-investing, and finally co-selling with their ecosystem partners to offer complete packaged solutions to their customers.
To do this effectively, businesses are turning to partner relationship management (PRM) systems to automate activities associated with distributor, reseller, MSPs, and VAR partner interactions to drive better channel sales. With a PRM, channel partners get controlled access to leads, joint opportunities, affiliate links, deals, sales metrics, and up-to-date documents of their partner programs. Workspan’s PRM guide for beginners provides even more information about the process and practice.
A PRM platform improves the interaction between vendors and indirect sales channel partners by providing them with proven technology that allows for more efficient workflows. PRMs enable businesses to manage the whole channel partnership relationship, from onboarding through optimization of partner relationships (or worst-case scenario, dissolution).
Here are some of PRMs’ most important advantages:
1. Recruiting Partners
Marketing to partners is a key activity, and PRM can assist advertisers in reaching out to potential partners via the web, email, and social media. PRM solutions may also assist with partner onboarding, which is a crucial phase, by allowing you to set up and track partners as they progress through the various stages of the onboarding process.
2. Partnership Scaling
Most businesses outsource their sales and marketing to a variety of partners. It is not possible to assign individual channel managers for each partner in the network due to the large number of partners involved in selling and distributing items. There is simply insufficient time and resources.
PRM allows smaller partners to rapidly locate and order products, allowing channel partners to focus on larger deals and longer-term partnerships.
3. Operational Improvements
Effective PRM reduces the amount of time partners spend on basic tasks like ordering products or parts. When a consumer orders a product from your channel partner, that channel partner can order the same product from your firm via the PRM portal, just like the customer.
4. Enhancing the sales process
Companies should build their businesses through indirect channels without losing sight of the consumer perspective. PRM establishes a digital presence to increase consumer awareness and demand, as well as a single view of order histories and other customer-centric data.
5. Improved Collaboration
You can interact remotely with channel partners using a PRM solution, so even if you can’t travel to meet with them, you can use channel automation technologies to connect in real-time.
6. Improved Relationships
A PRM makes it easy to engage with your partners. The central communication system helps you measure sales effectiveness by providing better insights into sales data and activities. This allows you to devise a strategy for assisting partners with their methodology and accelerating their sales cycles, which strengthens your partner connections.
7. Performance Driven by Data
PRM portals give vital indications for partner performance and accountability, resulting in valuable insights that lead to better actions and results. In addition, partner marketing solutions can provide tools to assist partners in achieving these KPIs.
Before you dive into a PRM platform, consider a few tips to ensure success:
- Carefully select your partners. Understand their market position, how they function, and how they earn money. Enlisting too many partners can result in over-distribution, channel disputes, and disgruntled customers. Use only as many partners as you need to achieve your objectives.
- Consider how much partner training you’ll need to perform. Unlike your direct salesforce, partners need time to learn about your market, product, and business. Make your training policy explicit and figure out how to fund it. Decide on the incentives you’ll give partners in advance.
- Get rid of underachievers. Spousal relationships do not always work out, so if your partner isn’t delivering, reconsider your relationship.
Partner ecosystems have become a major growth strategy for companies to grow market share, deliver better solutions to customers, and drive revenue. As digital transformation progresses at a dizzying speed, solution providers need to take an ecosystem-driven approach to increase their reach and ability to create value. If companies don’t tap into their broader partner ecosystems, they risk not delivering on customers’ changing needs and demands.