- On October 20, 2020
Partner relationship management (PRM) is a key part of a channel strategy which aims to improve cohesion and communication between vendors and their partners. The idea was created when it became apparent there was a growing need for businesses to rely on third-party distribution partners to market and ultimately sell their products.
This gave rise to the many solutions aimed at more effectively running these partner programs, Partner Relationship Management tools. These platforms allow companies to better communicate and intersect with their third-party partners virtually from a distance. They attempt to encompass every businesses desire, everything from lead/deal management, partner on-boarding, and training, right the way through the sales process and supplementary enhancements such as performance management. The software helps managers and partnership teams effectively manage, assess and correct end-to-end partner strategy and implementation with minimal time and resources wasted.
Many partner programs develop over a considerable amount of time, starting off small seems easy to maintain, but as programs grow cracks can start to occur. Without PRM software in place it becomes difficult to manage all assets and resources manually, from Excel files or legacy solutions. Another frequent mistake made by the vendor can often be to repurpose a CRM to manage partners. However, with inefficient opportunity management, procedural processes, slow response times, lost emails, and dispersed information, these are outdated processes that can become major obstacles to indirect sales.
The simple conceit of the PRM tool is to ‘sell’ and ‘distribute’ it to partners much as you would your stock to a customer, giving them access to the tool as a service to aid them while still having ownership and administrative tools in the back-end to help guide your own partner program.
Key Features of a Partner Relationship Management Tool
A PRM tool is made up of several key features that offer advantages for your third-party sales aspirations:
A PRM tool gives vendors and often partners clear visibility over leads and deals that are being registered, who created the opportunity and who has ownership over its use. This allows businesses to rapidly resolve any conflict arising in these matters since ownership is clearly defined and the growth of the sales pipeline can be tracked from inception to completion.
When determining which partner a potential opportunity should go to, it’s pivotal to have the most up to date and essential information possible to make a decision. By creating and synthesising a wide range of sales data, a PRM tool offers important insights based on partner performance so vendors can select the best partner for the lead.
Especially in the current climate (if you’re looking back its 2020, enough said) distribution of marketing and sales materials is an incredibly hot topic. With a PRM there is no need to disperse these resources across multiple different channels, with varying format acceptances and security ideals. Resources can be shared with all partners at once in a single secure location, accessible at all times, from both ends meaning up to date assets and implementation.
Strategic planning was once the preserve of boardroom meetings, but can take place directly on the PRM tool, in collaboration with, and distributed remotely to your partners. Allowing the deployment of training plans and consultation sessions alongside the ability to track partner progress, and offering them valuable on the ground input.
In all partner programs it is essential to have final oversight and information that monitors the success of both brand and partners in real time. With a vast number of incoming performance measures, PRM tools help identify what strategies are best able to optimize the channel. With a good view of partner performance via succinct reporting, time can be spent on the partners who need it the most, with insights from the best performing.
The Difference Makers
These partner relationship management tool features all help guide your partners, and you, symbiotically, towards your overall sales goals. Alongside this, they also have a couple of distinct benefits that will positively impact your partner program going forward, and enhance your strategies with fresh partners in the future.
Improved Partner Engagement
Implementing a PRM tool that helps simplify partners’ workload, proves that the vendor is truly engaged in the partner relationship. Providing a PRM allows vendors to easily, and profitably, strengthen partner relationships and foster a longer lasting, more successful, channel dynamic.
Sales Pipeline Visibility
Providing a distinct view of the sales pipeline to each or all partners makes managing opportunities much simpler. This visibility helps third-party sales teams more effectively transform opportunities into sales, stay organized and focused, compete and flourish, and control the sales process, that is known to be overly complex without a dedicated platform.
Optimizing Return on Investment
Providing up to date and relevant Key Performance Indicators means sales and marketing teams can scrutinize every step of the customer journey and create adaptations specifically focused on supporting the most useful partners. Providing automated processes via the PRM tool increases productivity and allows a steady growth in the volume of partners without having to expand partner management resources. Making the knowledge of and on partners centralized means management assets don’t lose valuable time and information when there are structural or software alterations.
All in all Partner Relationship Management tools are a resource that is becoming a necessity for medium to large partner programs and a growing, affordable timesaver for even the smallest.
If you’re interested in improving cohesion and communication between you and your partners, our class-leading full service partner platform, PartnerPulse is on-hand to help. Click here to learn more about how we can change your partner relationship system, or here to get in touch with one of our experts.