Many vendors focus on partner recruitment and pipeline building to establish themselves in a new market or accelerate growth. However, this can create a gap when it comes to effective partner relationship management (PRM).
Small channel sales teams can quickly become overwhelmed by manual PRM processes once a channel network starts to grow. As the number of partners in your channel expands, there is an exponential demand on your channel resources. Requests for marketing support, sales information, market development funds (MDF) and ad hoc requests scale beyond the daily capacity of most channel teams.
At this point most vendors begin to identify processes that can be automated or systemised. Technology can help but the challenge is finding a balance between implementing an effective PRM process without overcapitalising on technology and PRM platform investments too soon.
Increasingly vendors are implementing purpose-built partner relationship management technologies, often cloud-based. These remove much of the manual labour from interacting with and managing daily partner transactions, particularly in relation to marketing and sales support.
Some of the key attributes you can find in PRM platforms include:
- partner recruitment tracking
- MDF workflow including approvals management
- access to product and marketing campaign assets
- technical support or other document libraries
- dealer registration management
- lead allocation management
- database management for partner contact information
- easy tiering of partners so you can manage access to various documents and information contained in the PRM platform
- online forums for partners and the vendor channel team to interact and build a sense of community and mutual support where appropriate. This lets partners create a community based on products, services or just being part of the channel
- one click dashboard reporting.
The ideal solution is one that can be set up relatively quickly without becoming a major IT project. It should also be:
- appealing and compelling for partners to access and use
- easy to use yet functional so that the investment in training and support is minimal but the benefits are maximised
- web-based to eliminate the need to add additional IT infrastructure to the office, which can often be difficult for multinational vendors
- modular so that you can select features that matter to your channel in your market.
Setting up a system like this as early as possible in the business establishment process demonstrates your organised, structured and disciplined approach. This can help attract a higher calibre of potential partners in the recruitment phase. It also educates those partners about how the vendor plans to interact with them from the start.
A cost-effective, cloud-based solution can bridge the gap between manual or in-house systems and expensive custom PRM solutions, delivering high-quality partner relationship management capabilities without the big price tag.
Outsource’s Partner Manager solution blends world-leading, cloud-based PRM tools with local knowledge and experience in channel sales, marketing and communication. For more information on how Outsource can help you manage your partner relationships more effectively and efficiently, contact us.