Traditional partner relationship management (PRM) in theory was exceptional, in that it was designed to keep partner sales teams organized and productive. However, instead of providing a springboard for the bottom line, it became a graveyard for old data that was not so much an organized structure as disorderly chaos. In short, it outgrew itself before anyone had a chance to respond.
The shift to partner sales acceleration, or next generation PRM solutions that are truly beyond traditional PRMs, should not be assumed to be a passing trend. It is the cornerstone for improving channel performance. PRM was successful in the past, proving to be adequate in its duties. But lately, it has been left behind. In fact, traditional PRMs are completely dead.
Next generation PRM tools facilitate seamless communication and collaboration between your direct and indirect sales teams; keeping everyone in the loop. They help distributed sales teams stay on the same page, regardless of the distance between channel partners and your internal team. Resellers are able to access content on the fly and determine which sales literature is best for each specific case. And channel marketers can stay informed on which content is actually converting.
These key features were sorely absent in traditional PRM tools. Partner sales acceleration is something that evolved out of necessity and used its predecessor as a springboard. It’s a conundrum we encounter every time we upgrade computers or phones: It’s hard to justify going back to or continuing to use a dying tech when the new offering is much better. As a satisfactory correspondence tool and a document dump, traditional PRM software is cumbersome instead of productive.
That’s where partner sales acceleration shines. We can move away from the chaos of traditional partner relationship management software to platforms beyond PRM, and make the most of what we’re using. The idea is not just to have an organized system in place for collaboration, but also to analyze channel data to learn what is most successful and build off of it.
Follow these three steps to guide your partner program toward accelerated channel sales:
Step One: Migrate to Partner Sales Acceleration
This first step can be the easiest or most difficult to take, depending on your viewpoint. If your traditional PRM is no longer functioning for you, then leaving it behind is not a hard decision. But the hard part is fully embracing a new product. Obviously, that requires a bit of a long-term approach.
Time spent onboarding partners and learning the next gen PRM, or partner sales acceleration tool, inside and out will pay dividends, but not necessarily overnight. Be aware of what sort of ROI your team can expect from using a new tool. Once you have an optimized system in place for your sales channel and partners are properly onboarded, the dividends will begin to roll in.
Step Two: Begin Analyzing the Data
Keep a watchful eye on your metrics. Are some marketing materials more successful than others? Are some partners closing more deals than others? With partner relationship management, these numbers are just that: raw data that cannot be interpreted much further and that can be difficult to decipher within the tool. With partner sales acceleration, you can dig into the details of each channel sales pipeline KPI further.
Monitor the entire channel, and determine what tweaks need to be made to keep driving sales. That’s the key—you want to have sales acceleration, not stagnation.
Step Three: Continue to Optimize the Channel Partner Sales Cycle
Just because you noticed some trends right away doesn’t mean that the partner sales acceleration platform is done working for you. Think of it this way: You’ve been able to find a one percent increase in sales by improving efficiency in one key area. What happens when you find five more areas that can be improved by even one percent again? That’s compounding returns.
So continue to analyze the data coming in. Determine what is working optimally and what might need to be tweaked to improve its efficiency. You can also gain substantial knowledge on each of your channel partners and their sales teams: which can continue to perform well with minimal input from your end, and which teams might need a little encouragement from you now and then.
Traditional partner relationship management is a dinosaur. The longer you wait to transition from traditional PRM to next generation PRM, the more time you’ll miss out on optimizing your channel partner sales.