How to Build a Business Case That Your Boss Can’t Say No to
How do you get your company to see the value of Allbound? Here, we’ll explain how to get your executives on board with a partner relationship management (PRM) purchase.
Working in the channel, the chances are, you’re the most educated on channel partner programs and how fruitful they can be for the company. You may find yourself getting push back from the company for a few different reasons:
1. At times it may require a little more education for executives that don’t work within the channel program. Therefore they may be unfamiliar with the value of PRM. Each one of those decision-makers has their own goals and there may be multiple goals within an organization.
2. There are multiple decision-makers involved.
3. Given all of that, adding a PRM might get a knee jerk response until you show them the data on what goals will be achieved with PRM.
Here is a typical process on how to create a case for PRM:
- Look hard at the company metrics, your channel goals and the PRM benefits to see how to create this case for PRM.
- Document all of this into a standard business case
- Show what you will be making or saving to help with unbudgeted items if PRM is not budgeted.
“PRM applications support partner engagement and help to improve the partner experience. PRM also supports the increasing speed of business and sharing information with a growing number of sales partners in the channel organization across industries.”
Gartner “Hype Cycle for CRM Sales Technology,2019,” Adnan Zijadic, et al, 10 July 2019
WHAT METRICS ARE IMPORTANT TO YOUR COMPANY AND WHAT CAN CHANNEL’S ROLE BE WITHIN THOSE METRICS?
Many companies are driven by growth numbers and / or bottom line numbers. Companies that are more growth-oriented will see the benefit of PRM as a force multiplier to achieve greater results with a greater number of deals or referrals.Companies that are more bottom line conscious will look at the automation as a way of caring and feeding the channel without huge overhead. How you position this could include both options.
Think about who your audience is for this business case. Is it a head of marketing or sales, a CFO, a CEO, someone else? What are the elements that they are focused on for the company’s success. Make a list.
You may not have answers to all of their goals, but being aware of them will help you when you present your findings. If you don’t know what your company goals are, then the answer is simple: put time on your boss’ calendar and ask.
This sets a good foundation for building your business case. Hint: a great starting off place is your chosen PRM’s customer success stories. Once you understand your company’s goals and partner channel goals, you can ask for related case studies to demonstrate proven success with a PRM.
BENEFITS OF A NEXT-GENERATION PRM
Professionalization of the Partner Portal and Protect Your Brand
When you are recruiting partners, getting them to use the system, you want the PRM to be so intuitive and pleasant to use that you do not need much interaction to get partners to log in and use the system. Additionally, you want to light the path for your partners in terms of getting trained to sell your product, register deals and connect with you for assistance. Some of the benefits for your business case here would be:
- Ease of recruitment leads to achieving your goal of converting partner leads into partners at a market accepted rate or higher.
- Solid automated training reduces your manual cost of training and speeds up your measurement time for having partners onboard and ready to sell
- This will help you with any objections to having non-employees selling your products and keeping your brand at its highest level.
Automate the Manual Processes to Manage More Partners and Increase Velocity
Partners can locate materials within a comprehensive, easy-to-navigate PRM portal. Gone are the days of emailing partners back and forth for every deal registration, or content request. Your partners expect automation within your partner program. Managers can track their engagement to determine which partners complete training and which content resonates with partners most. What is your typical partner sales cycle today? How much time is taken with them asking you questions, getting marketing materials, and discussing the deal. When you compress that time with a PRM, what does that do to your win rate? Some of the benefits for your business case here would be:
- Saving hours in supporting your partners with sending materials, managing MDF and deal management. This can be represented by scaling to a larger program or supporting your current base more effectively.
- Speeding up time to results. When your partners serve themselves you remove the back and forth time for onboarding and deals which increases win rate, referral rate and partner retention.
- Going global. When your system works for you while you sleep you are better suited to help partners at any time in any place.
Optimize to Scale Your Partner Channel and Gain and Share Valuable Insights
A successful partner program supports partners through the entire journey. Leveraging technology will not only make your job managing partners easier, but will also provide essential visibility into what strategies are working and not working. With real-time insights to training completion, marketing content engagement, and pipeline you will be equipped to make proactive informed decisions and make for more meaningful interactions with your partners. Some of the benefits for your business case would be:
1. A higher number of your partners hitting the mutually agreed plan with insights on how others and they are doing with more regular updates.
2. Better tiering with your program with metric driven reasons for partners moving up to better tiers.
3. Clarity on which partners to engage, help and fire to spend your time better.
4. Tying Features to Benefits of the PRM
Before you can sell Allbound internally, it’s important that you know how Allbound benefits each of those metrics that you are looking to work with. If you have not gotten a full demo or need a refresher reach out to Allbound and explain what metrics you are looking to see moved with PRM. Some of the areas Allbound will cover will be:
- Portal access–Securely manage portal access and deliver a partner-centric experience
- Training–Streamline onboarding and training to successfully ramp partners
- Resource library–Store unlimited content and organize how partners view and share it
- Co-brand–Co-branded assets to truly go-to-market with partners
- Market Development Funds (MDFs)–Generate market awareness and drive more qualified leads with a MDF program
- Deal Registration–Eliminate channel conflict with a formalized deal registration process
What are Other People Seeing as the Benefit of PRM?
Allbound has performed a market survey and asked channel leaders what they saw as the benefits of PRM. Here are the resulting areas from the survey:
- Increase partner engagement
- Simplify and increase pipeline/deal visibility
- Clarify processes, documentation, and overall organization
- Define and achieve metrics/goals
- Deliver content or training to partners simply and quickly
“We made the switch to Allbound because we wanted to take our partner experience to the next level without having to invest in multiple tools.”
Partner Marketing Specialist
THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF DOING NOTHING AT ALL
You may be considering not doing anything at all. Looking at your company goals, it is important to think through the manpower, onboarding of partners, manual interaction with partners, data you will need to make decisions, etc. Will you achieve your goals without those benefits? You will want to write out what your deepest challenges of doing nothing will be.
Also, what is your competition doing? Do they have a PRM and a thriving partner ecosystem? Is this something you will need to compete with them or get ahead of them? Factoring in the basis of your companies, it’s fair to say that you most likely have the same target market when it comes to partners.
Many people come to PRM from ‘home grown systems’ because the following challenges with home grown solutions:
- Manual processes for partner management
- Disorganized deal and lead registration
- Difficult communication between you and your partners
- No processes for eliminating channel conflict
- Complicated processes for sharing content and co-branding
- No systematized way to manage marketing funds
- An unnecessary waiting period for all interactions between you and your partners
- Competition for internal IT resources to maintain the system
By now you may be asking yourself, “How do I pull this all together to get buy-in from my team?”
- Write your strategy and objectives
- One year out or more what is the definition of success for your partner program?
- How many partners do you need?
- What is the partner journey for them?
- What is the referral, deal reg, etc that leads to success?
2. Quantify your plan.
- Look at the list of benefits you have been creating. How do they improve the likelihood you hit your stated channel objectives
- It’s one thing to say Allbound will “save me time,” it’s another to say“I spend 20 hours a week managing our partners, that time would be cut in half with the amount of automation a PRM tool injects into our partner program.” Add all of that time saved a week into a full year, how much time do you end up saving? 100 hours? That’s significantly more compelling than “it’ll save me time.”
3. Do a competitor analysis.
- How large is your competitors’ partner program?
- Do they have a dedicated partner portal?
- Try to talk to one of their partners to see what it looks like and how your own partner program compares.
- What does this do to help you recruit, retain and exceed the competition?
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