Partner Relationship Management: 5 Ways to Know If You Actually Need a PRM Tool
August 25, 2016

5 Ways to Know if You Actually Need a PRM Tool

Tags: eBook

Summary:

It’s no secret that channel partners can have a huge impact on your bottom line. The more complicated piece is knowing when to make the jump from manually managing partner relationships to a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) Platform.

In Partner Relationship Management Evaluator: 5 Ways to Know If You Actually Need a Tool, you will learn whether or not a PRM platform is the right investment to help achieve your company’s channel partner goals.

The 5 Things You Need to Evaluate

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Introduction 

Working within a partner channel is a critical—and oftentimes challenging—component for success. And not just working, but efficient work. With the proper mindset, it doesn’t have to be a struggle. The old way of working with channel partners is exactly that: old and outdated. Traditionally, partners have been treated like the ugly step-child, rather than as a true extension of your sales team. 

In our industry, we believe that the days of managing your partners through spreadsheets are over. We believe that your partners shouldn’t be the reason your email inbox is flooded. And we believe that there’s a better way for you to be sharing content with your partners.

The solution: partner relationship management.

The traditional approach and tools for legacy partner relationship management are broken. Consider these statistics:

  • Only 38% of B2B buyers say their sales reps understand their industry. 
  • Over 35 hours per month are spent by partner sales reps searching for the right tools and training.

 

That fact is, homegrown systems and partner portals are rapidly being considered manual, impersonal, and out of touch with today’s buyer.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into the nitty gritty of this ebook.

 

Evaluate 

What tools are you using now? Are you covering your needs for both direct and channel sales? We’ve put together a comprehensive list to make sure that you can review your entire situation, evaluate what is working well, and what you might need to address. From there, you’ll be able to prioritize each area and work on the most critical items first—the ones that can bring you the biggest efficiency boost for the lowest effort.

 

Are you piecemealing Excel spreadsheets? 

If you have a spreadsheet for every separate database within the channel, that can get pretty messy very quickly. By piecemealing spreadsheets, you’re inviting conflict over leads and duplicate deals. 

A partner relationship management (PRM) tool will centralize scattered spreadsheets, reward reps for registering their deals via gamification, and offer a unified platform to manage all your sales team’s progress.

 

How do you communicate with your partners? 

Does every update require an email with an attachment? And when you send it off into the fog of the internet, are you crossing your fingers that your partners received and absorbed the content that you sent them? That’s the old way. Think of it like sending a messenger pigeon. The important information gets to your intended audience, but can easily get misplaced or disappear without notice. You also can’t control what the recipients do with your email after it arrives.

A better way is a centralized communication and collaboration space. An area that allows you to post a message to all (or even select) partner sales and marketing staff about new materials available. This way, you’re not sending a carrier pigeon so much as putting up a billboard that screams “Hey guys! Check these updates out!” and will always be available for them to review.

 

If you are still lead hunting, how do you measure their success?

Going after direct leads can be a mixed bag. But what can make or break your success is learning from past experiences. Keep track of what was driving customers to close a deal, and what wasn’t quite working.

Of course, this can be a lot easier if you have the ability to document sales and prospects within the same database as all of the rest of your information. Kick it up a notch by logging the content type that reeled in the customers as well. And don’t forget about things like communication preferences and other pertinent notes on the prospect. The last thing you’d want to do is leave a deal on the table because you made a small misstep before closing the deal.

Do you have an accurate way of measuring what content drives success?

 

How many partners and how much content do you have? 

At times, it’s imperative to take a step back and analyze the channel partner program that you do have. The goal for any partner program is exponential growth, but growing means that over time you’re going to have more data than can be easily managed on your own.

The goal is growth, right? So if you’re not planning to expand and continue to grow, you can stop reading right here.

Chances are you’re still with us. So even if your partner program is small, managing by way of spreadsheets and email is inefficient. You likely wear multiple hats, wouldn’t it be if you could automate partner management? The longer you wait to implement a partner management tool, the more complicated the migration process could be (or the data cleanup operation!).

On the other hand, let’s say you’re already growing faster than expected. How well does your current solution for partner management and content distribution work when your number of partners is doubled? Or tripled?

 

If you have more than a few partners, you need a tool.

A homegrown solution may work in the short term, but you’ll find that the more partners you have the harder it is to manually manage them. Although there is no exact number that screams “this is the time!”, a clear indicator is when you’re spending more than a handful hours a week managing your partners.

 

The Cost of Doing Nothing 

You might have a situation that’s not ideal, but there isn’t enough pain to make it worth switching. This is a dangerous spot to be in. You’re losing revenue, probably without realizing it, because you’re not operating at the most efficient level possible.

This also goes for anyone who has an old set of tools that don’t offer enough usability. Just because there aren’t many pain points, doesn’t mean that they don’t exist at all. How many times have you tried to do something to be reminded “that’s right, I have to do this clunky workaround to take care of this operation.” Think about how many hours you lose dealing with the inefficiency of the tool, instead of having the tool work for you. 

Don’t get caught up in spreadsheets to manage partners. There’s an easier way made specifically for you.

Conclusion 

“Just getting by” shouldn’t be a phrase in your lexicon. If you consider whether you can afford to continue without an optimized partner sales tool, the answer is a resounding no. If you’re using an outdated tool, or piecemealed spreadsheets instead of a tool, you’re leaving revenue out there. Engage your partners with the right content, and keep them in the loop with your collaboration tools. Using a tool to help with your partner management makes the entire process a no brainer.

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