April 6, 2021 – G2Crowd, the world’s leading business solutions review website, released its Spring 2021 Report on Partner Relationship Management (PRM) Software. Allbound continues to be recognized by G2Crowd Grid Reports due to the responses of real users for each...
Where to Find the Real ROI of PRM
To explore the ROI of PRM Allbound sent out a survey to current customers. This survey conculded that, on average, customers see a 61% shorter channel sales cycle after implementing a PRM.
Partner Recruitment – Automation within your partner portal is a great tool to leverage when it comes to recruiting partners. Let your partner portal be your competitive advantage when it comes to partner recruitment. Think about it from the view of the partner themselves: would you want to live in an automated and fast portal that allows you to function independently or do you want to be lost in spreadsheets and functioning through emails?
– 48% faster with PRM.
Partner Registration – One thing that cannot be assured with a manual system is consistency. Without a PRM in place the process for setting up onboarding for a partner would include emails back and forth, set up a call that works for all schedules, gather content, and try to give each partner an equal amount of effort and time for a consistent onboarding process.
– 71% faster with PRM.
Partner Training – Partner training without automation can be a long drawn out process due to the overlapping availability, or lack thereof, of both you and your partner. Allowing partners to complete training on their own time ensures that the process will be expedited in comparison to traditional and manual training techniques. In addition to online training, partners will receive a quiz with each completed training to ensure that they understand the training contents.
– 63% faster with PRM.
Lead Distribution – Automation within your partner program guarantees that lead distribution will be distributed on an equal and fair basis. Manually tracking lead distribution allows for human error in both routing accuracy and capturing all incoming leads.
– 58% faster with PRM.
Co-branded Marketing – Co-branded marketing has is bountiful when it comes to benefits for both companies, but what does that process look like without automation? A partner sends you a co-branding request email, you verify that this company is a part of a tier/grouping that allows for co-branded content, you ask them what piece of content they’d like co-branded, you receive the email, send it to your designer, they send it back to you, you send it to your partner. This doesn’t factor in the waiting period between steps. Automation allows for your partners to instantly co-brand pre-approved materials based on the permissions of the their/group that you have placed them in. (No waiting period involved!)
– 52% faster with PRM.
Deal Registration – Channel conflict is something that every channel manager has unfortunately experienced. When deal registration is done manually this can lead to confusion as to which partner registered a specific deal first, as well as increase the time it takes to register that deal. Automation within deal registration alleviates channel conflict through exact time stamps, this allows you to come to a conclusion on who’s deal it ultimately is in a way in which both partners will understand.
– 76% faster with PRM.
Visibility into Deal Stages – Without PRM the way you give partners visibility into their deal stages is via email each time they ask you. This requires you to locate that information, pull the information they need, and send it to them. Rinse and repeat. The automation within PRM allows for partners to independently see what stage each of their deals is in. This instant clarity benefits the partner, takes time off of your plate, and increases trust in your relationship due to the transparency that you provide.
– 58% faster with PRM.
Closed-Won Deals – For some channel managers, closed-won is the final stage that a deal can go through. The advantage of having a PRM platform is that you can take these closed-won deals and dive into analytics to establish guidelines for the companies who are most likely to close, the process that was the fastest for getting them there, and which companies tend to have the highest lifetime value. This allows you to continually optimize and better your partner sales cycle.
– 60% of Allbound users utilize closed-won deal data to improve their channel sales process
*This data is derived from a survey of real Allbound customers.
The ROI of PRM
Like many companies, you may already realize the need for partner relationship management (PRM) software to improve your partner sales and streamline channel management. Still, with any essential software purchase, companies must do their due diligence and calculate the ROI of PRM.
While the number of available sales enablement tools has skyrocketed, specific technologies, like PRM, remain foundational.
To determine ROI for your company, you must calculate:
• How much incremental revenue partners will produce?
• Which costs will be reduced or eliminated?
• What amount of time, money, and resources will be saved by automation? Increased Revenue Through Partner Engagement Engaged partners produce more revenue.
Increased Revenue Through Partner Engagement
Engaged partners produce more revenue. Committed partners are more likely to champion your product to their customer base. Being top of mind for partners that have extensive offerings comes down to their level of engagement with your brand.
A PRM can tangibly increase partner engagement in the following ways:
1. Partner Recruitment and Onboarding: From start to finish, PRM makes doing business with your company easier. Having a dedicated partner portal captures a prospective partner’s attention. This increased visibility makes your partner program appealing and inviting because prospective partners know there won’t be an endless chain of emails and spreadsheets. This also offers leverage over competitors who may be still be using an outdated process. Once committed to your partner program, your PRM will assist you by providing a robust onboarding experience for all relevant roles in your partner ecosystem. Onboarding is usually time and resource-intensive. PRM can automate processes such as creating learning tracks, marketing material distribution, and deal registration. This favorable first impression is a great precursor of how the relationship will be.
2. Ease of Doing Business: PRM makes it easier and more desirable for partners to do business with you. Your partners most likely sell several different brands, so staying top of mind with them is critical. The ease of selling your product will help you gain mindshare and lead to repeat business. Automated deal registration and instant access to support materials make the sales process a breeze.
3. Partner Training: Training your partners is key to ensuring quality representation of your brand in the market and seeing an increase in revenue. A PRM makes it easy for partners to stay current on company news, marketing campaigns and product updates. Partner Relationship Management tools allow you to set selling permissions only to partners who have completed the required training modules. Training resources in the PRM platform allow your partners to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.
4. Streamline Incentive Programs: Incentive programs are a big part of motivating and staying and top of mind with partners. SPIFF and MDF programs are created to incentivize partners to produce. Many companies struggle with promoting their incentive programs, resulting in inactivity from partners. MDFs can go unclaimed or misused if partners don’t understand the parameters of your program. PRMs ensure that the time and resources you devote to these programs don’t go to waste. You’ll be able to inform your partners of new programs quickly.
5. Customer Satisfaction: Customers will directly benefit from increased efficiency in your channel sales process. Utilizing a PRM will result in shorter lead time and fewer errors. Higher levels of customer satisfaction lead to repeat business and referrals.
6. Track Partner Performance: Use data and hard numbers to plan partner initiatives, and you’ll see higher ROI. PRMs automatically track engagement activity and revenue, which you can use to calculate ROI. Being able to leverage this data, both across the entire ecosystem, and by individual partners, allows you to make informed choices on future investments. The highest ROI comes from carefully planned initiatives that are backed by data.
Reduced Cost of Channel Management
Besides increased revenue, you should also recognize opportunities to create efficiencies when optimizing your channel. A PRM will not only reduce money spent; it will free up time and resources which can then be invested in growing your business.
1. Technology Costs: A PRM can consolidate costly, disparate technology tools. PRM features allow you to replace databases, spreadsheets, order processing, and content management systems. This not only saves money on subscription fees but also saves administrative time while providing a seamless view of activities.
2. Marketing Costs: Joint marketing efforts will require less time and collaboration with a PRM. Your PRM can serve as a content management system capable of storing materials, resources, and brand guidelines. Your partners can access and customize your documents on their own. This autonomy prevents unnecessary back and forth on campaigns. Your PRM will automate Market Development Fund (MDF) management, so the investments are used strategically. The MDF feature makes marketing activities more efficient and ensures the highest ROI.
3. Reduce Training Costs: In-person training can be time consuming and costly. This is especially true when traveling for on-site sessions and entertaining partners. A PRM helps reduce training costs by making information readily accessible to partners. PRM-enabled training also facilitates regular, updated education for new products and promotions. Training can be done remotely and on your partner’s own schedule.
4. Lost Opportunity Cost: Streamlining channel processes through a PRM ultimately leads to fewer missed opportunities. From a sales perspective, automated lead distribution prevents overlooked sales opportunities. Visibility into deal stages reduces the amount of followup you have to do with partners. Performance metrics on revenue and activity allow you to focus on top-performing partners.
Scalability Through Automation
In channel sales, manual processes using spreadsheets, email and phone calls cut down on productivity. While there’s nothing wrong with these basic tools, they’re disconnected and leave room for error. As channel sales grow, it takes exponentially more time, resources, and workforce to manage.
While the cost of managing the channel goes up, accuracy and efficiency go down. Without a PRM to automate processes, customer service and partner engagement are negatively impacted. For example, the ball is often dropped on lead progression when using spreadsheets. Fragmented lead distribution causes delayed lead progression and ultimately, a poor experience for the end customer. As a result, business opportunities are lost due to disorganization and inefficiency.
The following are ways that PRM automates unnecessary manual processes to increase efficiency:
1. Partner Enablement: PRM serves as a building block for your go-to-market partner sales strategy. Registration is crucial because it sets the tone of the relationship. PRM allows your registration and onboarding process to feel personalized, but still be scalable. Upon registering, your partners will immediately gain access to a customized view of onboarding, training, and sales collateral that will make them feel prioritized. A PRM makes the startup process easy for partners, which sets the tone that you’ll be easy to work with on future deals. The quicker your partners get comfortable, the faster they’ll begin to produce.
2. Shortened Lead Time: Lead time is essential to customer satisfaction and earning repeat business. Think of the sales cycle as a roadmap. The roadmap begins when the partner relationship becomes official and ends when the deal is closed. To expedite lead time, the steps between those two points must be optimized. The speed and efficiency of each stage of your sales cycle will determine your lead time. PRM streamlines partner training and onboarding, lead distribution, and other critical steps. Using a PRM to manage channel relationships will reduce lead time and increase sales.
3. Transfer Of Marketing Materials And Marketing Collaboration: Your PRM should be a one-stop-shop for joint marketing efforts. It should share all your materials and serve as a guide on how to market your brand. It should contain branding rules, training on programs like photoshop, and how to launch campaigns. PRM allows you to distribute content, manage requests and approvals, and measure performance easily across a large community of partners. It will also allow you to automate permissions for tiered partner programs. Beyond that, a PRM allows for you to have an unlimited content library with the ability to place content in strategic playbooks, so partners know what content to use to maximize deal registrations.
4. Lead Distribution: PRM automates outdated methods like spreadsheets for lead distribution. By integrating with your CRM, your PRM will synchronize leads and distribute them. Partners will then be notified of new leads, allowing for quick outreach. A PRM puts you and your partner on the same page about what’s happening with the lead. Features like tasks, activities, and notes prevent leads from falling through the cracks. With PRM, channel managers can avoid relentless partner follow up.
Like CRM and accounting software, the need for a PRM is widely accepted as best practice and a key component of your technology stack. The question you should be asking is not if you need a PRM, but which software is the best fit for your company. PRM helps engage your partners so that they’re generating more revenue through streamlined onboarding, marketing incentives, and ease of doing business. You will also be able to track the performance of each channel activity to calculate the exact ROI of your PRM. Channel costs are drastically reduced by PRM eliminating time-consuming manual tasks and optimizing time, staff, and resources. Investing in the right PRM is an investment with big returns through exponential, efficient channel growth.
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