By Tori Barlow
Guest author Tori Barlow is the Director of Marketing at Allbound.
In order to know if partner relationship management (PRM) software is right for you, you should consider why companies implement this type of solution in the first place. You should also take into account the reasons companies hesitate to move forward with PRM. By weighing these two factors, you can determine whether or not a partner relationship management tool is the best choice for your company.
The Top Reasons Companies Choose PRM Software
Increased Partner Engagement
When partners are engaged, they tend to generate more revenue for your indirect sales organization. Committed partners are more likely to champion your product to their customer base. Leveraging partner engagement keeps you top of mind with partners who have extensive offerings. PRM software automates processes such as recruiting and onboarding, training, streamlining incentive programs, and reporting.
Reduced Channel Management Costs
Besides increasing revenue, you should also recognize opportunities to create efficiencies to optimize your channel. PRM reduces channel costs by needing fewer tech tools, reducing marketing costs, and requiring less hands-on training. Having a tool like this reduces spend and frees up time and resources you can invest back into your business.
Enabling Scale Through Automation
In channel sales, manual processes, such as using spreadsheets, email, and phone calls, decrease productivity. Although there’s nothing wrong with these processes, they’re often disconnected, which leaves room for errors. As channel sales grow, manual processes can lead to wasted time, resources, and energy.
Expedite Business Processes
Utilizing PRM makes your company more desirable to potential partners. The ease of selling your product helps you gain mindshare and leads to repeat business. Automating deal registration and allowing instant access to support materials make the sales process a breeze.
Scalable Partner Training
Training your partners is key to ensuring quality representation of your brand in the market and increasing revenue. PRM makes it easy for partners to stay current on company news, marketing campaigns, and product updates. PRM features let you set selling permissions only for partners who complete the required training modules. Training resources in the PRM platform let your partners learn at their own pace and on their own schedule.
Organized Incentive Programs
Incentive programs are critical to motivate partners to drive revenue. Sales performance incentive funding (SPIFF) and market development funds (MDF) programs incentivize partners to stay engaged. Many companies struggle with promoting their incentive programs, resulting in inactivity from partners. Partners will not use and claim MDFs without proper education on your program. PRMs ensure that the time and resources you devote to these programs don’t go unnoticed. As a channel manager, you can track efforts through MDF that generate ROI and consolidate where partners spend marketing funds.
Partners benefit from increased efficiency in your channel sales process. PRM software creates shorter lead times and fewer errors. Higher levels of partner satisfaction lead to repeat business and referrals.
Enhanced Tracking and Reporting
Use data and channel insights to plan partner initiatives in order to increase ROI. PRMs automatically track key metrics, such as engagement activity and revenue, which you can use to calculate the true value of a platform. By leveraging this data across the entire ecosystem you can make informed decisions. The highest ROI comes from carefully planning data-backed initiatives.
Common Justifications for Not Using PRM Software
“Things are fine the way they are.”
Many companies feel that their processes are good enough and don’t need new technology. Although their existing processes may work, implementing PRM software streamlines those processes and accelerates indirect sales.
“We don’t have the time.”
Sure, PRM software has a learning curve, but what technology doesn’t require time to learn? The time you save in the long run by getting rid of manual processes is worth the time you invest in training.
“It’s too expensive.”
PRM software requires an upfront investment, but there is proven ROI when it’s used effectively. Ultimately, inefficient business processes cost companies more. It may be beneficial to take a step back and calculate how much money your manual processes are actually costing you.
Is PRM Software Right for My Business?
Yes, PRM is right for your business if:
You have a good amount of partners who are getting onboarded, registering deals, requesting co-branded content, or you’d like a better overview of your partner program health through channel insights. Your company will benefit from automating MDFs, deal registration, lead tracking, and training. Calculate the time, energy, resources, and money you could be saving by automating manual processes.
You may not be ready for PRM if:
You have a handful of partners who register deals just once or twice a year. Although channel automation expedites the channel partner lifecycle, if managing your partners through spreadsheets and emails isn’t overwhelming or confusing, then you may not need a tool like PRM.
No, PRM is not right for your business if:
You’re still in the development phase of building your channel. In order for a PRM tool to bring value to your company, you need a clear view of who your ideal partner is, what type of partners you’re going to have, and a vision for how it will all come together. It doesn’t hurt to utilize the resources PRM software providers house on their website to help you build your channel until you’re ready to implement a solution.