Improving Partner Performance Using PRM Software
Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software has been around for about a decade or so, but only a handful of organizations selling through the channel have actually deployed PRM software. The primary reason behind this is that neither the use cases nor the business benefits from such automation are clear to most channel professionals. In this article we will try to provide that missing information and discuss how PRM software can drive partner performance.
There are basically four primary phases that matter when it comes to channel partner lifecycle management: recruitment, engagement, enablement and management. Most organizations selling through the channel today work through all of these phases.
Now, each of these phases may vary considerably for different organizations, depending on the countries and regions represented in their channel. Use cases will also vary according to the different products and solutions that they sell. In general, the larger the organization selling through the channel, the more variation there will be in the use cases. Managing this variability is an area where PRM software can help significantly.
It is impossible for any organization selling through the channel to unify their go-to-market approach across all geographies, business units, etc. The varied nature of their engagement with their partner base is inevitable. However, there is a common thread across all of these variations: how they communicate with their channel partners. Most organizations interact with their partner base via some kind of a partner portal. They email partners on a regular basis, and they take partners’ phone calls to provide support for partners go through training and various incentive programs.
These basic steps are more or less universal. The specific details of each step may vary from one region to another, and among various business units, but every organization must go through them. And here’s where PRM software can make a big difference. PRM software can completely automate these steps to bring in efficiency, transparency and repeatability, thereby reducing costs and minimizing friction between the vendor organization and its partners.
The entire world is going digital. Whether you are trying to recruit partners or train them, you need a digital engagement model. Fighting this trend is like fighting gravity. However, if you are trying to create a digital engagement model using a patchwork of tools, software and yesterday’s approaches—without purpose-built PRM software—you will struggle.
It doesn’t have to be that way. With the right tools, you can increase the ease of doing business, make your engagement model more visible to your partner base, understand which partners are most productive and why, and enable your partners to succeed. This is the primary focus of PRM software.
When companies selling through the channel deploy PRM software, they see nearly instant results in terms of reductions in operating costs and increases in partner satisfaction. Anecdotal channel feedback no longer drives an ad hoc quarterly agenda. Now, data-driven decisions help the organization focus on what truly drives results.
PRM software makes this possible. It also enables improved channel performance by providing partners with personalized access to partner portal content, creating partner competency-specific programs and offers, and tracking program performance in real time.
Today, many organizations are waking up. They realize conducting business at the speed of digital requires elimination of redundant steps and reduction of operating costs via automation. They know they must provide great access, care and support to their partner base, which is under pressure to complete transactions at a lower cost and with less time and resources. PRM software help organizations selling through the channel do all of that—continually and significantly enhancing partner performance while reducing operating costs.