Over the past decade, companies have increasingly moved to an indirect sales model that relies on channel partners. With this trend, Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solutions have become more common as companies look for efficient ways to connect with their partners and streamline their processes.
But not every company with channel partners benefits from a PRM, so we’ve put together this guide to determine if you’re ready for this next step.
Will my company benefit from a PRM solution?
If your company already has a partner program, you may be ready for a Partner Relationship Management solution. Here are a few signs that may indicate you’re ready for a PRM.
Your channel processes are being run on spreadsheets and email.
For really small and straightforward partner programs, handling deal registration, lead distribution, MDF, collateral ad-hoc via email, or spreadsheet files is a cost-effective way to get the ball rolling. But as soon as your program grows in activity, size, or complexity, these processes won’t scale and will no longer be sustainable. A PRM solution can keep your channel data organized and efficiently run your partner program.
Your channel program needs more formalized processes around data handling, content segmentation, or access permissions.
One of the benefits of a PRM solution is that it brings structure to the interactions with your channel partners. Having software that ensures partners follow your processes frees up your time to focus on relationships and growth instead of managing information flow. When your partners submit deals through a PRM, for example, you rest assured that all required fields are populated, no deal gets lost in emails, and that the partner will always know their deal registration status.
Being able to share content and partner program functionality with specific partner segments is a second benefit that a PRM solution brings to the table. If your program requires multiple permissions, a PRM will make your life much easier.
Finally, having a PRM solution shows commitment to your channel program. The right PRM will strengthen your channel program, make your partners more effective and efficient in selling your solutions and give you more data to make better decisions.
Am I ready to move forward with a PRM solution?
Before moving forward with a PRM solution, answer the following questions to gauge whether you’re ready:
Partner Program Value Proposition
- Do you have a defined channel program value proposition?
- What are the benefits your partners get from participating in your program?
- What is your program’s competitive value proposition for partners?
- Why should companies partner with you?
Partner Program Size & Profile
- How many partners can you successfully manage?
- Do you need geographic coverage?
- What is the profile of your ideal partner?
- What is the marketing plan to recruit the right partners?
- Are there resources (technology/human) to drive and manage partner recruitment?
- Do you have a well-defined list of potential partners (competitive, complementary, vertical-specific, regional)?
Partner Training and Onboarding
- What is your partner onboarding process?
- What are your partner training requirements?
- Do you have content specific to your partner audience?
Partner Management & Internal Processes
- What is your internal partner management plan?
- What is your partner marketing plan?
- How easy is it for partners to market your products/solutions?
- What is your partner communication plan?
- What technical assets/resources do your partners need?
- What are the objectives for your channel program?
- How do you plan to measure your channel objectives and goals?
- Do you know how to measure your partner’s effectiveness?
Partner Sales Process
- Have you identified/defined the partner sales process?
- What is your vision of the partner’s role in the sales and implementation process?
- Do you have an internal agreement on the partner’s role in the sales and implementation process?
- What are partner sales processes to direct sales process & channel management process?
Answering these questions will give you a good idea of where your channel program stands and whether you’re ready for a PRM solution. Launching a partner program is a lot of work, and its success depends on many factors, a good PRM solution being just one of them. A PRM will only help if your channel program’s fundamentals are sound; it’s not a magic wand to make your program succeed.