If your company relies on an indirect sales channel to sell your products, then Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solutions may be one of the most important areas for you to focus on. Among other things, the right strategy will keep your partner relationships simpler and both sides will feel aligned and more productive.
SEE MORE: 5 Reasons To Invest In PRM Software
As you begin to evaluate your current strategy and other options available, you should consider the following misconceptions about Partner Relationship Management and the costly errors they cause.
Misconception #1: You Only Need Software
We feel strongly that the first step in any successful indirect channel strategy is to have the proper plans and procedures in place. This includes partner selection criteria, partner business plans, and new partner onboarding processes. That being said, we recognize that as your channel grows in size and complexity the need to automate these processes becomes increasingly important. That’s where a software solution comes into play. A sophisticated PRM software will know who is logging into the system and show them only the information that is relevant to them, whether they are a brand new partner or one that you have been working with for years. This helps ensure a user experience that promotes productivity and reinforces the strategies that have been set forth from your initial planning stages.
Misconception #2: It Has To Be Expensive
Most companies understand that it takes money to make money. While this isn’t always easy to deal with, it means that hefty investments often have to be made in order to ensure that you get certain returns down the road.
Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case where Partner Relationship Management is concerned. You can invest in the aforementioned software, for example, without breaking your company’s budget. Quality PRM software is available for less than $5 per user per month which is typically based on month-to-month contracts. Discounted pricing is usually available for a larger volume of users and through longer term contracts. This allows a company to more affordably scale their system requirements to keep pace with increasingly complex business demands.
Misconception #3: It’s A Turnkey Solution
In some ways, the right form of software will make managing your partners simple enough to consider it a turnkey solution. As long as you pick the right edition, it should be user-friendly and feature-rich enough that you can start benefiting from it immediately.
That being said, this shouldn’t leave you thinking that you’re not going to regularly need to invest time and energy into these relationships. While this digital asset will certainly save you plenty of both in the future, keep in mind that it’s only as useful as you are dedicated to making it. If, for example, you don’t continue to provide up-to-date and relevant information for your partners, you can’t expect them to stay in the loop and you can’t be too disappointed when they fail to meet your expectations.
Misconception #4: It Will Be Complicated
There is a learning curve associated with all technology systems and a PRM solution is no different. Fortunately, we have dedicated engineers available to provide remote administration in the early phases. As you and your team become more familiar with the system, much of the formalities involved with implementation, training, and ongoing challenges can be streamlined and/or automated. Everything else, from communication to marketing materials can be simplified and made free of unnecessary complications.
Investing in Partner Relationship Management can be something that serves as the basis for profitable long-term business partnerships. However, in order to do this properly, the above misconceptions need to be addressed, ideally before ever getting started.