Although 2015 is already here, it’s not too late to set New Year’s resolutions for your organization. While goals like new and improved products and services are certainly good ones, think about how you can better make use of your partners too. Those companies that market and sell on your behalf are vital to increasing sales and boosting profits. There are a number of ways you can improve your partner management methods and make 2015 a banner year for your company.
1. Evaluate Your Existing Technology
Just about every goal you have as a company can be made easier by the right kind of tools. This is especially true where your channel partner goals are concerned. By utilizing a quality software platform for relationship management purposes, you’re likely to improve levels of communication and achieve better results.
Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software allows you to set yourself - and your channel partners - up for success. The right software will streamline communications, so your partners are always made aware of any changes to your product line,prices, and business processes. It will also allow them to reach you as necessary with critical customer-related feedback. Communication should never become a bottleneck to your success.
There are countless other ways a PRM platform can help, from registering and onboarding new partners to providing current ones with better marketing materials and important insights. Remember, too, that your competitors may already be using this software to help their partners do a better job of pushing their products..
2. Reduce Channel Conflict
As it stands, your channel partners are often competing against each other for the same business. This can lead to price erosion and confusion for the customer on who is best provider to service their needs. Consider evaluating your lead registration and lead management processes to improve the manner in which your partners are working qualified leads Ideally, you want your channel partners focused on selling your products and services, not competing against each other. You also want to ensure that the same conflict does not exist between your direct sales team and your channel partners.
3. Ask For Feedback
Just because the lines of communication are open doesn’t mean that you’re getting everything you need from your partners. They’re probably very busy too, meaning they may not have the time to contact you about various issues they’re having. This is especially true if your company sells through a non-captive sales channel. Don’t take the risk of allowing this to happen. Instead, reach out to them regularly for feedback about what they’re seeing. You might find that while they don’t find any challenges with working with you, they do have key insights about your market that you can leverage for greater returns. Consider an annual channel partner survey that allows you to benchmark KPIs relative to channel partner satisfaction.
4. Improve Training
Another important way you should be communicating with them is by letting partners know about ways they could do their job more effectively. You should have some of your own information that is worth sharing. Your partners will appreciate any help you can provide them in better selling your company’s products, so don’t hesitate to provide them with training materials for this purpose. Especially since they are not your employees, you’ll need to place an additional emphasis on helping them improve their abilities. Setting your channel partners up for success by providing excellent training resources can also serve to increase mindshare.
5. Look Back At 2014
Finally, be sure to take some time to look back at 2014. Like any good New Year’s resolution, you should reflect on what you can improve on from the year before. When it comes to working with your partners, there is probably an area or two where you could improve.
Bring together anyone from your company who was involved with servicing your partners and ask them to think of ways your company could make their job easier. Like we mentioned before, it’s a good idea to ask your partners the same thing. Use this information to put together an action plan for making these necessary improvements.
Having partners working for your company is vital, so start thinking of ways you can do even more with them this coming year. The above tips should give you some great ideas for how 2015 can be the most profitable year for your business and theirs.