When it goes well, having partners to promote and sell your products and services is a huge advantage. However, when problems arise, even something like Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software may not be capable of solving them. You’ll be much better off if you can see these problems coming and address them before they turn into something greater.
1. MDF Funds Aren’t Working
Market development funds (MDF funds) are a typical part of any partner relationship. Your business helps pay for some of the marketing your partners are going to do on your behalf. It makes sense to assist with some of their overhead and you can maintain control of your brand messaging.
If your company is constantly supplying MDF funds, though, and nothing good is coming from it, there’s definitely an issue. PRM software can help by tracking how the money is getting spent and correlate that data with sales leads and closed business for a picture of your actual ROI.
2. They’re Not Using Your Content
Aside from MDF funds, you should also be supplying your partners with content they can use to help sell your products. It is never as simple as “create the content and they will come”, but if you give your partners a plan for how to use that content it will take away the guesswork and make them more effective.
3. Ineffective Selection
Process If you think that all partners will bring an equal amount of value to the table you are in for a surprise. Many companies that don’t a formal selection process end up with partners that are nothing but order-takers. Consider the criteria you are looking for in an ideal partner and uphold those standards.
4. Communication Lacks Partner Relationship
Management software does a great job of streamlining communication. If you have poor communication channels with your partners it is easy to expect sales to suffer as a result.
Even if you aren’t using Partner Relationship Management software, if you’re not hearing from companies that are having problems (for some of the reasons mentioned above), that doesn't mean that problems don’t exist. Reach out to them first to ask how things are going and what areas need greater support.
5. You’re Not Selling Where Your Customers Are
For products and services that demand a close proximity to their market, partners can be a necessity. as they allow you to substantially increase your reach. Using Partner Relationship Management software can help you find where these customers are and locate partners near them. Use your brand equity to deliver qualified leads to these partners and they’ll work harder on your behalf.
6. A Partner Ignores Marketing Options
As we mentioned, it’s prudent to give partners MDF funds to help sell your products or services. This can take the form of a variety of marketing solutions. As a result, it can be difficult for your partners to know how to proceed. Consider a formal marketing plan or “playbook” approach that spells out for them the exact steps to take and what outcomes they can hope to achieve. This will set level expectations and allow you to measure their progress more effectively.
7. Segmenting Partners
Only by Revenue It’s ok to expect big revenues from partners, but think about what else they can offer. Ask yourself how you can segment your partners based on their product specialties, physical location, access to a specific target audience, and more.
8. Reusing Failed Tactics
You’ve probably heard that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing more than once, hoping for different results. If 2014 wasn’t great—in fact, if it fell short of your expectations in any way—then you obviously need to make a change of some sort. Always review the prior year and find places where you can improve (e.g. using Partner Relationship Management software).
9. Treating Every Partner the Same
Do you understand the unique differences across all your partners? If not, you’re probably treating them all the same. This can be frustrating for your partners and cause you to waste time and money. Get an intimate understanding of how your partners can benefit you in unique ways and work with them to find ways for continuous improvement. Don’t let problems in your Partner Relationship Management strategy snowball out of control. Instead, look for the above signs that something is wrong and address the issue ahead of time.