No one ever said that managing an indirect sales force is easy. But despite the challenges, there are many advantages to working with channel partners. Indirect channels provide many advantages such as more sales personnel with less overhead who have a far greater reach. Effective management of the channel means more sales and greater profits.
Many manufacturers and service providers use partner relationship management (PRM) software systems to manage, monitor and train channel partners. Cloud-based PRM systems also provide user-friendly access to marketing materials and product information as well as structured protocols for lead management.
PRM is a versatile, fully customizable system that can be fine-tuned to serve the specific needs of your business. Even if your company has shown continuous improvement over an extended period of time and your channel partners are performing at or near a peak level, effective use of a partner relationship management software system can enhance sales.
What are the next steps?
First, you should assess the PRM system currently in use, asking yourself the following questions:
- How old is the system? Is there room for improvment?
- How many partners were in the channel when the system was first implemented?
- What are your sales goals?
- What is your budget for an enhanced system?
- What is the overall performance level of your partners?
- How would you categorize the quality of interactions with channel partners?
Depending on your answers to the above questions, different types of PRM applications are appropriate.
In general, a channel network of high-performing partners would require a PRM system that includes enhanced business processes, more sophisticated performance data, and more complex systems integration. Businesses showing continuous improvement are typically involved with new product rollouts and geographic expansion of their sales territories as well as an increased focus on service and parts, and customer financing.
In addition, successful businesses are generally focused on organizational expansion, which may mean adding new channel partners. The best way to add, train and manage new sales partners is through a PRM software system.
Building on success
When you have a team of high-performing sales partners, implementing an enhanced PRM system is paramount. This will enable you to achieve your sales goals and, at the same time, react to market changes and trends. It’s the ideal formula for continuous improvement.
PRM software can help your company get a jump on the competition by providing customizable technology that fosters peak performance and continuous improvement. Our newest white paper, “The CSO's 2015 Guide to Increasing Partners Sales,” explains the benefits of PRM systems for building on the success of an already high-performing sales channel.