Emerging growth is a phase that virtually all successful companies go through. It can be viewed as a starting point for bigger and better things. Although these corporations have developed a solid foundation for continued success, nothing is guaranteed. At this point, it is critical for an emerging growth company to add the technology that will enable it to thrive.
When we talk about emerging growth companies, we’re usually talking about organizations with annual gross revenues of less than $1 billion. These are generally small, recently-funded new companies or more established (sometimes large) companies expanding or launching a new division. Typical emerging growth companies are well-run, profitable enterprises that have used a direct sales force to establish a productive revenue and delivery model.
Now it’s time to take the next step and, in many cases, that means developing an indirect sales channel. By indirect sales, we mean a network of independent dealers and resellers that markets your products. By integrating a direct (internal) sales force with a network of channel partners, emerging growth companies have an opportunity to quickly and efficiently add a significant number of sales staff, creating a far greater reach. And, because indirect sales partners are not employees, the corresponding overhead is considerably less.
There are, however, challenges involved with managing, monitoring and evaluating indirect sales staff. Channel partners are independent entities, and as such, usually sell a wide array of products, including those of your competitors. It is therefore imperative that you optimize the relationship with your partners by providing good communication and ongoing support.
The solution: PRM software systems
Emerging growth companies need to scale quickly because finances are an issue and their margin of error is relatively small when compared to larger corporations. Many have turned to partner relationship management (PRM) software, which are specifically designed to support this type of growth. Cloud-based PRM solutions can customize, refine and streamline partner support processes and, at the same time, provide a pragmatic system for onboarding new channel partners.
The onboarding process is particularly critical for emerging growth companies, especially those developing an indirect sales channel for the first time. PRM systems provide all the resources and support that new partners need to “hit the ground running.” These materials and tools are easily accessed through a single web portal.
One of the most important components of incorporating an indirect sales channel is communication. Being able to stay in touch with channel partners, especially those new to your company and products, is essential to success. PRM software systems facilitate ongoing two-way communication through an easy-to-access Internet portal. By communicating regularly with your partners, you can distribute updated product information and sales materials, and address any concerns they may have.
PRM systems also enable you to monitor and track sales performance and manage sales leads. In addition, you can provide training and certification, ensuring that your channel partners are fully prepared to sell your products. Your input makes their jobs easier and more lucrative so it’s a win-win situation all around.
PRM systems are ideal for emerging growth companies because they address all the requirements for expanded staff and product offerings. They offer a cost-effective and efficient process for developing, and maintaining, an indirect sales channel.