Managing channel partner relationships requires time, effort, energy, consistency and a well-thought-out strategy. As the person in your emerging growth company responsible for channel partner management, you must create and maintain strong relationships with your channel partners. The most effective way of doing so is through collaboration and the most efficient way to collaborate is through technology via the cloud. The result will be more engagement between your channel partners and the end-customer, ultimately impacting your sales, mindshare, brand loyalty and ROI. Let’s examine how a cloud-based technology can improve collaboration throughout your channel.
First, it’s helpful to know what exactly the cloud is. Wikipedia describes it as “the delivery of computing as a service to a community of end-recipients. The name comes from the use of clouds as an abstraction for the complex infrastructure which contains the applications. Cloud computing entrusts services with a user's data, software and computation over a network. It has considerable overlap with software-as-a-service (SaaS).” In other words, with cloud technology you and your partners can access whatever applications, files and data you have opted to store in the cloud - anytime, anywhere from any device.
You want to find a channel management software solution that utilizes the cloud to foster the flow of information throughout the channel in an effective way. A channel management software solution that leverages a partner portal will make it easy for partners to get the information they need when they need it to sell and service products more effectively. In addition to the portal a partner relationship management (PRM) methodology will foster a culture of support and partner enablement. PRM software allows your partners to share their ideas and information in a collaborative, real-time portal environment that will ultimately drive the growth and success of your business. A cloud-based PRM system provides a safe and secure portal for your partners to create discussions, share ideas and exchange best practices regarding your products.
How does a Partner Relationship Management technology improve collaboration throughout your channel partner network?
Collaborative Sales. A robust PRM system facilitates the collaborative selling process between you and your channel partners by sharing a wide range of lead related data such as contacts, activities and decision criteria. Partners can register leads in the portal allowing the vendor to approve sales opportunities from the channel and avoid conflict with any direct selling efforts underway.
Collaborative Marketing. A good PRM system will provide a robust CMS for content storage and delivery of marketing materials,, including the ability to deliver market specific information segmented by region or product line.
Collaborative Training. The right PRM system controls training & cetification via a deep Learning Management functionality. This enables the enterprise to know which employees in the channel are prepared to represent the brand well. Training progress of off and online courses can be monitored in real-time and linked to incentive programs to ensure a high degree of compliance.
What does improved collaboration throughout your channel mean for your emerging growth company?
- Strengthened partner to partner and vendor to partner relationships
- Improved customer service, partner satisfaction and end user loyalty
- Reduced dependency on service and support programs
- Lower administrative hassle and errors resulting in lower costs
- Better communication and the exchange of best practices, selling tactics, etc.
- Solutions for problems that may arise prior to them happening
Cloud-based PRM software is the best way to facilitate collaboration between you and your channel partners through an effective, efficient, inexpensive and transparent system allowing for the sharing of best practices that leads to an ease of doing business, more mindshare and ultimately more sales.