Rapid revenue growth is a top priority for any emerging growth company. Many companies, like yours, have decided to implement a channel partner strategy. Using channel partners has been a common practice for a long time, especially for manufacturers. Companies like Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard have well established channel partners (heavy equipment manufacturers often call them “dealers” whereas companies which manufacture technology products have VARs or Value-Added Resellers) across the globe.
Okay, so you’re not a multi-billion dollar a year manufacturer, but there are channel partner best practices that you can learn from these best-in-class companies. A simple Google search of “channel partners vs direct sales” will provide numerous reference articles extolling the virtues and pitfalls of using channel partners. But you have probably already done your homework regarding the pros and cons, as you are moving ahead with signing up channel partners.
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No doubt your research turned up words like “mindshare”, “collaboration”, and “engagement.” It did not take much convincing for you to agree that it is vital to any partnership to have open and frequent collaboration and engagement. Furthermore, you realized that to manage such critical relationships, you would need to seriously consider implementing some type of technology solution. More research on the web brought you to channel management software solutions.
A little more digging and you discovered the term partner relationship management (PRM), which is defined by Wikipedia as “a system of methodologies, strategies, software and web-based capabilities that help a company to manage partner relationships. The general purpose of PRM is to enable companies to better manage their partners through the introduction of reliable systems, processes and procedures for interacting with them.
Web-based PRM systems typically include a content management system, a partner and customer contact database, and the notion of a partner portal which allows partners to login and interact with a company’s sales opportunity database and obtain product, pricing, and training information.”
A PRM solution can help in establishing and maintaining trust and open communication across your entire sales channel. PRM processes seek to identify and resolve conflict in every area of the channel partnership, creating a more efficient system of conducting business. As a result of this improved collaboration and engagement is better sales performance.