One of the most daunting tasks facing emerging growth companies looking to expand their sales operations is efficiently and quickly increasing their number of sales channel partners. Emerging growth companies usually have very aggressive goals regarding new sales partners, but adding a sales partner is not as easy as simply signing a partner on and giving them access to your product catalog—not when you want the channel to function smoothly and for a maximum amount of profit for both your company and your partners.
New sales partners need to understand your products, the best practices for selling them, and how your company manages and approves leads and defines territories. Failing to ramp up new sales partners properly can lead to conflict in the sales channel (competition among channel partners and friction between partners and your company).
How a PRM Ramps Up New Sales Partners
For growth, ramping up new sales partners must be done quickly, but for a profitable sales channel, it must be done properly. This is where a partner relationship management (PRM) system shines. As opposed to the methods traditionally used to ramp us new sales partners, partner relationship management systems enables emerging growth companies to:
- Quickly train and certify the people that work for their new partners and get them selling faster.
- Facilitate the submission and approval of the portfolio of partner agreements that you require, including forms, business plans, and so on.
- Provide a turn-key platform to push all marketing and sales support collateral to channel partners immediately.
- Provide a method to register sales leads immediately, while facilitating a way to integrate those leads with both the partners’ customer relationship management (CRM) system and the company’s CRM.
- Provide a method to for channel partners to efficiently collaborate with them, their product experts, and other partners (if appropriate).
- Provide a way to incentivize partners immediately and a way to allocate market development funds (MDFs).
- Provide a way to measure and report on ramp-up status and how “ready” a new partner is to sell, and then monitor performance on an ongoing basis.
- Provide a robust system for partners to run their own businesses by using the local reporting capability of the PRM.
How does it accomplish all those things? Through intelligent channel partner portals customized for the individual members of the sales channel network. Each portal is a single point of contact between a partner and a vendor. Because portals are easy to set up and add to the system and all interaction is conducted online through a single log-in, ramp-up time is significantly shortened. Because the portals are customized for each partner, partners only receive the training resources and messaging relevant to them, allowing them to spend more time learning exactly what they need to know to sell your products effectively and less time sifting through meaningless, irrelevant messages.
The best full-service PRM systems also integrate seamlessly with the leading CRM software, allowing partners to register their leads and vendors to approve and assign them based on useful data. CRM integration is a necessary tool to ramp up new sales partners quickly because it allows partners to continue to use the systems they’re used to using in their businesses rather than implementing and learning new ones, which takes time.