Conflict is a common occurrence between enterprises and their channel partners. Research shows there is often a significant gap between how managers perceive how their partners feel about the level of support they receive, and how the channel partners themselves perceive how they are being supported. In one study, the gaps were shown to be significant. These gaps can eventually lead to reduced revenue, slower growth, and higher administrative costs. Likewise, resolving this kind of channel conflict can improve ROI.
A Prm System Can Help
Many companies have reduced channel conflict by incorporating a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) system in the channel. PRM systems are web-based software solutions that unify all facets of managing a distribution channel into a single partner portal. In conjunction with continuous improvement programs and the application of best practices, companies have been able to increase channel productivity and lower costs using a PRM system. These initiatives, when combined, make it easier for partners to do business with the manufacturer. Let's take a look at some specific ways ROI can be increased using the same four partner management activities assessed in the survey.
Align Your Marketing & Communications
Effective channel partner marketing is critical to the success of any company selling through an independent channel. Partners need to see clear, understandable communications coming from one source. They need alerts, reminders and announcements about product introductions sent on a timely basis. Partners need to be able to quickly find past communications in an organized manner.
A PRM system consolidates all business communication activity within a channel. If you communicate your products and brand effectively, your partners will be more informed and enthusiastic about your company, and more likely to effectively sell your product, increasing ROI.
Do what it takes to improve individual performance
Today's PRM technologies manage and deliver online training, classroom training, assessments, webinars and other e-learning activities. This provides employees and their managers the ability to create, manage, and view a defined learning plan and certifications for specific job roles. This kind of well-balanced, channel training can contribute significantly to reducing partner ramp-up time and costs, and increasing individual performance.
Make Data Informed Decisions
Measurement is an important key to successful enterprise performance because it helps managers make more effective decisions. Today, most channel management technologies include a reporting dashboard for managers to access information about the people and organizations they manage. Having good information at your fingertips helps you make good decisions and increase ROI, particularly as an enterprise scales up and adds more partners.
CHECK THIS OUT: Measuring What Matters
Collaboration is key
Given today's use of social media, employees are expected to collaborate with others in their channel. A PRM system can provide a good forum for this to take place, where it can be overseen and managed to the benefit of the enterprise and its channel partners. This peer-to-peer communication can help resolve current issues by providing a repository for best practices.
Resolve conflict and reap the benefits
The most successful companies using PRM systems have combined them with a continuous improvement and measurement program, along with instituting business strategies based on the best practices found in channel management today. When all combined, this strategy can reduce the cost of managing and administering the channel, and eliminate many of the causes of the conflicts themselves, improving the company's return on investment for the long term. Get in touch with us today to learn more!