Most companies look at taking on partners as a huge opportunity to grow their business. After all, it’s more manpower without the same overhead and many partners can help extend a company’s reach immeasurably. However, without a proper Partner Relationship Management (PRM) strategy, frustrations can grow.
A frustrated channel partner may not seem like the end of the world. At the very least, you’ll want to know when your partners are growing frustrated and what you can do as a result.
Lack of Channel Management Software
It’s uncommon for a company with partners to not use some form of channel management software. Whether its a homegrown solution or a third-party system, many partners have come to expect this type of support. While channel management software definitely makes life easier for a vendor, it also provides a number of advantages to your channel partners as well.
Everything from improved communication to easily accessible resources are made available with channel management software. If you’re not currently using this type of technology, rest assured your partners are probably wishing you would start.
A Partner Feels Underappreciated
Being under appreciated doesn’t necessarily mean that a partner feels as though you take them for granted. Instead, we’re talking about a situation where a vendor treats a partner as if they’re the same as all the other businesses they work with. This is a mistake for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because it’s going to leave that partner feeling as though you don’t understand their business and what it takes to help make them successful.
Don’t get lazy by not taking the time to get to know your different partners. Doing so is the only way you’ll be able to best leverage their potential. When you fail to do this, many of your partners will underperform and you will find yourself with opportunities wasted.
Few things make partners as happy as consistent behavior. The business world is full of uncertainty, so consistency is always welcomed. Make sure that your PRM processes promote reliable behavior on your end or you can bet that your various channels will grow tired of you quickly.
Using channel management software can definitely help in this regard. Not only will it streamline communication, it can go a long way toward automating many processes too, which frees up time for you and your partners to focus on what’s really important - selling.
No partner should ever have to waste time looking for the right information they need to sell your company’s products or services. Nor should you be expected to spend your time sending countless emails with the resources your partners are requesting. . Instead, channel management software provides a self-service platform that can make the information you choose readily available to your partners when they need it.
That being said, your Partner Relationship Management approach should also involve updating this information regularly. When you produce new information, check for accuracy and make sure it’s clear, concise and helpful. Above all else, it must be relevant to make their job easier.
Before your PRM strategy ever has a chance to win the mindshare battle, you need to go through the process of onboarding new partners. This initial phase of a new partner relationship is critical in letting your partners know how easy - or difficult - it is to do business with you. Get off on the right foot with new partners and you’ll have an immediate advantage. Part of this process requires laying out your expectations and approach. It’s also when you give them the vital information they’ll need to start selling your products more quickly.
Software definitely helps here. A PRM system allows you to constantly refine your approach to onboarding so that you learn from each new partnership and improve your processes as you go.
No partner wants to waste valuable time and effort with cumbersome processes required to become a new partner. It represents a loss of sales to them and wasted resources for however long the process takes. Many will also see it as a lack of commitment on your part.
Developing your Partner Relationship Management strategy is too important to treat as anything but a high priority. When frustration begins brewing, take the necessary steps to keep it from impacting your bottom line.