When it comes to Partner Relationship Management, few things are as important as the battle for mindshare. You may be familiar with end user/buyer mindshare in terms of traditional advertising. However, when it comes to your selling partners, it means ensuring that they are giving your company preference relative to your competitors. Here’s how to make certain that happens.
1. Use PRM Software
If you aren’t using Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software, there’s a good reason you’re missing out on mindshare. PRM software makes everything from communication to tracking sales much simpler, which in turn, makes it easier to support your partners. In today’s world, people expect to have quality information that’s relevant to doing their job at their fingertips - literally. Begin using PRM software today. Your partners will appreciate it.
2. Allocate Market Development Funds (MDF funds) More Effectively
Do you expect your partners to do all the financing for marketing your products? Historically MDF funds went into the black hole, often ending up in the sales partners’ bottom line instead of used efficiently as an investment (expense) to promote your product. Your competitors are probably sending those same partners MDF funds. With MDF funds, your partners will have a much easier time marketing and selling your products.
You might want to re-think about how you hand out MDF funds now that you can help your partners measure the cause and effect of the use of these funds. We’ll talk a bit more about your different partners in a moment, but sufficed to say, you might not want to give everyone an equal share of the MDF pie.
3. Refine Onboarding
On-boarding should be as easy as possible for your partners. Not only will it mean you can profit sooner from their business, it’s a great way to begin the relationship. With PRM software, on-boarding becomes simple, but you should still look for ways to refine your process. Make it easy for new partners you recruit to get up to speed and get them selling for you faster. Then make it easy for them to continuously ramp up new hires as they grow and deal with inevitable turnover. Onboarding is a continuous process. If you can provide a better way to support your sales partners’ business in this area you can gain mindshare.
4. Engage Your Partners
Just because things seem like they’re going well, doesn’t mean they are. You could be losing mindshare because you’re not actively checking in with your partners. Once again, PRM software makes this easy.
5. Tailor Your Partner Support
Not all of your partners are going to be the same. Tailor your approach to each partner based on their unique qualities are always going to get greater amounts of mindshare. Reinforce success and scale back on partners who aren’t buying into the program. Modern business intelligence capabilities allow channel managers to do this like never before.
6. Leverage Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is an invaluable tool. Leverage this resource by making sure all of your partners are aware about what the market is telling you. Create a closed loop of customer feedback across your channel.
You can hardly blame a sales partner for your lack of mindshare if they don’t have a great understanding of what your products have to offer. While supplying them with great content can help with sales, providing efficient, high quality training so that they can competently support their customers is just as important.
8. Handle New Hire Training
Educating their current staff is great, but what about when your partners hire new people? You can guarantee mindshare right from the beginning, by creating training materials specific to your company’s products. This will help them sell and create a connection between them and your company.
9. Provide Great Content
Speaking of which, MDF funds are a proven tactic that you should use to supportyour partners. These funds allow your sales partners to tailor an effective marketing campaign at the local market level. However, an important asset you should be giving them is great content. If you can keep them from having to createtheir own, you’re doing them a big favor that’s sure to keep their attention and enables them to deploy MDF funds in other areas that add more value to their own businesses.
Always look for opportunities to collaborate with your partners. For one, you’re making their lives easier. Strive to make the day to day working relationship as frictionless as possible. SImply stated make it easy for your sales partners to sell for you. Making it easy builds stronger relationships with them. PRM software systems are built to make it easy.
Losing mindshare can almost be as bad as completely losing a partner to another competitor. Fortunately, any of the 10 tips above can go a long way toward helping to win this important battle and winning more sales.