The problem: As the VP of sales one of your many responsibilities is to manage your sales channel partners. This year ten new channel partners signed up and you have a dozen more in the pipeline. It has become an all-consuming activity to mange and nurture these relationships and you are not feeling good about the results of your efforts. The feedback you have been hearing from your channel partners suggests that your level of engagement and collaboration with them is not where it should be to ensure success. The areas of needed improvement are in the following areas:
- Marketing and Communication Support
- Training and Certification
- Performance Management
The solution: A Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solution. The general purpose of PRM is to enable companies to better manage their partners through the introduction of reliable systems, processes and procedures. 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.
What is a Partner Portal?
At its core, a PRM system is a partner portal through which your channel partners are able to access all of the resources they need to sell and service your products. These resources are typically accessed through a non-public web site and require the use of an authenticated username and password. It is a single point of entry that allows a channel partner direct access to systems such as:
- Sales and marketing information
- Product details
- Training and certification programs
- Lead management tools
- Performance management tools
How a Partner Portal Can Help
A partner portal truly helps to simplify the interaction between your company and your channel partners. Your interaction with your partners takes place in this single portal – no need to bounce around from system to system (CRM, ERP, marketing content management system, learning management system, etc.).
Today’s robust, cloud-based PRM systems can create a highly personalized environment that is easy to maintain and update. It is fully configurable, scalable, and easily accessible from anywhere. Also, today’s systems are affordable, with some pricing plans offering a fixed fee per month per user as low as five dollars. That’s right – the same cost per user that Google charges for its enterprise email solution.
By implementing a PRM solution with a robust partner portal you will quickly find that managing your channel partners is not so time consuming. Leading PRM systems allow you to put into the hands of your channel partners a powerful tool that will quickly capture more of their mindshare, which will increase channel partner collaboration and engagement.