The Ultimate Checklist for Investing in Partner Relationship Management Software

By Seth Jacobsen Posted on 3/12/15 7:30 AM

Are you in the market for partner relationship management software? With so many platforms to choose from these days, it’s increasingly important to evaluate your options to ensure you find a good fit. Before you make a choice, then, it’s worth considering the checklist below.

Analytics

The Ultimate Checklist for Investing in Partner Relationship Management SoftwareOne of the key aspects of effective partner relationship management software is analytics. It’s how you keep an eye on the performance of your channel partners and the habits of your customers. That doesn’t mean, though, that this factor is one you can take for granted. Quite the opposite: it should be a major component of your requirements checklist.

That being said, not all reporting engines will give you access to analytics from various data sources. The more you can correlate meaningful data from disparate systems the better you will be able to make critical strategic decisions to support your channel.

Collaborative Environments

If you are only looking at relationship management software to manage your partners, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Partners aren’t just affiliate marketers. They are critical to supporting your sales and marketing efforts on the local level. Use their expertise to your advantage and actively listen to them

Therefore, you want a relationship management platform that will include resources for collaboration. This includes social forums, areas to share best practices, and access to social media platforms for improved communication.

CRM Integration

Surprisingly, not all partner relationship management software platforms integrate with your company’s CRM. Simply put, this can be a game-changer. When looking for a platform, make sure you factor in your ability to integrate a CRM and any other critical third-party systems. Without this integration, you lose the ability to tie your contacts, leads, and other forms of potentially important data into one location.

Also, keep in mind that your internal team is already intimately familiar with your CRM. Relationship management software that works along with it will be that much more easily adopted by your employees.

SEE ALSO: 20 Questions You Should Always Ask About PRM Software before Buying It

Automation, Automation, Automation

Automation is one of the main reasons to invest in partner relationship management software. Take time to investigate the manual business processes that can be automated and determine if a PRM platform can provide that automation. Everything from online lead forms to support tickets to new partner onboarding processes should be available with a minimal amount manual input. The more automation, the more effectively you and your partners will do business.

Customer Service

No matter how robust a partner relationship management platform claims to be, it’s not worth the investment if the vendor doesn’t offer superb customer service. At some point, you’ll run into problems. Usually, it will be something as simple as just having a question about how it works or what happens when you can’t login. Unless someone at the manufacturer is picking up the phone and ready to help, your business could be severely impacted. Some vendors will offer remote administrative services which can improve efficiency of maintaining the platform and allows you to focus on your day to day activities.

Customer service is also critical at the implementation phase. While relationship management software these days is designed with a user-friendly interface in mind, any new technology platform has an inherent learning curve. Look for a company that takes the time walk you through the implementation step-by-step and helps you correctly establish your organizational structure from the outset.

As you can see, there are several critical factors that impact your decision when making an investment in partner relationship management software. Each organization has their own priorities so it is important to rank these factors according to your unique requirements.

SEE ALSO: How Much Should You Be Spending on Partner Relationship Management?

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