When Partner Relationship Management (PRM) strategies are working, they can be one of the most profitable components of your business plan. They are the best way to leverage these important relationships. By getting the most out of your various partners, you can experience the greatest potential in sales too. Unfortunately, when Partner Relationship Management is lacking, your profits follow. Before long you are spending a majority of your time tending to unsuccessful relationship rather than nurturing the ones that are profitable.
Here are three reasons you may have a broken relationship and how you can fix it.
You Aren’t Using PRM Software
At this point, if you’re not using PRM software, there’s no way you can expect to get the most from the partners you rely on. You’re trying to apply outdated methods or manual processes in a time when everything is evolving faster than ever.
I've written more about the many advantages of PRM software elsewhere, but one brief example is streamlined communication. It’s easy to keep connected with your partners. You can provide the sales and marketing materials they need to access at a moment’s notice. Whether it’s product information, spec sheets, prices lists, or promotional documents, having a central repository for this information is going to benefit your partner relationships.
On top of that, PRM software makes it possible to keep an eye on all your partners at once. You can keep track of organizational change, view your sales pipeline collectively or by partner, and see which partners are accessing the system most often. The same functionality can be handed down to your best customers as well. You can provide them with access to the information you want them to see, which can help you meet their needs even better.
You Don’t Understand Your Partners, And They Don’t Understand You
Just like in a real relationship, the business kind involves taking time to understand your partners. Otherwise, how can you possibly hope to get the most out of your relationship?
Good Partner Relationship Management begins with looking at each partner and evaluating what they bring to the table. Poor Partner Relationship Management is usually characterized by a company that is more concerned with finding any partners - not the right partners - from the outset. It’s almost as though they don’t care who sells their products, as long as they get sold.
However, if you don’t care about who sells your products, chances are they won’t get sold. You could end up jeopardizing a profitable customer opportunity because you didn't have the right partner in place to service their needs. Even if you do see some sales, they may not be what you could have achieved from another partner in that area.
Focus on what makes each of your partners different and how your company can meet their needs to better sell your product.
PRM software can be a huge help with this problem. You can also take the time to speak with your partners to find out what is working well and what’s not in order to make.
You Can’t Measure Success
Along the same lines, no Partner Relationship Management strategy is going to work if you don’t have a system in place to track performance and hold your partners accountable. It takes a lot of time and effort to support an indirect sales channel and you don’t want that effort to go to waste. Let your partners know what you expect from them - whether it is lead registration, training completion, or specific marketing initiatives - and have a means to track those results. Each company has their own definition of channel success but very few have the means to track the KPI’s necessary to achieve that success.
Take time to prescreen partners before taking them on based on these parameters. Let them tell you what they can do to exceed these expectations and then allow them to monitor their progress. This will help you be more selective in your partner application process and give you a better chance of establishing profitable relationships
If you accept anyone, your collection of partners will grow. Unfortunately, they’ll grow into a huge problem.
Partner Relationship Management is an essential element to growing your business and profits. However, if it’s currently broken for any of the above reasons, you have the ability to mend these issues.