In most distribution channels, there are numerous entities (like dealers, distributors, VARs and reps) that rely on solid communication and cooperation in order for everyone to prosper. The efforts that go into supporting and enabling these business entities to sell and service products are all elements of a comprehensive Partner Relationship Management (PRM) strategy. The most efficient method for achieving significant performance gains is to launch a PRM strategy using a partner portal technology that has best practice workflows built in.
What does PRM Software do?
A PRM portal provides a one-stop location through which all partners in a distribution system can access the information they need to get the job done. Items and functions available through such a portal might include training, certification controls, product information, marketing materials, collaboration forums and more. Since the portal is web-based, partners throughout the world will be able to access these resources via log-ins supplied by the software administrator.
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Components of Solid PRM Systems
Although you can share almost any data or media through a PRM portal, there are some things that are essential for a high-functioning, efficient system. You should provide a single log-in for each user for ease of access. A system that allows administrators to limit access levels by user provides a way for you to keep some areas limited to certain partners or staff without requiring multiple passwords.
Not only does it need to be easy for people to get into your PRM software, but it also must be easy for them to use the functionality offered. It is best to design your PRM software with a logical, user-friendly interface that matches current popular technology and design elements. Users should be able to search via an engine-like browser, view necessary documents and download or print appropriately.
The Power of Communication
A properly designed and implemented PRM software portal delivers a powerful collaboration and communication tool for your distribution channel. Many of today's businesses are moving to a stronger use of inter-connectivity and manufacturers and suppliers need to position themselves for the growing trends in technology. PRM software allows you to push and pull information at a rapid pace, accurately while maintaining a two-way road of communication with all your business partners.
Visibility into channel activities such as knowing what dealer employees are certified to represent the brand or knowing how each dealer is performing against quota or being able to align incentive programs with dealer performance in real-time are all integral components of a dealer performance management program controlled within PRM software.
So What? Who Cares?
Well, anyone selling product through channel partners should. And, anyone relying on independent businesses to service complex products should. Why? Because making it easy for those business partners to do business with you means that they'll be more engaged with your company and your brand; this means more mindshare. In turn, they'll pay more attention to selling your company's products instead of those of your competitor.