How to manage channel partners

Having a healthy channel network is paramount for vendors that rely on channel partners to drive revenue, up to 30% of total revenue in most cases. Recruiting new partners is just the first step when it comes to implementing a partner program. Keeping your partners constantly engaged and active is very important to achieve a high ROI on the money spent to attract new partners.

Furthermore, enabling channel partners in the form of incentives, rewards, proper program structure and commissions is equally important. In order to put all these efforts in place, channel partner management applications have been introduced to help vendors manage their partner network while providing the necessary support to partners. Many vendors rely on CRM or spreadsheets to manage their network and below we provide some reasons why these are not good solutions.

CRM for managing partners

Managing channel partners using a CRM

Using CRM to manage customer information and communications is great and can increase productivity. But using is to manage channel partners is not a good idea, not only it doesn’t provide all the tools to increase engagement and partner activity but also it sends a message to the partner network that he right tools are not in place to enable them.

A CRM can keep updated contact details of a partner network, send occasional product updates or newsletters via email and check deals that can be registered but it leaves out all the important tools for channel partners to boost their performance. For example, there is no content library that channel partners can use to have access to important sales and marketing material, no deal registration process, no training module available and no commission automation. We can keep going with capabilities that CRM systems lack when it comes to managing channel partners.

Spreadsheet for managing partners

Managing channel partners with spreadsheets

Managing channel partners via spreadsheets is also a bad idea, it has all the cons of a CRM system in addition to not being able to send new updates. Also, there is always the risk of duplicate data or errors when someone is using a spreadsheet and entering manual data. Finally, it send a really bad message to the partner network in terms of the organization and the importance it assigns to its partners.

If you want to use a software tool to manage and enable your partner network but don’t have the budget you can check our PRM software that comes with a free fully functional plan.

PRM to manage channel partners

Using PRM software to manage channel partners

A proper PRM system will provide you all the functionality and capabilities to manage and enable your partner network. It provides by default all the management features a CRM or spreadsheets offer with the addition of tools and modules to incentivize your partners, train them correctly, provide sales and marketing material via a content library, deal registration tools and automate processes when it comes to reporting and assigning commissions.

Managing channel partners is critical to make a partner network successful and having the right tools to do it can not only increase your chances to make it happen but also reduce costs, resources and time.

Do you want to manage your channel partners better? Check our PRM software that comes with a free plan.