What is a partner relationship management system?
Partner relationship management system or simply PRM is a software system that includes tools, modules and capabilities to help vendors manage and enable their partner network.
While traditional partner relationship management systems were viewed mostly as a database to manage partner contact information modern PRM software applications are focused on incentives and social collaboration features to help vendors activate and enable their partners to perform better on their sales efforts and thus increasing indirect revenues.
While vendors are usually driven by their motivation to enter fast new markets and keep their financial overhead at a minimum, channel partners on the other hand need to be trained properly, invest in their salespeople to understand the product or solution and the sales process and finally benefit from the commission scheme in order to make sense to make this investment. This is what a partner relationship management system should include in the methods offered to increase partner engagement.
Some of the typical features found in a partner relationship management system application are deal registration, lead distribution, content library, analytics, onboarding and training, MDF request programs and joint business planning. Below is a brief overview of these features and their importance.
Having a deal registration plan is place is a basic but also great incentive for channel partners as it gives them peace of mind to work on their leads without the worries of having to compete with other partners of the same network or even with the vendor itself.
Another great way to incentivize partners is the send them leads from companies that operate in their market and would to work with a local partner. Lead distribution can be used to award the top performing channel partners or to boost companies that are lagging, it’s a strategic decision.
Market development funds (MDFs)
Many vendors choose to deploy market development funds or Co-op Funds in order to help channel partner create local awareness about their product. While these funds can be prove to be very helpful there are a number of factors to consider before defining such programs.
Providing update and relevant material like product documentation, sales decks, marketing material and other important documents it’s critical for a vendor’s partner network as it provides the right tools to their partners and salesforce in order to close more deals.
At this day and age, being able to collaborate in real-time with ones partners it’s crucial to increase channel partner productivity and indirect revenue. Collaboration features can be used to provide the right channel company or group of channel partners the right material in time and also perform co-sales initiatives.
While onboarding channel partners is very important also of equal importance is to undergo through training during a channel partner’s lifecycle. Having a trained and up to date indirect sales team can mean a constant flow of indirect sales or a rapid increase in some cases.
Partner relationship management thoughts
Almost every vendor has realized that recruiting channel partners is only have of the job. Keeping the channel network active and incentivized to sell ones solutions is the most important aspect in the channel industry. In order to achieve that a proper partner relationship management system should be implemented to give you the tools to enable your partner network and also pass the message to the partners that you are providing the means for them to be successful.
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