Channel sales are one of the fastest ways to grow enterprise revenue. To achieve this, enterprises rely on sophisticated partner relationship management strategies. Even before the covid-19 epidemic, B2B Sales evolved to develop partner digital capacity, but now providing the channel with the right tools and support is paramount.
Given that your partners receive the needed resources, your marketing and sales efforts can demonstrate a brilliant transformation as we have seen in 2020. Undoubtedly, partners who are enabled with remote support interactions and self-service programs make for a significant contribution to the vendor’s bottom line. About three fourths of B2B organizations work with their partners from a distance and not only for safety reasons. The ones who deploy effective PRM shorten the sales cycle, manage leads better and achieve higher KPIs.
Partner Relationship Management
Partner relationship management is a closed loop cycle that moves from recruitment to onboarding, enablement, reward programs, co-marketing, lead distribution, co-sales and channel optimization. This is exactly why tech vendors use powerful technology and concierge services, which in turn allow them to focus on high propensity accounts. Clearly, channel partners who own their co-branded campaigns build the best second tier markets by targeting companies which are not on your list. What is more, they are autonomous in doing so.
The more you enable your partners, the more frictionless your channel sales will be. The main objective of partner relationship management is to streamline communications and support your partners to succeed in a simplified and light cadence of touch points.
Make Your Partners Succeed
1. Get to know your channel partners
Building a strong partner relationship is based on recognizing strengths and weaknesses. The more you know about your partner market activities, brand differentiation and client base the better. Hence, you want to be able to see exactly where and how your products fit in the partner business. Ideally, your business goals will be aligned with the internal business processes of your partners to a large extent. This comes to say that your partner recruitment must be meticulously planned.
2. Enable channel lead management
The right technology can help you streamline lead qualification and distribution. You should strive to facilitate visibility of the entire lead lifecycle from expression of interest to closed deal. At all times, you should have account information flow easily. Examples are customer requirements, contract conditions, onboarding, pricing, etc. The ultimate goal is to align your channel sales activities and customer support.
3. Avoid partner cannibalization
A winning strategy opts for quality, not quantity. Many vendors attempt to create a wide partner coverage at the cost of partner productivity and actual gains. Unfortunately, a saturated channel can lead to channel conflicts, over distribution and contract disputes. What is more, your partner relationships will suffer unnecessary frictions. Precisely for that reason, you should focus on the smartest way to reach your sales goals per campaign when doing your channel calculations. Therefore, the questions you need to answer are: what products you will push through the channel and how many partners you will need to reach your quota. Oftentimes, you realize you will need just a few productive partners for a said campaign. Monitor solid performers and dormant partners and address these conditions independently.
4. Provide exhaustive partner support
We can’t say it often again: make sure that your channel partners receive the latest training and information they need to sell. Outline clear rules of engagement and provide an environment for data and asset exchange. Not surprisingly, winning vendors provide new product training, market positioning, major differentiators, sales kits and pricing amongst others. Another tactic is to personalize the training experience with the support of concierge services.
5. Informed decision-making
You want to apply data-driven decision-making. Therefore, you should organize and manage your partner relationships with the right technology. By tracking channel activity and performance you can optimize your campaigns and support your partners to do the same. A good PRM Portal can help you track opportunities, create accurate forecasts, identify client interactions that are problematic, measure and boost partner performance, and more.
In the end, your channel partners will be successful only if you provide them with the right support. Partner relationship management is a complex process that has become highly digitized as of late. If you wish to explore ways to support your channel partners with a new technology and services stack have a look at our offerings. We have 20+ years experience in delivering channel ROI.