Only some businesses have realized that partnership is the key to upscaling their business in this competitive landscape. But when it comes to partnership management, it’s essential to know that not all strategies can spur impact or get the desired result that you may be working to achieve. Effective partnership relationship management is crucial for promoting products and building strong relationships.
Many successful brands, including Microsoft, Hubspot, and Salesforce, have achieved tremendous results via channel sales and PRM. Amazon Web Services is one of the leading examples of having strong partnership management skills. Another brand that outshined with channel partnership was Zoom. They reported that channel partners in Japan contributed to 40 percent of their Japanese business. 70 percent of their US Federal Government business was due to channel partners.
So how do you think all this was possible? The answer is strategic partnership management. Businesses have realized that implementing partner management strategies has enabled them to reduce potential communication breakdowns, which ultimately leads to poor performance and affects brand reputation. As a business owner with multiple partners, you may have challenges managing your partners. With this being said, here are six ways you can build better long-term relationships with your partners and propel your business to the next level using a PRM portal.
Steps to Strategize Partnership Management
Successful partnerships are the result of proper nurturing, transparent communication, effective tools, accountability, and the willingness to change if needed. If implemented correctly, it can help partnerships thrive and achieve expected results.
1. Establish Clear Foundation
Discuss common goals. Because in strategic alliances, businesses often assume that being in the same department means everyone is on the same page. That increases stress on partnerships and reduces the odds of success.
Your workflow and processes should meet both your and your partners’ needs. Your negotiations, plans, and strategies should be transparent. Include all the individuals involved in the day-to-day lead operations.
A partnership relationship management portal provides a centralized interface to track and manage the pipeline. It gives your partners and internal staff a unified platform to share ideas and insights and view progress. It helps them identify loopholes. For instance, when registering deals, everyone has visibility of the possibility of the lead at every stage. Besides, partners can easily find all the information they need to approach a client along with numbers like win/loss opportunities, customer requirements, special pricing offers based on manufacturers and developers, etc.
A PRM portal built on CRM lays a strong foundation for relationship management. Partners have access to every data they need – objectives, leads/opportunities, profit/loss, and more.
2. Provide Comprehensive Onboarding and Training
Ensure that partners get all the training and support to promote products and services. There should be a program for new product orientation, marketing strategies, and support. Creating a repository of articles, documents, videos, manuals, and marketing plans is essential to success.
A partnership management portal automates the onboarding process with triggered workflows. Plus, it provides easy access to all the learning materials, including datasheets, manuals, workflows, blogs, etc. It helps personalize training and achieve training milestones by giving partners a chance to self-learn, earn incentives, certifications, and rewards, and experiment at their own pace.
Here’s what kind of process and training you can expect from PRM platforms:
- Filtering applications based on the defined parameters. Sorting it on their performance and other metrics. This way, businesses only have to go through the eligible candidates.
- Organizational training explaining basic safety protocols, customer service, company policies, and so on.
- Product training including features, workflows, technical specifications (if required).
- General training includes engagement, communication, and collaboration methods.
- Training to understand market demand, grab business opportunities, develop marketing strategies, competitive pricing, and lead generation.
3. Nurture Relationships
Every business that starts successfully can erode due to communication and collaboration issues. Hence, one of the partnership management strategies is to connect with partners. Understand them, their skills, interests, etc. It helps enhance communication and collaboration.
A community feature makes it possible. It helps everyone on the team – partners and members to connect despite the geographical constraints. They can discuss ideas, interests, challenges, and more with fellow mates. Transparency and data visibility further helps recognize each others’ capabilities, culture, and achievements. It strengthens relationships and helps businesses create more opportunities.
4. Invest in Tools, Technologies, and Processes
Bringing in partners from different regions can be challenging as they may have different styles and expectations. Even their way of working may differ. Providing multiple channels of communication can frustrate them. A partner relationship management portal provides a unified interface where all the partners can communicate together. They can share financial reports, converse with leads, learn about products and services, manage their transactions and internal workflows, etc.
You, as a business owner, can track their activities, define key performance metrics, and evaluate their performance. The best thing is that you don’t have to manage everything manually. A partner portal helps automate the workflows. For instance, partners can track their lead count and other updates. Triggered emails and messages can be sent wherever required in the lead pipeline.
It also allows third-party integrations to ensure that businesses and partners can access all the required tools and techniques in one place.
5. Emphasize Accountability with Data
No process is risk worthy unless you have the numbers to justify it. Hence, businesses should define the key metrics/targets that partners should hit to succeed. What should be the average lead count for partners to earn certain rewards? And so on.
A PRM platform helps businesses track their channel partners’ activity and gathers data to provide valuable insights such as:
- Total traffic generated from different channels
- Transcripts of customer interaction and how they respond to a particular action or marketing campaign. What steps were taken to resolve their queries, etc.?
- Performance overview of partners – communication, leads generated, customers turned, and more.
- Real-time data of internal processes and strategies yielding results or need revision
- Capturing ideas and feedback that can help improve marketing and sales initiatives
6. Provide Dynamic Partnership
Along with digitalization, partners also expect flexibility at the negotiation stage and the stages above. A few reasons are local challenges, integration norms, and compliance policies. So, for strategic partnership management, it’s crucial that you provide partners with the flexibility to grow and request changes as per the changing market trends. They can ask for sharing services, expanding business, shifting to different products/services, etc. You should, in fact, encourage them to change as per the changing customer expectations. They should have the freedom to negotiate on financial aspects too.
In short, give them the flexibility to shape themselves to be beneficial for both – them and the business.
Partnership management is a collaborative approach, and only with the right tools and suitable partners, it’s possible to get the most out of partnership management strategies.
Learn how you can help your channel partners with a PRM portal. If you are looking to build a partner portal from scratch, you can always contact CRMJetty to develop a tailored solution for your business. We take pride in having the best industry experts in our team to help you figure out what will best for your business. Get in touch with us today to know more!
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