Partner Relationship Management, as the term suggests, is about setting a business strategy and methodology to improve the relationship between a company and its channel partners. To build a synergized team with high performing channel partners and to work more effectively & efficiently under this arrangement, the core factors that can lead to its success need to be identified.
Partner Relationship Management is often compared with SuiteCRM and this is often a misconception. Within sales channels, the complex relationships with partners need to be effectively managed to drive collaboration and engagement which are way beyond the ways of SuiteCRM. Hence PRM is an emergent new field in itself today.
For effective and smooth running of the Partner Relationship Management process, some best practices should be followed. These can help to establish trust and open communication across the entire partner communication channel. A process that seeks to proactively identify and resolve conflicts in every area of the channel partnership creating a more efficient system of conducting business is what can qualify as a best practice
Some of the best practices
Partner network is prone to dynamic changes as the ecosystem contains many players and sometimes dependencies on third parties as well. This cuts through multiple industries where the partner network is the primary channel ecosystem to sell a company’s products (or services). Adapting to dynamic changes quickly and digesting them seamlessly into the workflows is one of the key factors that can make or break the channel management initiative. The following best practices can help channel partners in making the business a successful one. These are emerging with more information exchange over the internet and are generally applicable to all types of business, irrespective of the size of business or the business area.
1. Value Addition
It is important to first recognize and understand the ways in which each partner can add value to the core business. This will help to prioritize the partners and then focus differently on each if required. Depending on the geographical distribution of your company’s operations, for instance, local players can act as partners who can add value in different forms for the growth of your business. Studying each in detail can help you anticipate and address problems likely to be faced in implementing new ideas or in day-to-day association with each channel partner.
It takes two to tango! Channel partners must connect with each other often regularly to discuss milestones, problems faced, and any issues that require immediate attention. This joint collaboration is also breeding ground for synchronizing common interests and business goals, as well as identifying newer areas of association. Being active in a relationship projects your thoughtfulness and is therefore very important. Creating opportunities for one another can strengthen connections between channel partners.
3. Performance Review
Performance review is one of the best practices which should be followed to encourage channel partners to work more efficiently. Summarizing accomplishments of the partners by providing incentives in the form of gifts, vacation, bonus, and so on could be helpful. These incentives could be aligned to agreed performance and profit-sharing as well. Comparing the past performance of the partner and analyzing the areas that need improvement in terms of performance is a must for the growing success of your business. Discussing the challenges faced and opportunities that can be foreseen as upcoming issues boosting the morale of the partner and thus helps positively in the performance and growth of the company.
It is important to take stock of the relationship periodically and see its viability and value to the business each time. It pays to determine if the relationship amongst the partners is healthy enough and can be proceeded further. If a partner is not able to contribute to the relationship and in turn to the business, then the relation needs deeper analysis on the root cause of why things are going wrong. Deep diving will identify the problems, and increase engagement levels. Reconfirming the common goals and agreeing on them is necessary for drawing the partner relationship from the doldrums.
5. Adoption of technological changes
Adoption and acceptance to the changes in technology are necessary to leverage the relationship and take it to a new level. Digital medium and software intelligence can work a long way to eliminate differences, consolidate collaboration, make communication seamless and build transparency and accountability. Engaging technology vendors and arranging for training programs for partners can help in building a robust relationship.
The rewards for best practices in Partner relationship management are plenty. For many companies, it is necessary to leverage the extended partner network. It is important to survey all the parties involved in the relationship. By following the right practices, you can create the right implementation roll-out plan for a partner relationship management solution which can bring an increase in engagement and collaboration with channel partners.
Partners need to work on equal footing to harbor a strong relationship. This often goes beyond the formal relationships of the service provider and the user, the consumer and the producer. Irrespective of which party is paying and which one is getting paid, both sides need to feel open and trust each other to better the relationship. When this is achieved, the benefits of PRM will begin to emerge naturally. This is more of a change in the traditional mindset rather than simply acquiring new technological solutions and PRM platforms.
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