Only a few businesses have realized that partnership is imperative to be a step above the others in a competitive market. But it's not as easy-going as it sounds. When it comes to promoting products and building sustained relationships, successful partnership relationship management is paramount. When discussing partnership management, we need to understand that not all strategies will produce the desired impact or result in you were working toward.
Plenty of prosperous brands, like Microsoft, Salesforce, HubSpot, etc., have attained exceptional results by using channel sales and PRM. If you are looking for a leading example of strong partnership management skills, look no further than Amazon Web Services, with Zoom coming in at a close second. Zoom has reported that their channel partners in Japan contributed to 40% of all of their Japanese business. If we talk about the US, then about 70% of their US Federal Government business was because of channel partners.
How does this happen? The answer sounds simple: strategic partnership management. Businesses came to the realization that if they carry out partnership management strategies, it helps them reduce potential communication breakdowns, which lead to poor performance and ultimately affect the reputation of the brand. If you are a business owner with numerous partners, you may be facing challenges in managing these partners. Below are six ways to form a good long-term relationship with your partners and boost your business to the next level via a PRM portal.
Steps to Construct Partnership Management
A partnership becomes successful on the grounds of candid communication, proper support, accountability, effective tools, and the will to change should the need arise. If done properly, it can help partnerships achieve great results.
Establish A Clear Foundation
You should begin by discussing the goals you have in common. When it comes to strategic alliances, it is assumed by businesses that just because everyone involved is in the department means everyone is in agreement on all matters. When it proves otherwise, it increases stress on partnerships and reduces the chances of success.
Your workflow and processes should meet your and your partners' needs equally. All your strategies, negotiations, and plans should be made crystal clear. You must include all the people that are involved in the everyday operations.
Don't forget to check out: The Salesforce-Microsoft Partnership: Paving the Way for Win-Win Business Advantages
A PRM portal gives you a unified interface to track and manage the channel. This provides your internal staff, as well as your partners, with a consolidated platform to view progress and share insights. A platform of this sort helps you recognize any flaws. For example, when you register a deal, everyone involved can view the possibility of the lead at every level. Besides this, partners can have access to all the information they require to approach a client in addition to numbers like customer requirements, win/loss opportunities, special pricing offers based on developers and manufacturers, etc.
A partnership relationship management portal that is built on CRM lays down a strong foundation for relationship management. Partners have easy access to all the data - profit/loss, objectives, leads/opportunities, and the like.
Provide Extensive Training and Onboarding
You must make sure that your partners get the training and support to promote services and products. You should have programs for marketing strategies, support, and new product orientation. The key to success is the creation of a repository of manuals, marketing plans, articles, videos, and documents.
The great thing about a partnership management portal is that it automates the whole onboarding process with a few triggered workflows. In addition to this, it provides access to all kinds of learning materials, including, but not limited to, blogs, articles, manuals, workflows, documents, datasheets, etc. This helps to customize training and attain training milestones because you are giving the partners a chance to earn incentives, rewards, and certifications, self-learn, and experiment in their own way.
Here's a look at the kind of training and process that can be expected from PRM platforms:
- You can filter applications based on defined parameters. Then you have the ability to sort them based on their performance and other related metrics. This makes it easier for businesses as they only have to go through the most eligible candidates.
- You are provided with organizational training that explains customer service, company policies, and safety protocols, among other things.
- Product training would include technical specifications (if any are required), workflows, features, etc.
- General training would include collaboration methods, engagement, and communication.
- You get training to understand the market demand, how to grab business opportunities, competitive pricing, lead generation, and how to develop marketing strategies.
Collaboration and communication issues are the main reasons for the erosion of any business that starts out successfully. Hence, a primary partnership management strategy is to connect with partners - understand them as individuals, their interests, their skills, etc. This helps to elevate collaboration and communication.
The inclusion of a community feature makes this possible. This makes it easier for everyone on the team, partners, and members, to connect in spite of the geographical constraints. With the help of this feature, they can discuss interests, challenges, ideas, and more. Because of data visibility and transparency, the team can identify each others' cultures, achievements, and capabilities. This helps strengthen relationships, which ultimately allows the business to create increased opportunities.
Invest in Technologies, Processes, and Tools
Bringing in partners from various regions can get challenging because they may have different styles and expectations. Their way of working may be different. If they must use multiple channels of communication, it can be frustrating. A PRM portal gives them a centralized interface where all partners can communicate in conjunction. They are able to share financial reports, learn about products and services, manage their transactions, converse with leads and manage internal workflows, etc.
As a business owner, you can track their activities, evaluate their performance, and define key metrics. The best part? You don't have to do all this manually. A partner portal will automate the workflows. For example, partners can keep track of their lead count, among other updates. Triggered messages and emails can be sent whenever the need arises.
This also allows third-party integrations to guarantee that businesses and partners have access to all the needed techniques and tools, all in one place.
Check out another amazing blog by CRMJetty here: How Salesforce Developers Can Help Your Business?
Highlight Accountability with Data
Businesses must define key targets/metrics that partners must achieve to succeed. You should set up an average lead count for partners to earn rewards - and similar metrics should be set. There is no process without its risks, and you must have the numbers to justify it.
A partnership relationship management portal will help businesses keep track of their channel partners' activities and gather data that give valuable insights like:
- The total traffic brought about from various channels
- Transcripts of customer interactions and the way they respond to a given action or marketing campaign. What steps were taken to sort out their queries, etc.?
- An overview of partners' performance - leads generated, customers turned, communication, and so on
- Real-time data of internal processes and strategies producing results or that need revision
- Getting feedback that helps improve sales initiatives and marketing
Provide a Dynamic Partnership
In addition to digitalization, partners expect flexibility at the negotiation stage and all the stages moving forward. Reasons for this could be integration norms, local challenges, and compliance policies. For strategic partnership management, it is significant to provide partners with the space to grow and request changes as the changing market demands. They are free to ask for expanding business, sharing services, shifting to a different service/product, etc. In fact, you should urge them to change as per the customer's changing expectations. Moreover, they should be given the freedom to negotiate on financial aspects.
To put it succinctly, give them the wiggle room to shape themselves to become beneficial for both - the business and themselves.
Partnership management is a synergetic approach, and it is possible to get the most out of a partnership management strategy with the right tools and fitting partners.
You can opt for a Salesforce partner portal to maintain your partner relationships smoothly.