Any company with a network of channel partners understands that its success is entirely dependent on its partners. When partners are empowered and aligned with a company’s own goals and priorities, the company can optimize its bottom-line sales opportunities and meet all of its compliance obligations. Unfortunately, keeping channel partners moving in lockstep with the company is easier said than done—especially as the challenges of running a business become more complex over time. Consumer data protection regulations in the European Union, for example, now run 261 pages across 11 chapters, while HIPAA (U.S. Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act) regulations run 160 pages. Getting channel partners to consistently follow all applicable industry regulations and requirements can quickly become an overwhelming task. And of course, achieving full compliance is just the bare minimum; companies ultimately need to work closely and collaboratively with their channel partners to drive sales and revenue growth.
Fortunately, when it comes to the all-important, all-encompassing work of partner relationship management (PRM), companies don’t have to educate and support channel partners all on their own. A modern, fully integrated PRM portal like the industry-leading Salesforce Experience Cloud helps companies comprehensively manage relationships with all of their channel partners, ensuring partners have the tools, knowledge, and support they need to be fully aligned with the company’s priorities and goals. Let’s explore five essential ways that a PRM portal helps companies boost their bottom line and meet all of their compliance goals:
PRM ensures partners receive critical updates
Most companies communicate important information and updates to their channel partners via email blasts and inconsistent in-person interactions. As a result, channel partners struggle to keep up with the information they need to know—everything from changes in pricing and product catalogs, to new requirements and regulations around storing customer data. PRM provides a user-friendly portal for companies to deliver information to channel partners in structured, easy-to-absorb ways that improve visibility and retention. Channel partners can access memos, knowledge articles, and live chats—all from a single, seamlessly integrated interface. Information that partners need is available on-demand and served up in engaging, social media-inspired formats. When partners are informed, they become better positioned to support the company’s goals around both sales and compliance.
PRM optimizes collaboration opportunities
When companies find opportunities to collaborate with their channel partners, these partners become more engaged and invested in helping the company achieve all of its goals. Most companies, however, don’t focus on creating meaningful opportunities for collaboration; they take a top-down approach to imposing requirements on channel partners and developing sales and marketing materials without input from partners. PRM provides a platform for companies to work collaboratively to advance shared goals. For example, companies can freely share data analytics, sales strategies, and marketing plans with partners, giving partners the ability to meaningfully provide feedback and ideas that will improve not only their own effectiveness but also the company’s. Additionally, partners can run with the wealth of information made available to them through PRM, using it to create co-branded marketing collateral and optimized, aligned customer experiences. These collaborative endeavors strengthen the relationship between a company and its partners, making partners more likely to care about—and proactively want to support—the company’s overarching goals around both sales and compliance.
PRM makes partners more effective sellers
One of the most effective ways to get partners to support a company’s big-picture sales and compliance goals is by helping partners to sell more and meet their own personal sales goals. PRM is designed specifically to give partners the tools and infrastructure they need to optimize the numbers and sizes of their deals. PRM takes care of automatically distributing leads, preventing lead conflicts, and registering deals. PRM also integrates with CRM (customer relationship management), making it easy for channel partners to not just prepare quotes, but also manage sales through their full lifecycle. Additionally, PRM enables companies to offer market development funds and incentives to partners to promote sales growth. Finally, PRM gives partners access to their own sales data and how it compares to overall sales data. Using this data, partners can track and benchmark their own KPIs, as well as analyze and mine data to identify optimal customer upselling and cross-selling strategies.
PRM provides partner-friendly educational resources
For partners to be successful at both sales and compliance, a company can’t just give them a manual or conduct an onboarding webinar and expect partners to be fully up to speed. Partners need education and training, and this information needs to be conveyed on a continuous basis and, ideally, through multiple channels. A PRM portal provides a one-stop-shop for partners to access training videos on demand, searchable knowledge bases, and resources they can access from any device, including mobile. This multi-channel approach to training improves understanding and retention for important areas of the business, including mastering product specs, supporting upcoming marketing campaigns, and learning how to prepare pitch decks. Moreover, training resources can be customized for different partners, enabling companies to share resources that optimally resonate with each partner’s needs and sensibilities.
PRM offers unprecedented visibility and insight
Most companies have only a limited, incomplete understanding of how their channel partners are doing when it comes to meeting sales and compliance goals. PRM offers powerful, highly visual ways for companies to methodically monitor their partners’ KPIs. Companies get partner performance data in real-time, enabling them to understand which partners are struggling, and in which precise areas they’re struggling. Using these insights, companies can understand how to optimally engage and support their channel partners to become more connected and more successful.
Every company wants to see its channel partners succeed at achieving their sales and compliance goals. PRM supports the entire partner ecosystem by ensuring partners don’t miss critical updates, optimizing collaboration opportunities between a company and its partners, giving partners more tools to be more effective sellers, offering user-friendly education and training resources, and offering real-time visibility and insights into every partner’s performance.
Simplus specializes in implementing Salesforce’s PRM ecosystem to help partners reach all of their sales and compliance goals. To learn more about how we approach strengthening the connections between a company and its partners, please reach out to Simplus today. We look forward to turbo-charging the performance and productivity of your entire partner ecosystem.