If tech companies are not continuously investing in enterprise-level transformation, they’re doomed to flounder and fail. However, a majority of tech companies are struggling on this front, hampered by overreliance on legacy business operational models. Among technology leaders, 60 percent of CIOs and CTOs say their company’s technology modernization is not yet ready for the future, according to 2021 industry research from IBM. Not having the right infrastructure in place is consequential for companies—not only affecting the performance of employees, but also channel partners. Many tech companies are wholly dependent on robust networks of channel partners to extend the company’s brand and support its growth. And yet tech companies are not particularly good at building the infrastructure to support, empower, and lead their partners to success.
The interactions between a tech company and its sales partners are known as partner relationship management (PRM), and there’s no better PRM solution than the industry-leading Salesforce Experience Cloud. Salesforce’s PRM is designed to help tech companies comprehensively manage relationships with all of their channel partners. Using PRM, tech companies can share tools, knowledge, and up-to-date information—all fully aligned to the company’s strategic sales priorities. Let’s explore four essential strategies that every tech company should adopt to manage their PRM portal like a pro:
Use PRM to make partners feel connected to the company
Tech companies’ partners are not necessarily beholden to working with just one company. In fact, many partners are skeptical of companies that they perceive as building a relationship with them for short-term gains and one-off deals. Salesforce PRM is designed to show partners how much they’re valued. Tech companies should be using PRM to streamline and automate channel sales processes, focusing on areas like negotiations, lead generation and tracking, and pricing and quoting. Tech companies also should be using CRM to share information and encourage collaboration on mutually beneficial projects. For example, PRM makes it easy for a company to share branded marketing collateral with partners, and to collaborate on the development of seamless, engaging customer experiences. When channel partners know that a company is investing proactively in their success, the partners become much more likely to prioritize investing in collaboration and sales opportunities with the company.
Use PRM to empower partners to be more effective at selling
At the end of the day, the goal of a tech company and its partners is the same: To optimize the number and size of deals. Salesforce PRM provides tools and infrastructure to help partners be successful at sales, making it up to every tech company to optimally build and configure PRM for selling success. Tech companies should be using PRM to distribute leads, prevent lead conflicts, and register deals. They also should be integrating PRM with other Salesforce products, providing partners with sales tools and rich data to manage the full sales lifecycle, including AI to help partners identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Finally, tech companies should be using PRM to offer market development funds and incentives to partners to promote sales growth. The more that companies invest in empowering their partners to sell, the more that partners will prioritize increasing the number and size of deals.
Use PRM to provide partners with specialized training and support
Many tech partners don’t get the training and support they need to be effective partners. A company might offer a single training webinar during onboarding and a single, static training manual—and somehow expect partners to learn everything they need to know to be effective sellers. PRM helps bring standardization, consistency, and quality to this process, with an emphasis on delivering continuing education and training in multiple formats. Tech companies should be using PRM as a one-stop shop through which partners access all training videos, knowledge bases, and other resources; these resources should all be keyword-searchable and accessible from any device, including mobile, and should cover all of the key topics that partners struggle with, from understanding product specs to mastery of sales and marketing campaigns, to explaining company policies, procedures, and compliance requirements. Moreover, tech companies should be customizing these resources for each partner, so different partners receive just the information that’s applicable and relevant to them. To really seal the deal on partner enablement with your PRM, be sure to enlist organizational change management help throughout the onboarding process.
Use PRM to enable partners to track their own performance
Most partners don’t have a way to closely monitor their sales for a particular company, especially if they have multiple sales partners themselves. This lack of transparency is consequential, making partners less engaged and less able to hold themselves accountable to sales goals. PRM provides highly visual, ready-made ways for companies to share real-time information on how their partners are performing. Tech companies should be making this data and insights accessible to partners. Companies also should be helping partners to contextualize their data, such as understanding how a partner’s performance stacks up against other partners or even the overall average and identifying reasons for unusually high or low performance. When tech companies enable partners to track their own performance, partners become more connected to the company and want to help the company achieve its sales goals.
Every tech company wants a successful, thriving network of channel partners to optimize sales opportunities. That means every tech company must put in the work. Building a robust PRM portal is a foundational step toward building strong relationships with channel partners. Tech companies should be using PRM to help partners feel connected to the company, empower partners with the tools they need to be successful at selling, provide partners with ongoing training and support, and enable partners to track their own performance.
Simplus specializes in helping tech companies implement and manage their Salesforce PRM portal like a pro. Utilizing organizational change management best practices helps increase adoption by channel partners. To learn more about how we use PRM to strengthen a company’s relationship with its channel partners, please reach out to Simplus today. We look forward to using PRM to help extend your brand and drive growth opportunities among all of your channel partners.