You are the VP of Sales or Channel Support for a rapidly growing emerging market company. The decision has been made to leverage a channel sales strategy – which was your recommendation. Based on your past experiences and research you have conducted, you know that the keys to a successful channel partner strategy involve the following components:
- Recruit and retain the right channel partners
- Onboard and educate the channel partners quickly and efficiently
- Support them – sales leads, marketing collateral, marketing strategies, etc.
- Monitor and manage to maximize the relationship
- Deploy a system that allows for lead management and pipeline visibility
A successful channel strategy relies on data – the collection of data, the ability to analyze the data, the resources to manage the data, and the ability to disseminate the data appropriately. But how do you accomplish this? This data can be scattered across many applications – customer relationship management (CRM) systems, sales force automation (SFA) systems, accounting systems, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and many others. It is no wonder that with this alphabet soup it can be difficult to launch a successful channel partner program.
The answer to the original question, “When does my company need a channel partner management solution?, is obvious – right after you make the decision to use sales channel partners and before you recruit your first partner.
A good channel management solution will enable you to pull all this disparate data together into a partner portal so that you and your partners can effectively collaborate on the sales and marketing efforts. You want a system that allows you to support, develop and manage your sales channel partners in order to increase sales, improve margins, lower service and warranty costs and increase customer satisfaction. What you are really looking for is a partner relationship management (PRM) solution.
A partner relationship management system makes it possible to quickly and easily integrate any or all of the channel marketing activities related to the support, development and management of a distribution channel into a single customized collaboration portal. A good PRM integrates applications that enable e-learning, collaboration, incentives, content creation, distribution and more, to drive channel sales and overall channel performance while driving down costs. Go invest in the right partner relationship management technology early in your channel partner strategy. Click here to learn more.