Partner Relationship Management (PRM) – Making the Most of Every Deal
Tech Sheets - The High Tech Blog
Posted by Doug Hoover on September 27, 2012
Is your revenue engine still sputtering? Well, maybe it’s time to give your indirect channel a tune-up. After all, indirect sales typically make up a majority of company sales in the High Tech industry. But the question is, how? Finding a desired balance between driving your direct sales organization and enhancing the potential of your channel business can be very difficult. In an effort to avoid channel conflict, companies have segmented their direct and indirect sales making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to collaborate. This can leave many sales executives wondering if there is a better way.
In an ever-growing social economy, perhaps it’s time to enable collaboration between your sales channels rather than restricting it. Your company has likely deployed collaboration tools internally, and with your customers, but many organizations have yet to take these steps with their business partners. Compounding the issue, the processes and systems supporting business partners are often highly fragmented and lack advanced capabilities that can reduce workload. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has taken the forefront for more than two decades, but Partner Relationship Management (PRM) has not received the same level of attention by software vendors leaving companies to develop and bolt together applications to offer a comprising PRM solution on their own. While there is still no silver bullet, there are several strategies that can make it easier for you to collaborate with your partners extending your reach in the market and driving top line growth. Here are two important steps you can take:
- Rev up your deal registration engine. Do you feel like you are flying blind when it comes to your channel business? You’re not alone! Business partners share their opportunities with you through your deal registration system, but if you’re like many companies, it’s disconnected from the Sales Force Automation (SFA) system used by your sales reps. Even if it’s integrated, the information is often not kept current limiting visibility into your channel pipeline. Channel Managers can be forced to track information manually to monitor the status of these opportunities making it difficult for them to share this information. Some of the leading companies are making the investment to migrate PRM system onto the same technology platform as their CRM solution to knock down barriers that can inhibit collaboration between direct and indirect sales and provide sales management with real-time access they need to manage their pipeline across channels.
- Create a feeding frenzy in your shark tank. Lead sharing can be another powerful way of collaborating with your business partners. However, pushing large volumes of low quality leads into a “shark tank” for partners to sift through may not be the most desirable approach. Making an investment in how partner leads are scored and assigned can provide partners with a targeted list of higher quality leads which, in turn, can improve your lead to opportunity conversion ratio. Just think how powerful it can be to have your partners qualifying and closing deals that may otherwise grow stale waiting for your direct sales force to act upon.
Investing in your deal registration and lead management system are not the only ways of improving collaboration with your business partners. Providing improved access to content, linking marketing development funds to leads, introducing social technologies, and personalizing your partner portal can be some of the other ways to improve collaboration between your direct and indirect channels. Building a solid foundation for your PRM system is the starting point for a journey that can help you reach a market that may otherwise go untapped without your business partners.
|Doug Hoover is a specialist leader in Deloitte Consulting's Emerging Solutions practice. Doug has over 20 years of experience in IT, consulting and industry, specializing in CRM applications - Marketing, Sales, and Service. Prior to Deloitte, Doug held positions at a leading consulting firm and a leading CRM solution provider, where specialized in CRM applications with a focus on Service (Contact Center, Field Service, Contract Management, Service Parts Management). Doug has a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Science from the University of Florida.|
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