Today’s business climate is competitive. Companies will often struggle to meet sales goals on their own. With revenue to generate, brand images to craft and leads to track, seeking the assistance of a channel partner or third-party vendor can be a time-saving solution to delivering your product or service to customers on a much larger scale.
In fact, on average, 20% of a vendor’s partners will generate 80% of the indirect sale channel’s revenue.
However, as much as partners can and do have an incredibly positive impact on business, if the relationship between a channel partner and a company isn’t successful, the experience can cost companies valuable time and money.
This is where partner relationship management (PRM) comes in.
Focusing on PRM can see your business reap the full potential of your channel partners by strengthening those connections, reducing complexity, and helping to achieve the revenue goals your stakeholders want.
We’ve compiled a list of five key strategies to equip you with all the tools you need to boost your channel partner relationships to the next level.
The best way to empower your partners is to tap into their unique strengths. Every partner relationship is going to be different, each partner will have individual qualities that you can utilise to harness an optimum outcome. Not only will focusing on their strengths allow you to get better results, but it will also empower and uplift your partners as they will be maximising their capabilities.
Find out how your partners communicate, their operations, and how they present themselves. Identify their weaknesses as well as their strengths. Learn their internal business processes so you can better understand how to channel your energy into enhancing them, thereby better aligning your mutual business goals.
Choosing the right partner is also an integral part of this. Your relationship can only really bloom if you have shared ambitions. Make sure you carefully consider your business goals when selecting the kind of partner you want.
It’s important to provide a fast, flexible response to partners. Companies often plan and launch a partner programme that promises to deliver the necessary support, only to lose momentum along the way.
Ensuring that you maintain a prolonged commitment to the programme as it progresses allows for long-lasting partner relationships, meaning your sales will only continue to rise over time.
A long-term partnership that delivers value requires adding value to it first, dedicating the right level of time, money and resources to building profitable, enduring partnerships. A study from technology consulting service the Aberdeen Group showed that properly implemented platforms and processes that support channel partners result in 13% more sales reps achieving their quotas, and 28% shorter sales cycles.
This is also an important factor in preventing partner churn, which can have an impact on the time it takes to build up momentum with generating sales. Suitable PRM software can streamline the selling process by establishing connections between partners and the resources they require all in one place, rather than through multiple different avenues such as phone calls, emails, and websites.
By providing partners with easily accessible resources, they will be more equipped and prepared to represent your company, making for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Customers and buyers will likely be drawn to salespeople who are confident and self-assured in what they’re talking about, which comes naturally with well-executed PRM. Particularly with products and services that are on the more technical side, channel partners are expected to be experts on the particular subject area so they can connect with customers and pitch enthusiastically and excitedly.
Not only will this appeal to your end-users, but it will breed self-confidence in your partners and establish a deeper level of trust and gratitude between you.
When your partner relationships are booming and your customers are working well with you, they will see an integrated, effective team dedicated to delivering their needs.
The most important tip for successful PRM: provide proper training. Not only will this enable partners to bring value to your end-users, but it will also help partners to keep up with the employee churn by offering on-demand online training to help them within their roles.
Training offers a constant touch-point and an additional communication channel, which is an invaluable tool for supporting partners. These systems and tools help to engage partners to realise your market’s full potential, providing a great solution for generating sales and boosting revenue.
Creating the right platform is crucial to streamlining the training process, both for you and your partners. Outsourcing this solution can be a great way to enable a further understanding of how the goals and objectives of your business and your partners align.
Training directly affects PRM – without suitable training, your channel partners won’t be able to properly execute their work. Channel partner training provides:
- Trust: Trust is a crucial part of any relationship, and suppliers have to put in a huge amount of trust in vendors to be sure their brand is being represented in the way that they want. By providing training, you’re crafting a fast-track route to securing this loyalty and building a better relationship.
- Faster onboarding and sales: The faster you can supply the necessary training to distributors and resellers, the faster they can start selling your product or service.
- Unified business objectives: Training provides clarity – detailing your success metrics and incentives through training means sharing the vision for the company, defining your business goals, and mapping out the driving forces behind your brand. This allows partners to align their business objectives with their suppliers.
With formalised training, time and care, your PRM will not only strengthen your existing relationships but will pave the way for future partners to become entirely immersed in your brand.
Ultimately, successful partner relationships are the cornerstone of successful business, but can only really boom with the right support and education. The more energy you put into making this the focus, the more your channel partners will be able to drive your business forward.
Want to learn more about channel sales? Read our free, comprehensive guide today to discover everything you need to know about channel sales.
Interested in developing a channel partner training programme? Click here to learn how you can forge long-lasting partner relationships that will see your sales soar.