PRM Best Practice: Providing Service & Support IV


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In order to maintain data quality in your database and improve the targeting and quality of your communication, offer partners access and editing rights to their profile data so that they can maintain themselves. Make this easily accessible to them from the homepage or as part of the navigation.

Lead Management

Coupling your marketing, lead generation and sales activities with automated lead distribution via the portal streamlines the process and delivers leads directly to the channel sales people best placed to close them. Additionally, if you provide a means for partners to update lead status themselves online, they can keep you up to date and let you know when sales are worn or lost. This also ensures that you can monitor performance and ensure that closers receive more leads.

Deal Registration

Essentially, lead management in reverse, deal registration capabilities allow partners to register their own sales leads via your portal in exchange for some benefit or reward. If their leads can be seamlessly deposited into your integrated sales pipeline in CRM via PRM and managed online in exactly the same way as your own leads, the process is streamlined, kept constantly up to date and partners can be rewarded for deals upon closure.

Online Learning and Certification

Face to face sales and marketing training is typically not practicable or cost effective these days but in its wake has been left a void. Some vendors have made attempts to stretch legacy internal learning management systems to support online partner training but this presents a number of problems not least the creation of yet another portal for partners to use and one more database to keep up to date. Leading partner portals integrate e-learning with online testing and certification management to deliver a full range of partner training programs including technical and pre-sales and manage the entire process from content management through delivery and the management of complex accreditation mapping and scoring. This ensures that partners need only log in to one portal and all of their information is maintained up to date within the same database.

Marketing Tools and Management of Marketing Funding

Many portals offer partners the opportunity to download marketing materials, brochures and presentations and a number of software or services companies have in recent years offered plug-ins to facilitate online customized or co-branded marketing material creation. Best practice partner portals integrate all of these capabilities but additionally they facilitate full marketing collaboration between vendor and partner. This can include the facility to accrue and manage MDF accounts, claim funds and make redemptions against approved marketing campaigns all enabled by integration with the partner database and other enterprise systems at the back end.

Incentives Programs

Loyalty programs and incentive campaigns are another program component often outsourced to third parties by vendors. Again, this results in multiple portals or websites, manual processes, inconsistent data and poor partner satisfaction. High performance partner portals.

Special Bid Support

Another process renowned for being at times painfully slow, bureaucratic and inefficient is the process of managing special pricing or bid support. Leading portals automate this process by managing product catalogs and pricing, bid requests, hierarchical approvals and imposing roles and controls. This once again enables partners to use the portal as a one- stop-shop and enjoy a much more convenient, efficient and speedy experience in supporting you in business development.

Partner Locator

Link your corporate website to your relationship management system’s database to provide an intuitive partner locator function that enables customers to match their needs to the most appropriate partner. Complete the loop by notifying the relevant partner immediately by delivering a lead with the customer’s information to ensure that the opportunity is followed through. These “soft” leads are often less well qualified but much appreciated by partners.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mike Morgan
Mike has over 20 years of ICT, OA and CE channel sales and marketing management experience and is responsible for Relayware's global go-to-market strategy as well as the sales and marketing functions while overseeing the company's operations worldwide. Mike is recognized as one of the industry's leading experts in indirect go-to-market strategy best practice.


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