It was the best of times – it was the worst of times…and it was a typical corporate scenario. Two tech companies knew it was time to re-do their Partner Portal. They KNEW it was time for a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solution that could automate processes, optimize partner performance, amplify their marketing reach through their partners – and accelerate their indirect sales. And yet, both sites had languished for years, suffering through a lack of visibility into their partner’s performance, an inability to see which marketing campaigns partners were using, and tolerating dated content due to long, convoluted process to update content for lack of contemporary, WYSIWYG Content Management Systems.
With the decision made to transform their partner’s experience, however, their paths diverged. One team, failed to bring IT into the buying process in the very beginning. There was yelling, and stonewalling and a refusal to consider the turnkey SaaS cloud solution the sales and marketing team so desperately wanted to transform their partner business.
The other team, brought IT in right from the get go. They made sure the right information was brought to the table up front, to give their IT teams confidence in the solutions their team was looking at. And today, they’ve just launched a world-class, global partner portal in XX languages and XX countries that services thousands of partners worldwide.
These two companies are competitors and go head to head every day in the market – including for attracting and retaining the best, most successful partners to do business with them. With a brand new portal that is transforming their partner’s experience: the end of the story is still writing itself – but who’ll win in the end looks pretty clear.
Fortunately, this doesn’t need to be your company’s tale. In today’s world of bi-modal IT, IT teams are struggling to balance business integrity while at the same time evaluating and implementing new technologies demanded -- by marketing and other business functions. In this new webinar featuring Gartner Research Director and PRM Analyst Ilona Hanson (and me), learn the five simple questions sales and marketing teams need to ask up front, to make the process of getting their IT partners onboard with the PRM technology purchase – and ensure their company will have a better story to tell:
What are “commercially available” PRM applications?
In the market today, homegrown portals have gone by the wayside, as more robust, out-of-the-box solutions ease the implementation process and speed time to market. Sales and marketers will be wise to have already explored the landscape of competitive options to give IT faith they’ve explored the pros and cons of the key players and have a formed point of view on why the solution they’re recommending is the best fit for their company’s needs.
What are the benefits of PRM solutions?
PRM solutions allow you to automate and optimize your interaction with your partners. You save time, relieve the administration burden of your processes and improve collaboration – regardless of language and location. Make sure you can clearly articulate the value of a PRM to your IT team from your perspective and the perspective of your partners and prioritize the functions that are important to you.
Is the competition using the technology?
- In today’s competitive market, the challenge isn’t finding just any partner, it’s in finding the right partner. If your channel team and program aren’t giving top-notch partners the experience they want, you can bet someone else will. While IT teams get endless requests to evaluate technologies, it’s critical to take a look at what the competition is and isn’t using to enhance PX (Partner Experience.) If you’re the first in your space to use a PRM, you’ll be able to use it as a competitive advantage, automate your processes and free up your team to spend more time selling. If your competition is ahead, make sure you find out what your partners find most valuable, so your request to IT already focuses on the most important functions.
Does this solution meet the needs of channel sales management and the partners
Most of us are under tremendous pressure to make decisions and implement fast. But ensuring you take the time to get input from your internal and external stakeholders is critical. The time you spend up front on understanding demands and prioritizing them and identifying which legacy systems are already in use and may need to be replaced or incorporated, will more than pay back in a smooth implementation, and ultimately a solution that best meets your organization’s needs.
What technology considerations are important?
Without question, this is one of the key questions. While the value of a SaaS versus an on premise or colocation solution is clear, your IT team will want to understand how the SaaS solution you’re looking at integrates with your company’s business systems. Everything you can do up front to calm the alphabet soup of your IT environment will pay off: make it easy to see how the PRM connects to POS, ERP and CRM solutions; what kind of APIs are available to integrate with legacy systems; how data flows and synchs, and whether the solution has passed BURP security testing. This will go miles in assuring IT that you are partners with them in wanting to find solutions that not only meet your needs from a functional standpoint, but also integrate with your network in a way that doesn’t cause more harm than good.
Are you getting ready to talk to your IT team about a PRM solution? Watch this webinar to help give your story a better ending.