16. August 2017
All the temptations of cheap software, are understandable. Five of them nearly always make the “Gotcha List” and leave buyers realizing that cheap is often the highest price to pay – and which is certainly the case with Partner Relationship Management software. If you see yourself in the list below, take heed to ensure your organization ultimately ends up with a solution that has the functionality and flexibility to truly power your business and scale as you scale.
1. “This will do for now as a bit of quick hack -- we’ll refactor later.”
- In the majority of cases, the reality is that the choice you make at the beginning, is often what you’re stuck with -- for years. It’s rare that organizations have the intestinal fortitude to go back and start all over again.
- When it comes to PRM, that’s a tremendous risk to take when it comes to both the financial strength of your partner program and your ability to attract and retain the best partners. Consider these stats – Impartner PRM customers report an average revenue increase of 31 percent in the first year of use alone. And, leading research shows that Partner Portals are important to a full 86% percent of partners when considering vendors. Can you afford to have your competitors outperforming you on revenue, or attracting and retaining the best partners because their partner experience outperforms yours. You need to build a world-class Partner Portal out of the gate to help you shine from day one, or you risk being behind – for years.
2. “How much better can it be, really – both solutions seem to do the same thing.”
- Admittedly, finding out what’s beyond a check box is tough – but the effort is critical. A key example would be two PRMs which both tout that they, “Synch with Salesforce CRM.” However, one might batch synch every 15 minutes, and one might synch continually in real time, which is critical for deal registration and ensuring there is no risk of channel conflict. No vendor can afford having one partner lose a deal to another because of synching issues: channel conflict is the No. 1 reason partners leave partner programs. Or, you may find an inability to integrate and MDF solution with a CRM, requiring users to enter data into two places to be able to fully track ROI – a task few are willing to do. Your inexpensive, non-integratible MDF solution, will prove to be a complete waste of money and not just a good deal.
- Taking time to understand the depth of the functional of “what’s behind the box check” is one of the most critical things you can do. It’s the only way to ensure you don’t buy a solution with limited functionality or an inability to integrate which ultimately cause liabilities for your business and silos of data that leave you with a lack of visibility across your organization.
3. “This company is small, and doesn’t have any overhead, so they’re cheaper – it won’t have any impact on our experience.”
- As an enterprise, you need to ensure you are buying a solution that has a track record of success with clients and financial stability, that they can provide the depth of service you need to meet the demands of your company across multiple time zones, and they have the research and development strength to ensure there is a strong roadmap for enhancing the solution you’ve invested in. If you are like most organizations, 75 percent or more of your revenue goes through your channel, and your PRM solution powers its growth. Can you afford to risk your channel with a software vendor who doesn’t have the organizational strength to support you 24/7, continually scale your solution as you scale.
4. “These guys can build any functionality with an off-shore developer – and that’s why they’re cheaper.”
- One-time solutions are potentially great the day they are built and may cost less at the outset. However, they are typically single-tenant solutions that cannot be updated in mass, and immediately begin aging. No one is looking out for the roadmap and/or ensuring that their ability to integrate with your CRM or other point solutions is updated as those solutions are updated – and your integrations can and will fail quickly. To be updated, you will need to go back to your vendor, and they will need to go back to their developers, often many time zones away, to update your solution. It’s costly and time consuming. Choosing a software solution that is truly a platform, will ensure that your channel teams and your IT teams can rest well, knowing that someone is making sure they are continually updating and improving – so those teams don’t have to worry about it. It’s the true promise of a SaaS solution.
5. “I can’t modify the functionality of the inexpensive platform I’m looking at with the “secret sauce” that differentiates my partner program for others and I’ll look exactly like everyone else -- but it’s cheap so it’s good enough.”
- With PRM, your losses will outweigh your spend nearly instantly, here’s why.
You are going to look the same and have the same functionality as all your competitors. The value in your partner program and your partner portal is not just the looks, it’s the process. The way YOU configure YOUR deal registration and MDF programs are what makes your program more enticing that the next guy and allows you to differentiate. Sure, general best practices are built into many solutions, but if you don’t have a tool that allows you to configure the deal registration process the way yours runs – you will have EXACTLY the same program as the next guy and you won’t be differentiated and it will be tough to capture mindshare. The tool is driving your process, versus the other way around. Plus, many technologies have THEIR name in your URL – so you’re giving them marketing power and diluting YOUR brand.
- Cheap and generic may feel good in the short-term, but your competitors aren’t doing “good enough.” The PRM market is on fire, and in a competitive landscape where you and your competitors are competing for the same partners, you can’t afford to be up and running in anything less than a world-class portal. In three to six months, you’ll be racing to catch up with a portal that offers a differentiated value – and you’re already behind.
If you see yourself in this list, take heart and take a demo with Impartner. We’ll show you how Impartner’s powerful PRM platform helps our customers continually optimize and scale their channel in a way that makes cheaper alternatives that can’t deliver the same results - much more expensive.