8 critical tips for frictionless business partner relationships
If you’ve ever scuffed your shoes along the floor, skied down an icy slope, or been married, then you’ve experienced friction. Friction is the resistance that occurs when two objects move against one another. If a machine is not well oiled, its performance can be substantially compromised—and friction can be as big a drag on business performance as it is in all other situations.
Like a machine, a company runs best when friction is minimized to enable a smooth path of engagement for both customers and partners alike. Partner relationship management (PRM) software is a highly effective solution for creating a frictionless partner experience.
PRM software provides an efficient central platform for onboarding, training, and communicating with individual partners. And when coupled with business intelligence (BI) applications, PRM software provides an integrated and powerfully insightful solution.
Here are the key ways PRM software integrated with BI solutions reduces friction:
1. Streamlining onboarding
A frictionless business sales partnership begins with onboarding. PRM software can streamline the time it takes to introduce the sales and management teams of new channel partners to ensure a smooth, consistent kickoff. An efficient process not only frees internal resources for other important tasks, but also helps establish a trusted partnership from the get go.
2. Promoting quicker growth for partners
After onboarding, PRM software can help integrate new sales partners firmly into the network. It enables easy and effective mass communication to deliver the right information to each partner at the right time—information tailored to each partner’s individual needs. This means each partner is quickly brought up to speed regarding what is required to be successful.
3. Furthering partner development
PRM software provides tools for creating, launching, and managing a training channel that includes all the continued learning and certification tools and programs required to effectively enhance partner development. This not only improves the partners’ performance, it promotes their product understanding and thereby boosts their sales confidence.
4. Providing real-time insights and reporting
One of the greatest benefits of PRM is that it enables real-time feedback from channel partners. This enhanced two-way communication provides valuable insights into the needs and wants of end customers so a business can react with speed to changes within the market. Plus, the quick feedback and response loops further increase partner satisfaction.
5. Improving oversight
The important benefits of BI solutions are distinctly seen in the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of critical business information. With BI integrated into the PRM system, companies gain fast, up-to-date reports into the business potential of a partner. Advanced BI solutions, such as ChannelShaper® from Aximpro, provide a competitive advantage by delivering insights into the partner ecosystem. This reveals the growth potential within both existing and new partners and can be used to help further develop the partner strategy.
6. Supporting effective marketing
Armed with improved oversight, companies can make smart decisions on the marketing budget. Using economies of scale, all partners are promptly provided with the best materials available. Yet, with BI analysis, this can also be highly targeted, so each individual group receives material exactly suited for their needs and abilities. This leaves a company in control of the messaging while still providing partners with the tools they need to be successful. Ultimately, this is about increasing a company’s share of wallet.
7. Inspiring partner performance
PRM can also support partner incentive initiatives. Based on collected partner information, “gamification” can be used in relation to specific products and inspire the partner sales force to achieve a greater turnover. People are inherently playful and competitive. Gamification uses this to emotionally stimulate users, building a strong link to the partner’s sales force and keeping users involved and invested in a sales program.
Other incentives can also be bound into this, for example, by linking performance to a bonus points system payable through individualized credit cards, such as those available as part of the Aximpro Credit Card system.
8. Building loyalty
Communication is key to any successful partnership. Through its multifaceted capabilities, a PRM system ensures that leading partners receive the targeted, dedicated attention they deserve, while developing partners are respectively included in relevant communications and promotions. This encourages long-term, valuable relationships aimed at market share growth to the benefit of all sides. As the performance of the partnership improves, the relationship between the two parties continually deepens.
In the end, a business partnership must deliver satisfaction to both sides. If friction exists, it detracts from performance and can cause a relationship to overheat and even break. PRM helps companies avoid this by providing effective and efficient communication as an integral part of the relationship, as well as delivering the resources partners need to do business.
With a properly configured and deployed PRM solution, businesses can significantly enhance partner satisfaction as well as their own reputation, which in the end serves to foster the growth potential of the partner base.
If you need further information concerning Partner Relationship Management solutions, reach out to Aximpro. We are pleased to share our experience with you and help your partner relationships become smooth and frictionless.