The right PRM tool has several key features that make it an essential part of the indirect sales process. Here is a quick list:
- Partner onboarding
- Supports deal registration through a partner portal
- Channel enablement and financials management
- System of record
- Customization for partners
- Business analytics
Onboarding partners is debatably one of the most onerous parts of getting a partnership going. A good PRM tool uses a KanBan process to help manage the flow of onboarding steps. If you’ve never heard of KanBan, it was a process originally created for Japanese manufacturing. Think of an assembly line with a card over each station indicating what precise steps happen at each point. In the modern world, this is the way companies can manage an onboarding flow to cover anything from qualification, contracts, product training, to system integration. It can be a long process, and the use of a well-engineered partner portal can help alleviate constraints.
Organizing large sales forces can be challenging. Markets are vast, and the potential for toes to be stepped on is always there. Deal registration using PRM software serves a number of functions:
(1) Lead distribution: create a point in time where a partner can claim a potential deal for a certain period.
(2) Create a deal approval protocol for a company to approve/deny.
(3) Generate visibility over partner activity and pipelines.
In Outwork, when a deal is registered, it automatically creates a lead in your Salesforce dashboard. A great sales organization is not only judged by generating results, but also for providing accurate guidance. Historically, it has been difficult for management to gain visibility over their partner network; the right PRM software helps alleviate that to increase reporting accuracy.
Channel Enablement & Financials Management
PRMs can serve as a powerful communication vehicle to manage a large partner network. PRM software can allow you to manage MDF (marketing development funds) programs, spiffs, and commissions. PRMs serve as the primary repository of documents/content to support a partner. The idea is to make supporting partners scalable, which ultimately means communication has to become more efficient. The idea is to make your partner self-sufficient by providing them with the right tools. This is where you can keep your partners up-to-date and top-of-mind on every program and product you are driving.
System of Record
A PRM acts as a database where you can find everything you need to know about your partners. In that sense, it acts just like CRM does, but it automates the process of pulling data from your partner. Salesforce Communities performs a similar operation, but there is an increasing cost as the number of partnerships is increased. Outwork enables unlimited partnerships under a fixed pricing structure.
Some partners need varying amounts of customization. Whether at the onboarding/integration phase or for ongoing account management reqs, PRM is intended to combine these requirements to a singular place to drive maximum efficiency. Outwork combines a document repository along with a basic task management interface to help consolidate a complex mass of cloud storage services mixed with a third-party KanBan app.
With Outwork’s PRM, we have implemented a partner scoring system so you can get visibility over which partners are performing. This allows management to determine where they can comfortably deploy resources. We’ve often found that organizations deploy a disproportionate amount of their budgets on direct sales relative to the amount of revenue generated on indirect. Without careful monitoring of the progress of indirect sales, it is hard to know how valuable it can actually be.
These are the basics of PRM software. PRM tools can have subtle variances in functionality, system compatibility and pricing. Outwork’s PRM focuses exclusively on interfacing with Salesforce. Even the reporting metrics are pushed to Salesforce so that management can gain visibility over the performance of indirect sales channels within their normal dashboard. If you have questions about indirect sales channel management, or how you can make a PRM work in conjunction with your CRM, please don’t hesitate to reach out.