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Hold Onto Your Partner!

Guest Author
Judy Brocato

“Would Beats by Dre – pay $20K for us to say that they are great?”

Recording costs for this whole song could all be paid by Beats by Dre…”

Unbeknownst to Dr. Dre, another billboard artist had published a song that inadvertently promoted his headphones. AJR may not be the most popular band, but on Spotify alone, they have a monthly following of 6.7 Million listeners.   Not all of us have the fame or luxury like Dr. Dre where random artists are popularizing our products, so we have to think more strategically on our methods and channels we use to sell our services.

Think Differently: Partners First
Believe it or not, your partner strategy and investment in partner tools may be even more important than your internal direct-sales strategy. Your internal sales team works for you. Your partners don’t. Internal sales are incentivized by your company and although it would be great if you had the best tools to enable them to optimize sales, they will find a way to sell regardless of your modern tools; albeit maybe not optimizing your potential.

Partners are different. In most industries, if you don’t make it easy for them to sell your products or services, then they have alternatives and may be promoting your competitors or leave you altogether.

Let me provide a brief explanation of how Partner Relationship Management (PRM) can work for you; to not only sell for you but also add more value than you would ever have known was possible.  Let’s start with planning.

Partner Planning
What do you know about your partners? Do you even know who they are? Do you know exactly how valuable your partners are? How likely are you to lose your partners to competitors? You first want to understand what you already have and where you want to go.

What type of Partners do you already have? Create a list your Partner Types and Channels. i.e.  Agents, Branding, Consultants, Contractors, Delivery, Fulfillment, Field Service, Lead Generators, Marketing, Resellers.

Once you have figured out your partner types, you want to consider the following for each type:

  1. Do you have a partner portal for your Channel Partners to log into to access important information, place orders, send or accept leads?
  2. How do you track success of each partner and partner type?
  3. Do you have a unique business plan for each partner or each partner type?
  4. How do you rank partners? Do you assess and score them?
  5. Do you promote top partners and alternatively provide additional support to new or under-performers?
  6. How do you train partners, standardize communication, and track certifications?
  7. How do you make it easy to co-brand your content with your partner’s services? 
  8. Does your co-branding promote your business and make your partner look good? Can you share development funds and campaigns?
  9. Can you perform SWOT analysis at a partner or at their customer level?
  10. If your partners are required to register their deals, how is deal registration tracked?
  11. Are all of your customer orders, information, customer data seamlessly integrated into your back-end systems?

Answering these questions and prioritizing the key areas that fit to your overall business objectives will guide your partner plan and strategy. Each question above is an opportunity for your improvement. Whether you already have a partner program in place or are in the beginning stages, there is so much opportunity for growth and improvement when you have the right tools to enable your strategy.

I highly recommend reviewing a demo of what PRM capabilities are available to you and understanding the potential financial impact these solutions can provide to your organization.  Making it easy for your partners to work for you promotes your business and makes them look good. The softer benefits of loyalty, branding, partner and employee satisfaction are additional music to the ears.

Dr. Dre may not be tracking the benefits from his unknown “partner’s” viral promotion, but maybe he should. Perhaps he could track the type of revenue attributed to these few AJR fans and see how to capitalize more on this channel should sales ever slump. At $200-$350 a pair, it wouldn’t take long to pay off AJR’s recording costs. As in the words of the teenage AJR fan in my household (who owns a pair of Beats-by-Dre), “I’m just sayin’.”

PRM is in my Top 3 Top Oracle Cloud Add-ons that add value to the business as the pay-off from the benefits greatly exceed the low licensing costs.  My KPI list below shows a sampling of benefit areas typically improved with a PRM solution.
•    Margins – Up-sell & Cross-sell
•    Win ratios
•    Partner satisfaction rates
•    Partner training time
•    Program enrollment rates
•    C-SAT Scores
•    Conversion rates (Lead/Opp)
•    Increased sales efficiency
•    Increased time-to-market
•    MDF optimization rates
•    Loyalty
•    Error rates
•    Data quality error rates

This post originally appeared on Judy’s CX Business Value Blog. It is being published here with permission from the author.

 

 

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