By Indrajit Sen, Director, Sales Cloud Product Management, Oracle
More than 75% of world trade flows through indirect channels, according to research from a January 2019 Forrester blog post, "What I See Coming for the Channel in 2019" by Jay McBain, Principal Analyst of Channel Partnerships & Alliances.
If your organization has a network of partners reselling your products and solutions, you’ve likely heard of or operated under the rule that 20% of partners generate 80% of sales. However, as the channel’s fiscal impact and influence continues to grow, McBain believes that “we are about to see an influx of investment in and attention on indirect sales by firms in all industries.”
The size of companies’ networks can vary significantly—from tens to thousands of partners. Despite their size, vendors of all sizes must rethink their approach to partner management and engagement, especially as partner networks evolve and channel sales objectives and expectations increase. Couple this with the fact that 41% of senior executives responsible for partner relationships are not happy with their partner management process.
In the Experience Economy, channel leaders must question whether they’re giving partners everything they need to be successful throughout the entire customer lifecycle—including marketing, sales, and service. This is where an innovative partner relationship management (PRM) platform plays a critical role.
Not all PRMs are Created Equal
At the foundational level, PRM is designed to integrate everything your partner community needs to sell your products and services. It includes everything from on-boarding, to planning and enablement, as well as co-selling and co-marketing resources and content. PRM also gives partners tools for nurturing opportunities and closing deals fast. However, most PRM systems on the market are unwieldy and don’t consider new and ever-evolving user expectations.
Like your direct sales team, your channel partners expect more from the tools and systems you provide. They're managing relationships with several other vendors at one time, so you must focus first and foremost on creating a superior experience for them. What does a great partner experience entail? A few key best practices rise to the top:
While your PRM should address all these requirements, not all systems are created equal. In the Experience Economy, partners’ experience with your brand should hold the same weight as your customers. That means you must ensure that you’re understanding their needs and providing them with the tools and resources they need to have an excellent experience.
4 Ways Innovative PRM Augments the Partner Experience
Think for a second about your end-customers’ behaviors and expectations. Are they largely using mobile devices to access information? Do they expect your brand to deliver timely and relevant messages through their preferred channels? Is personalization table stakes for winning their time and attention? Your answers are likely very similar for your partners.
These behaviors and expectations have set new standards for PRM. A best-in-class solution helps you create an easy-to-use experience that is tailored to your brand but customized to the activities and tasks your partners care about most. Other critical capabilities include:
Other critical capabilities include;
When you meet these four criteria, you’re setting a powerful foundation for the partner experience; ultimately, leading to improved partner satisfaction and loyalty, increased channel sales and revenue, and greater insight into partner performance. Oracle PRM provides the stellar user experience needed to drive channel success. Integration with key data sources, including marketing, sales, service, and even back-office systems like ERP, help create a 360-degree view of your business—including your channel. Learn how Oracle can help you optimize partner relationships, performance, loyalty, and experience.