Your company is now convinced that channel automation is a key to partner success. And with careful considerations and a well-defined plan, you have implemented what you think is the best Partner Relationship Management (PRM) platform available. This is going to take the operational efficiency of partner management up a notch for you. The platform has rich functionality, an intuitive user interface and is easily configurable in line with your business processes. Not to mention those of your partners/users. So, what’s the next step?
To get every benefit from your investment, it’s crucial to ensure the PRM platform gets adopted and fully leveraged post-go-live. After all, if users do not accept the new system, it will fail despite all its efficiencies. So, how do you drive PRM Adoption and Utilization?
In today’s digital era, ‘content is king,’ and everything begins with a content strategy. Creating and having engaging, relevant, and meaningful content available on the PRM will attract partners to return more. The digital assets library, learning, training and enablement collateral should be kept up to date with content that addresses the latest industry trends, your product capabilities and meets your partners’ needs for sales success and deployment success. Other ‘attractive’ content includes accurate real-time data, relevant news, and notifications – such as new promotions you plan to offer.
Partners will utilize a PRM system if it sets the sales motion, by providing the sales methodology that guides the sales process from prospecting to closing. The sales methodology should focus on different aspects of a customer’s experience, such as specific pain points. Include sales playbooks that are aligned to your methodology within the PRM to help partners generate leads and provide the necessary support that would progress leads or opportunities until they are successfully closed.
Supporting partner’s enablement activities throughout the partner’s lifecycle is also an effective way of driving PRM adoption. From the point when partners sign the partner agreement and onboard the PRM system with login access, partners should be empowered by the system to jump-start the partnership and start selling. As the partnership matures and partner’s needs change, the PRM should continue to be their go-to platform for the support and information they are looking for.
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The explosion of digital technologies and content has lead to new behaviors. People no longer passively wait for information or support in order to get things done. To drive PRM adoption and utilization, companies should think about what partners need in every phase of the partner and sales lifecycle. Thereby enabling partners to self-serve to their requirements. By doing so, you’ll make your company best-in-class for ease of doing business with.
Besides enabling partners to self-serve to the content and tools they need, a PRM platform should enable 2-way interactions between the company and your partners. Your PRM should be an intuitive, welcoming and easy to use “Digital Workplace”. It’s easier to achieve this, for example, when your PRM supports multiple languages. Or when partners are given the platform to share their thoughts, ideas, and feedback. If they feel they are being heard, they are more likely to utilize the platform. But note, the keywords are ‘being heard.’ The company needs to show that they care about what partners have to say and to act on them.
To drive PRM adoption and utilization, it is important to know what partners do when they login. Understand the functionalities and content that partners are accessing when they use the PRM by partner persona, partner type, and partner tier. Create more of the kind of content that partners are accessing and ensure the functionalities that partners are using remain robust. Get feedback from partners regularly on what they like or where they have issues on the PRM system. This will tell you whether it is accomplishing its purpose or not.
Even for the most intuitive PRM platform, training should be conducted for both internal users and partners on how best to use the platform. Make the training a part of the employee’s and partner’s onboarding process. Take them through the system with hands-on training and use cases. Only when users experience the platform, will they be comfortable to start using it. Create training videos, guided tours, and cheat sheets that new users can reference to go about using it.
In summary, as you plan the implementation and deployment of a PRM platform, develop the adoption strategy and a sustainable plan that will drive continuous utilization.