At the idea of setting up a PRM solution to manage and develop the indirect sales of my company, I was rather skeptical. I was doing very well with my Excel sheets. At least, I thought so…
“As a partnership manager for several companies in the software sector, I relied only on my Excel spreadsheet, my mailbox, and my phone. Having become a master of pivot tables, I was quite proud of my in-house management tools. Moreover, these tools were essential for me to record all the data relating to my partners (general information, their sales team, level of training, our common objectives, declared deals, etc.). Later, I understood it. I was actually very limited because I was wasting a considerable amount of time keeping my Excel sheets up to date. However, when you devote more time to administration than to developing your network of partners and creating value for your company, it becomes frustrating and feels like you are constantly underwater.
Fortunately, I had the chance to work for an independend software vendor who made the choice to invest in a PRM (Partner Relationship Management), in order to have, according to his words, “more visibility over his activity and a network of more efficient partners ”. Thanks to him, I discovered the PRM, and it was at this precise moment that I entered a new era, the rationalization of the indirect sales channel.
Here is how a PRM made me an enhanced partnership manager:
Greater visibility over the activity of my partners
Better support and monitoring of my partners
More opportunities converted into sales
More time available to recruit new partners
Genesis of Change: The Implementation of PRM
After great success with Excel, I was uncomfortable with the idea of changing the way I worked. The change can be scary, but in this case it was clearly worth it. As soon as the tool was in place, which was easily implemented, my doubts about the relevance and legitimacy of a PRM were indeed quickly dissipated. I immediately became aware of the contribution of SaaS software to centralize information with ease, keep it up to date, and share it with my team. More importantly, I now have an analytical tool which quickly became essential in helping me make better decisions and seamlessly develop the network of partners for my company.
As for the partners, I feared their reluctance to join the tool, but the feedback was more than positive. Thanks to the PRM, we finally all have the same vision. When declaring a deal, my partner is assured that it will be secured for him, effectively eliminating any risk of conflict with other partners or our sales teams. In addition, I quickly realized how much a PRM solution provided a real competitive advantage. It boosted the engagement of my partners and increased my chances of working with the best of them.
A PRM Solution Simplifies Partner Onboarding
The deployment of the PRM tool allowed me to structure the onboarding of my partners, which was not the case before. Thus, when I recruit a new candidate, I no longer miss any important steps. My partner submits their Reseller Agreement and a signed NDA on the portal. He shares his top accounts with me so we can target them together, and I am able to follow each step of the onboarding until my partner is ready to sell. I can then act accordingly.
A PRM Facilitates the Training and Certification of Partners
My partners are an extension of our internal sales force. Therefore, they also require the same level of training. Before, training my partners monopolized a lot of time in meetings and travel, and therefore money. A PRM allows me to make my online certified training available to partners with videos, quizzes, and articles, which they can view at any time. Of course, I still do have to travel some, but offering e-learning possibilities keeps it at a minimum. Now I have more time freed up to find and recruit more partners and manage international partnerships. During a phase of business expansion, the online training in the PRM is an absolute necessity.
Another major advantage is being able to know immediately which partners have been trained so I quickly detect the training needs of each sales partner. With a PRM’s training capabilities, partners' skills development is accelerated, and time is saved considerably.
A PRM Solution Makes Lead Distribution Easier
All (good) partnership managers could tell you, one of the most important factors in indirect selling is lead distribution to “prime the pump” of a good partnership. Before obtaining qualified deals from your partners, it is essential to assign leads and support your partners in closing deals, until they become fully autonomous. From experience, I know that partners that are “let loose in nature” without support are doomed to failure.
The idea is to identify the right partner profile to give yourself the best chance of making the sale. Before setting up a PRM, I used complicated processes and lengthy spreadsheets, and it took time to identify the right partner profile for a lead.
Today, the performance indicators provided by my PRM solution allow me to distribute the right leads to the right partners. Thus, the analysis of KPIs depict:
Conversion rate of leads into deals
Acceptance / rejection rate of assigned leads
Average conversion time of a lead into a deal
It shows me data on the past performance of my partners, which helps me build win-win relationships! I take every lead generated by our marketing events and assign them to the most qualified partner. This real advantage allows us to increase the performance, satisfaction, and motivation of our partners.
Declaration and Follow-Up of Deals
As an essential feature of the PRM and one of the most important, is the possibility for my partners to register deals. Here is how it works: When registering a deal, I am notified by email and evaluate the details of the deal. If it is interesting, I validate it and lock it in for two months for my partner. I avoid channel conflict, and I guarantee the satisfaction of my partner (during this period, the deal is closed to internal sales and other partners). If at the end of the 60 days no action is taken, I contact my partner to understand what is happening. In the event that the deal cannot be closed, I remove the exclusivity of the deal from him.
Another feature of the PRM, which is practical in my daily life as a partnership manager, is the pipeline of opportunities with a pipeline view. It allows me to follow each current deal as it’s being converted into a sale. When a deal is lagging behind, I add a note. My partners usually get the hint, and the deal gets moving quicker. Managing all this in Excel, was very complicated, if not impossible!
Content Sharing from a Unified Platform
No more added channels needed to exchange information with partners. No more constant contact, “Franck, can you can send me the latest document, please?” or always having to send everyone new documents all the time. A PRM allows me to put a whole library of documents online (marketing, contracts, brochures) for my partners and automatically share based on certain criteria (geographic, level of confidentiality, partner types). This allows my partners to access the content they need at any time. It is an intelligent sharing process to support partners and facilitate the pre-sales cycle!
Benefits of My PRM Solution in a Few Lines
The PRM enabled me to:
Industrialize my indirect sales strategy
Recruit and onboard more partners
Optimize management of my relationship with my partners
From now on, I no longer waste time managing administrative duties in Excel, and I can now direct that energy towards developing and growing my company!”
Thanks to Franck B. for this feedback!
100% user-friendly, Kiflo’s PRM provides partnership managers and channel managers with essential features to industrialize their indirect sales processes. Thanks to Kiflo’s PRM solution, you have the right tool to sell more, sell better, and succeed in your indirect sales strategies and your objectives.