PRM SOFTWARE AS POWERFUL AS YOU NEED IT TO BE. Partner Relationship Management: A Success Guide for Emerging Growth Companies

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1 PRM SOFTWARE AS POWERFUL AS YOU NEED IT TO BE Partner Relationship Management: A Success Guide for Emerging Growth Companies

2 Table of contents Partner Relationship Management for Emerging Growth Companies... 3 Engagement: The fuel that powers channel performance... 3 Partner Relationship Management: A Close Look... 4 New Partner Ramp-Up... 5 New Hire Ramp-Up... 5 Training and Certification Management... 6 Marketing and Communications Support... 6 New Product Introductions... 7 Sales Productivity Tools... 7 A PRM System Benefits Both Sides of the Partnership... 8 The Channel Performance Blueprint Program... 8

3 Partner Relationship Management for Emerging Growth Companies Partner relationship management (PRM) is a business term used to describe the methodologies and strategies for optimizing relationships between any company and its channel partners. Emerging growth companies (annual gross revenues less than $1 billion) in particular, which need to scale quickly, are turning to cloud-based PRM solutions to customize, refine and streamline partner support business processes. These solutions include key tools for onboarding new channel partners and then supporting them on a daily basis with all the resources they need to be successful. At its core, a PRM system is a portal through which your channel partners access all the resources they need to be effective in their role selling your products and services. Oftentimes, channel partners have the option to sell products and services from multiple, competing companies. We call this a noncaptive channel. How can your company stand out in such a crowded landscape? LogicBay has developed a visual representation of how the needs of vendors and manufacturers change over time (see figure). Companies in the emerging growth quadrant have a common set of priorities when it comes to channel performance. Typically, these priorities include: Ramping up new partners efficiently and easily. Ramping up and certifying the people who work for new partners as quickly and efficiently as possible. Providing all content and tools needed by the new partner. Putting a system in place that the new partner can use to register sales leads that can also be integrated with the partner s customer relationship management (CRM) system and your own CRM. These priorities are certainly not all the challenges that emerging growth companies face. However, in most cases, emerging growth companies aim to sign up, ramp up, and support new partners as efficiently as possible. Engagement: The fuel that powers channel performance To maximize results from your channel partner strategy, you must find ways to capture and maintain a significant piece of your partners mindshare. Mindshare refers to your company s portion of the limited thought, energy, and effort available to channel partners to dedicate to the brands they sell. To gain more of your partners mindshare you need to engage them frequently and effectively. Engagement level correlates to the positive or negative emotional attachment that your channel partners have towards your company. The higher the engagement level, the more chance of success you have. As the velocity of business continues to accelerate in most industries, the traditional methods of engaging with partners intermittent phone calls, site visits, and s are not the answer. These activities can be augmented or replaced with a framework for successful engagement that is based on the following core elements: Collaboration: Salespeople work best in an environment that is supportive and collegial. They want to know that they are heard and that there is healthy two-way communication. Marketing/communication: A successful sales effort requires timely and appropriate marketing collateral,

4 a clearly articulated value proposition, and an understanding of the market positioning of your product or service. It s critical to make marketing material co-branded for your channel partners easily available. Training and certification: You need a solution that will enable you to train your channel partners and monitor their progress and success. Remember, training is not an event; it is a process. As you launch updates, new products, and special offers, you will need a way to quickly and effectively communicate this to your partners so they can do the same for their prospects and customers. Performance Management: You need a system and process that allows you to track the performance of your channel partners. Also, your channel partners need feedback to know how they are performing against expectations. At first glance, this framework may appear complex and potentially expensive to implement. But ask yourself, how important is a highly engaged partner channel to the success of your business? Very important! In a recent Towers and Watson study which looked at more than 50 global companies, those companies that achieved high levels of employee engagement experienced a 19 percent operating income improvement over a 12-month period. On the other hand, companies with low levels of engagement had a 33 percent decline in operating income over the same 12-month period. Clearly, engagement, or mindshare, is something that you need to be very concerned with in your partner channel. As for the expense, today s cloud-based PRM solutions are surprisingly affordable. Leading PRM systems are mature systems that can be configured to meet most needs of most vendors or manufacturers. There is usually a reasonable, one-time configuration, branding and integration services fee, depending on the complexity of the implementation. Thereafter, the ongoing cost of some of the industryleading PRM solutions can be less than $10 per month per user. This is about the same price that Dropbox charges for its paid service, what Microsoft charges monthly for Office 365, and significantly lower than what most CRM vendors even Salesforce.com charge. Partner Relationship Management: A Close Look A PRM solution can help establish and maintain trust and open communication between you and your channel partners. PRM processes seek to identify and resolve conflict in every area of the channel partnership creating a more efficient system of conducting business. Advertising and marketing campaigns become more effective. Lead and sales management tools reduce channel conflicts and appropriately incentivize the sales team. Timely and frequent training successfully equip the channel to sell your product or service. New product launches result in higher sales with each new launch. These improvements enable your channel partners to better serve your customers, which drives higher levels of sales growth. PRM systems provide a robust support environment with proven workflows enabled by technology that allow a company to better organize and manage its channel relationships. This capability enables you to manage the entire channel partnership relationship from initial onboarding to partner relationship optimization or dissolution. A PRM system can be regarded as both a technology solution and a business philosophy. The core functional components and core business process support of PRM include:

5 1. New partner ramp-up 2. New hire ramp-up 3. Training and certification management 4. Marketing and communications support 5. New product introduction 6. Sales productivity tools In the following section, we ll look at each of these components in more detail. New Partner Ramp-Up As an emerging growth company, you may have very aggressive goals over the next few years for increasing your number of channel partners. A robust PRM system gives you the ability to ramp up new partners by providing the tools to quickly create customized, intelligent partner portals. In addition, the right PRM system effectively handles lead registration, which goes a long way toward reducing channel conflict. Partner portals mitigate channel conflict by enabling channel partners to register leads and you to approve the registered leads. A partner portal makes lead registration and pipeline management within the channel an easier undertaking. An effective PRM strategy allows you to ramp up new partners much more quickly than traditional approaches. A PRM system enables emerging growth companies to: Quickly train and certify the people that work for their new partners and get them selling faster. Facilitate the submission and approval of the portfolio of partner agreements that you require, including forms, business plans, and so on. Provide a turn-key platform to push all marketing and sales support collateral to channel partners immediately. Provide a method to register sales leads immediately, while facilitating a way to integrate those leads with both the partners CRM and the company s CRM. Provide a method to for channel partners to efficiently collaborate with them, their product experts, and other partners (if appropriate). Provide a way to incentivize partners immediately and a way to allocate market development funds (MDFs). Provide a way to measure and report on ramp-up status and how ready a new partner is to sell, and then monitor performance on an ongoing basis. Provide a robust system for partners to run their own businesses by using the local reporting capability of the PRM. New Hire Ramp-Up All channel partners have some level of turnover within their respective sales teams. You need to be prepared for this by having the right tools to quickly and cost-effectively help your channel partners bring their new salespeople up to speed each time they bring on new hires. A full-featured PRM solution will have the necessary tools to provide on-demand training, instructor-led training, and virtual classrooms. A new-hire curriculum for your channel partners can be role-based, on-demand and available the moment a new salesperson is hired by one of

6 your channel partners. The training process can be as engaging as desired. From dynamic video to hands-on simulations, there are virtually no restrictions on options for driving engagement. But training is not enough to make new salespeople effective advocates for your business. Rewards and continuous engagement are crucial. The right PRM solution enables you to easily motivate new hires through a powerful, integrated incentive and rewards module. The right system also provides features like report cards, scorecards and other evaluation tools so you can quickly determine how successful your channel partners new hires are selling for you. Finally, you want to find a solution that has social networking features integrated into the partner portal. These features create a platform for mentoring and easy sharing of best practices. Training and Certification Management With a comprehensive PRM solution, an emerging growth company can ensure that its channel partners are prepared to effectively sell and service its products all in one streamlined partner portal. You can enjoy the confidence of knowing that your partners are performing at optimum levels due to highly effective certification controls. Within an educational framework, PRM technology provides tools for structuring, launching and managing a channel training environment that is available around the clock. The technology provides your team with the ability to create, launch and manage a welldefined learning plan that s tied to specific job roles in the channel. These tools can facilitate the full range of training methods, including classroom training, webinars, e-learning, workgroup collaboration and on-the-job performance support. A PRM solution is able to support virtually any certification methodology that you may currently have in place. Decreased ramp-up time, increased individual performance and enhanced customer satisfaction are results of an effective channel training and certification environment. More importantly, by making it easier for your channel partners to train and manage their employees on your products, you are increasing mindshare. Simply stated, if it s easy for your partners to train their sales and service staff on your products rather than a competitor s products, which products do you think they ll sell more of? Marketing and Communications Support Robust PRM technologies provide a company with a partner portal environment and tools to manage its channel marketing documents, communications and other marketing assets within one dashboard. A partner portal simplifies the interaction between your company and your channel partners. How? By providing a contextual environment that knows who each user is based on their authentication. This ensures that every user of the system gets the right information at the right time to enable them to do their job more effectively. Done right, the result is more engaged employees and increased partner loyalty. With a full-service PRM solution, you can effortlessly manage news, announcements, and alerts. In addition, the more robust PRM solutions incorporate a social networking capability that allows you to easily facilitate cross-talk and two-way communications. Daily dialogue with your channel partners is vital to the channel partner relationship. Through channel management technology, strategies and

7 goals are seamlessly aligned with those of your channel partners making cross-channel goals and strategies easy to administer and intuitive for channel partners to implement. Effective collaboration and communication allows you to gain mindshare and make it easier for your channel partners to do business with you rather than your competitors. In a non-captive channel, where channel partners represent competing brands, you must be able to differentiate your offering. It is essential to have the ability to quickly and easily make course corrections as new products are rolled out, as well as effectively and efficiently announce enhancements of existing products all to ensure that your channel partners stay up-to-date and informed. New Product Introductions One of the key challenges facing product managers is the timely and consistent communication of valuable and relevant information to the channel partners regarding their product lifecycles. A robust PRM solution resolves these challenges by providing you, your product managers and your channel partners with: Real-time feedback: Leveraging the speed and power of the internet to transfer knowledge and solicit, assess and manage feedback in real time. Review product performance: Understanding and managing performance and investments, while ensuring that products return sufficient revenues and margins. New product introductions are the lifeblood of any emerging growth company. However, coordinating all of the activities across many business units can be cumbersome and filled with anxiety especially if you are in hypergrowth mode as many emerging companies are during the early success stage. For your product managers and marketing team, an easy-to-use dashboard for the coordination and execution of new product launches is invaluable. Sales Productivity Tools Any company committed to a channel partner strategy has the challenge of providing its partners with the right tools that enable them to work smarter, not harder. On the sales productivity front, the right PRM solution can give you the tools to communicate, educate, motivate and measure your channel performance. Furthermore, a full-service PRM system can capture your company s sales process, train and prepare your channel partners sales people for success, monitor compliance, and measure results. A PRM system does the following in support of sales productivity: Effectively communicates and aligns your corporate strategies and policies with that of your partners. Educates your channel partners with fully measurable web-based, instructor-led or e-learning programs. Establishes, manages, and measures sales performance indicators. Avoids channel conflict with sophisticated lead registration and pipeline management functionality. Motivates, incentivizes, and rewards your channel partners for executing your critical business processes, to ensure the desired results. Accurately measures sales performance of each channel partner. Links the allocation of incentives and market development funds to actual business results instead of commonly linked activities with no tie to results.

8 Integrates lead data from disparate partner CRMs with yours. A PRM System Benefits Both Sides of the Partnership Your emerging growth company has made the decision to launch or grow a channel partner strategy. As a result of this decision, it is vital that you find ways to engage and collaborate with your channel partners. A full-featured partner relationship management system can greatly improve channel partner performance via streamlined technology and software solutions. The ability to maintain open dialogue among your channel partners is crucial to your company s overall success. Alliances and partnerships can produce astonishing results, but only when information flows freely, organizations trust each other, and all parties are aligned and dedicated to the goal of mutual success. Operating from such a vibrant collaborative mindset that foregoes conflict in favor of mutual benefit requires an alignment of interests and shared goals. You need a system in place that can help facilitate this alignment. This is precisely the value that a robust partner relationship management system can bring to your company. Take a look at how a successful performance management system functions by taking our free online solutions tour. LogicBay Performance Center LogicBay s Performance Center can capture your sales process, enforce its compliance in your channel, train and prepare your sales force for success, and measure their progress. Take a look at how a successful performance management system functions by learning about our software. The Channel Manager s Blueprint Program Not sure if a measured partner relationship management program will help your company reach the next level? Let s find out. Through the channel manager s blueprint program, we will deliver a PRM blueprint to address any potential problems you may be facing in your indirect sales channel (even if that problem is not yet having an indirect sales channel). THE CHANNEL MANAGER S BLUEPRINT FROM LOGICBAY Get EXPERT analysis and ACTIONABLE Recommendations to increase partner sales. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE Corporate Headquarters: LogicBay Corporation 1508 Military Cutoff Road, Ste 201B Wilmington, NC Phone: Official Correspondence/Mailing Address: LogicBay Corporation Attn. Finance and Legal 4060 Post Road Warwick, RI Phone: Fax:

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