Partner relationship management (PRM) is a business strategy scaled partner management that companies use to improve the quality of communication and interaction with their channel partners. Every company has a different strategy for approaching partner management, but the majority of businesses choose to communicate through web-based mediums for quicker interactions and customized administrative tasks. Communicating through web-based mediums allows partners to have full access to this information. There are also many relationship-enhancing systems available for Customer Relationship Management (CRM); however, managing relationships through a partner portal is usually much more involved than through a customer portal. Because of this channel partnerships should be treated differently to ensure effective partner relationship management. If you’re looking for ways to eliminate revenue leaks, retain customer loyalty, and maintain brand consistency, consider the following top five most important tips for effective partner management.
1. Quality Over Quantity
In business, you may be tempted to solidify as many channel partners as possible as a way to maximize revenue. Although this may seem logically sound, too many partners can often be too difficult for one company to handle and usually results in poor Partner relationship management. To ensure high-quality partner relationships, reduce the amount of channel partners you have and choose instead to work solely with those niche partners who benefit your business the most. The partner portal that is in your niche industry is more likely to appeal to your target audience, which means more business success.
2. Properly Monitor and Maintain Control Over Channel Partners
Affiliate marketing can be a chaotic industry, filled with a surplus of information that can make it difficult for companies to track the daily activities of their channel partners. In many cases, it can be nearly impossible to determine who each partner portal is when the scale is especially large. Many industries see new comparison sites and agents emerge on a daily basis, which can significantly impact the efficacy of partner management. Although the industry may be chaotic, it is the company’s responsibility to maintain control over all of the affiliates who claim to have a channel partnership with the company. Maintaining this control can also help you determine how valuable the relationship is to the company.
3. Training and Education are Keys to Success
Once you have all your ducks in a row in terms of monitoring channel partners, you’ll want to research whether or your company’s channel partners properly meet the standards of the company. Many businesses find that their partner portal doesn’t always comply with your corporate guidelines, which may affect the overall image of your business. To avoid this detrimental effect, make sure to properly educate and train all partners to ensure that the image they are portraying is in line with the company’s guidelines.
4. The More Content, the Better
In keeping with tip three, businesses should provide each partner portal with plenty of information regarding the company rules and regulation to ensure that there are no misrepresentations of the company. One helpful tip for achieving this is to provide them with tools and sticky content to keep their sites engaging in addition to strengthening the bonds of your relationship. This not only helps to improve the image of the company and avoid miscommunication, but also help increase the level of involvement your channel partners have in your company, which leads to an overall more supportive partner relationship.
5. Avoid the Competition
Sometime companies find that their channel partners are simultaneously promoting your company’s competitors as well. If you find that your partner portal is in fact sleeping with the enemy, you can approach the situation in a couple of different ways. First, you can negotiate with this partner and offer a greater incentive to exclusivity with your company alone. This agreement should be finalized in contract form. If your partner won’t comply, you may have to end the partnership and choose a replacement partnership where competition is no longer an issue.