In this article, we highlight three tools that should be in every channel tech stack. The channel tech industry is awash with solutions created specifically for partnering, so it’s easy to get lost in this sea of software. We are here to help!
Channel software is a great solution because it helps streamline, automate, and simplify channel processes. As Jay McBain says, “The effective use of technology tools is no longer optional — ecosystems don’t run on spreadsheets!” The business of partnering is too complex to be run and tracked manually. You have to automate your channel processes if you plan on remaining competitive.
The Big Three
Our goal with this article is to make this list as simple and straightforward as possible. That’s why we only have three pieces of software listed. To create the list we broke channel software down into three categories that are absolutely necessary. That being said, if your team doesn’t have any of these platforms, acquiring these tools should be your top priority in 2022.
1. Customer Relationship Management
At this point, most companies have a CRM, and for good reason. The best way to track new pipeline, revenue, and closed deals is through your Customer Relationship Management system. As you gain new prospects, leads and customers, you can use your CRM to track them through your sales funnel. If there are any weak points in your sales process, this will show, as more deals break down at the same point. This helps your team make adjustments as needed to increase won deals.
Other advantages to having a CRM include:
- Increases in sales and revenue
- Higher customer satisfaction and retention
- Better tracking and analytics
- Clear sales reporting
- Higher efficiency for multiple internal teams
By keeping your data in one place, you keep all your teams on the same page. It is easier to communicate with your internal teams about the status of leads, necessary adjustments, and future sales projections as well. This in turn leads to greater efficiency and increased revenue. According to Salesforce, “CRMs are known to improve customer retention by as much as 27%.” That is a signifiant amount of revenue gained. That statistic alone makes the case for having a CRM.
2. Partner Relationship Management
A Partner Relationship Management software solution or a PRM is used to automate the life cycle of all of your partnerships. Your PRM platform streamlines everything relating to your partnerships from recruitment and onboarding to performance analysis and partner incentives.
A PRM makes your life easier by automating all of your partner processes. Some key factors that make a PRM a must-have are:
- Tracking new partner leads and opportunities
- Allocation of Market Development Funds (MDF)
- Streamlined partner onboarding
- Partner education through content libraries and assessment
- Content for co-marketing rollout
A good PRM will improve the scalability of your partner program. When you are researching a PRM solution, be sure that it integrates with your current tech stack. There are plenty of options out there, so finding a solution that integrates with your current CRM should be easy to find.
3. Partner Ecosystem Platform
The advantage of a quality Partner Ecosystem Platform (PEP) is that you have a global view of all the partners in your ecosystem and can see where you have overlap. This can help you to identify new sales opportunities and ways to accelerate deals with partners. Armed with this data you also have visibility into where you can gain influence with your prospects.
Every partnership is different, so your use case may not be the same as the next person’s. However, a PEP can show where your partner can help you meet your customers’ needs. Perhaps one of your vendors needs help gaining traction in a specific region or maybe you need to know which sales teams to align to co-sell effectively. Whatever your business needs are, a PEP gives you clear vision across your ecosystem.
Every enterprise needs to map and share its ecosystem data in order to foster growth and innovation. A survey by McKinsey found that “53 percent of [companies] that are ‘high performing’ rate themselves as effective users of analytics.” It’s very important to leverage data and analytics if you want your business to grow quickly. This requires complex account mapping from a Partner Ecosystem Platform. The old way of using spreadsheets to map ecosystem data is outdated and in the end, costing you money. The data that you get with a Partner Ecosystem Platform will help you to accelerate revenue and win with customers.
Ecosystems don’t run on spreadsheets. It isn’t feasible to track your partnerships manually if you expect to grow quickly. You need to automate your processes with channel software. The three tools that need to be in every channel tech stack are a CRM, a PRM, and a PEP. These three software solutions in tandem will help you track your channel program, accelerate revenue, and meet customer needs.