Channel Partner Software Guide: How to Evaluate Your Options
Building a successful partner ecosystem requires more than just a great strategy or the right team – having the right tools is essential to making sure operations run smoothly and efficiently.
So, if you’re looking to enter the channel space or increase your current partnerships reach, it’s time to start thinking carefully about what tech solution to invest in to meet your revenue goals – and yes, it should be an investment, not an expense.
As an investment, you want to make sure you maximize your ROI. Before you make your final decision, consider what kind of features you need from your tech solution.
Do you require an easy-to-use system with cloud-accessible analytics? Is future-ready scalability important to you? With these questions in mind, choosing between different tech solutions can begin to take shape.
While different sales and marketing channel teams may have different use cases, there are some essential features your Partner Relationship Management software must have.
Here are some key questions to ask during your decision-making process.
Can it provide a streamlined partner experience?
This is the most basic requirement that your channel partner software should meet. The demand for frictionless experiences has never been higher and partners expect the same seamlessness in their interactions with you.
The right tech solution should help you increase partner engagement by delivering a superior partner experience throughout the entire partnership process – from recruiting and onboarding to deal registration.
At each stage, accessible information and transparent communications are vital so that partners know exactly what’s expected from them at each stage.
Can you integrate it with your existing tech stack?
This is also a big part of delivering a superior experience to your partners. If you’re using a range of tools to work with partners, you want to ensure that each touchpoint works together smoothly.
Having a seamless integration would also mean that the entire stack is easier and more efficient for you to manage.
It might also be helpful to check if you can build additional functions within the portal and customize it yourself – without code.
Having to wait for IT to help you every single time you want to add new information can slow down the process and add friction to the partner journey. So, ideally your software solution enables you to set up partner journeys on your own.
Can it generate analytics that enables better business insights?
Managing partners involves more than just getting them to sign deals and making payouts. To win partner mindshare and keep them engaged with you, it’s essential to help them achieve success and generate more revenue.
But how can you do that if you don’t have the data required to figure out what’s working and what’s not?
When selecting channel partner software to invest in, ensure that you find a solution that can capture data accurately and produce easy-to-digest visuals that you can easily refer to for real-time insights.
This not only helps you make better data-driven decisions but also saves the time you would spend on gathering data and compiling it.
Can it automate the management of funds and payments?
If you’re doing everything manually, you’ll find that it’s impossible to scale your partner ecosystem. This is especially true for setting up partner funds, processing claims, and making payments – which are all essential tasks but has low overall strategic value.
Allowing your partners to easily see what kinds of funds are available to them, ensuring easy claims processes and on-time payouts to partners can increase your partners’ motivation to sell. If you have different types of partners or partner tiers, look into whether the software can improve tiering accuracy and ensure accurate payouts.
These are important factors in improving the partner experience. However, doing all these things manually is time-consuming and takes away from the time you could be using to strategize for higher revenue growth. So, choose software with sophisticated automation for partner management.
Is there any other way the software can help you value add?
Data from our ecosystems trajectory show that partners are prioritizing vendors who can offer positive and valuable experiences, as well as continuous innovation. Basically, if you can value add, they will be more likely to work with you.
So, consider if your software has any capabilities that can help you provide value add options to your partners. Some examples include fast communication of the latest product news, easy options to share product updates with end consumers, and other Partner Marketing Automation features.
By leveraging these capabilities, you can ensure that you remain competitive in today's ever-changing market environment.
Is there additional support from the software provider?
When it comes to setting up and integrating a new software or system, having the right support can be critical for success. It is important that you have access to resources that can help you with setup and integration, as well as provide assistance when needed.
Before you commit with your dollars, make sure you ask questions such as:
Will I receive help with setup and integration?
Will there be a customer success manager available to assist me?
If I want to add new features or integrations later, will I receive help for these too?
Knowing the answers to these questions before committing to any software or system can save time and money in the long run.
Is the software future-proof?
You don’t want to be switching your PRM every few years. Switching PRMs can be a painful process that can even result in data loss. This is why it’s so important to ensure that your channel software is ready for future scale.
Make sure that whatever platform you choose is not only using up-to-date technology but is also continuously making improvements. Some things you might want to look out for are the use of artificial intelligence and advanced automation capabilities.
When evaluating your options, you should also ask about the company’s roadmap and how they plan to help their customers stay ahead.
Choose the right channel partner software
Putting your channel tech stack together is a highly important task that can make or break your channel program. With the right solution, you can create a high-performing partner ecosystem that could potentially achieve double-digit growth.
In fact, that is exactly what Impartner PRM users report: 32.3% revenue growth in the first year of use alone. Request a demo and see firsthand how Impartner can help you scale your channel program.