By T.C. Doyle
Congratulations on your latest round of funding! Now that you have an influx of capital, do you a solid plan for putting the money to use? You’re going to need one given the expectations that likely came with the new investment.
While you may have some ideas for spending the money, there are better ways to invest it than buying Herman-Miller chairs or leasing new office space. Experts agree that the best way to spend your new funding is to invest in things and activities that will help your organization address its top priorities, which typically fit into one of three categories:
- Operational excellence
- Product development
Some business experts and management consultants break these categories down into subgroups or elevate one or more items such as “workforce productivity” into the main group. Regardless, most business priorities fall into one of these basic categories. What’s interesting is how digital innovation can help organizations achieve their aims in each of these areas.
If your organization does business with partners or plans to in the future, then you will want to understand how partner automation technology can help your organization overcome challenges and achieve objectives against your list of priorities. Having this information at the ready will help you, your go-to-market leaders and even your executive leadership team make more informed decisions when it comes to spending your new capital wisely.
Improve business growth. Attract and retain new customers. Improve speed to new markets. If these growth priorities sound familiar, then you’re like most organizations, according to market researcher Techaisle, which produces an annual list of business and technology priorities and challenges for various organizational segments including SMBs. (Techaisle considers SMBs as organizations with between 1 and 999 employees.)
While some companies go it alone, the majority of SMBs and mid-size enterprises work with partners when it comes to executing their go-to-market strategies. Consider: more than 75% of global trade flows through business partners, according to Forrester. This is despite the growth of vendor marketplaces and other direct-to-consumer sales efforts.
Partners can help you expand your influence in new geographies, customer segments, vertical niches and targeted accounts where you believe growth lies. They can bolster your technical aptitude and amplify your marketing efforts, too. Furthermore, partners can introduce you to customers with whom they have existing relationships with.
But to achieve these benefits, you have to put in sufficient infrastructure to support your partners. This includes an investment into a partner relationship management (PRM) platform that can scale with you as you grow. Our research has found that organizations that invest in a PRM grow 32.3%, on average, after deploying partner automation technology. What is more, 77% report a return on their investment in less than 18 months.
If business acceleration is what you seek, then you need new growth mechanisms. Without them, you will never live up to your investors’ expectations.
Partners can provide you with new lift. But their contributions require new investments, commitment and expertise.
When it comes to operational excellence, companies have a long list of priorities. Chief among them is reducing costs and improving products and processes.
After deploying a PRM, Impartner customers report reducing their operational costs by 29%, on average. Another 78% claim that their PRM has provided them a competitive advantage in their respective market. Here’s insight as to why.
Unless your company has a truly differentiated innovation or idea, your partners have choices when it comes to with whom they align. While maximizing profitability is always top of mind, it isn’t always a determining factor when it comes to joining a partner program. In fact, CompTIA research finds that having “an established partner program with solid resources” rates higher among channel partners than “compensation plans in place that maximize the profitability of partners.”
Industry research also finds that one-quarter of channel partners will not work with a vendor that does not fully prioritize a seamless, workable partner experience.
For business practitioners, “a seamless, workable partner experience” translates into automation technology that reduces if not eliminates friction when it comes to partner onboarding, deal registration and market development funds (MDF) management just to name a few things.
If your company doesn’t provide friction-free experiences, it will struggle to attract the best partners in any given market. It will also wrestle trying to meet the expectations of those that it does enlist.
There’s more when it comes to automation and operational excellence: In addition to serving as a system of record (SoR) for all things partner-related, a PRM is a key component in a modern go-to-market technology architecture that also includes a customer relationship management (CRM) platform and a marketing automation platform (MAP). With a PRM and complementary adjuncts, you can efficiently extend your marketing through partners, track end customer leads in a closed-loop system and reward key constituents appropriately based on their contributions and engagement.
While it might sound like a stretch to think that a PRM platform can actually inform your product development agenda, it isn’t. Here’s why.
Partners not only give you sales leverage in a given market, they also provide invaluable feedback and insight. Consider: partners work with dozens if not hundreds of customers on average. They have tremendous insight on customer buying habits, business priorities and best practices. They understand better than most the positive impact that new ideas and innovations have on a market, and why some ideas fall flat.
Engaged partners will gladly share these insights with trusted allies who promise confidentiality and complementary insights for helping mutual customers. Partners will also serve as more than sounding boards; in many instances they will participate in beta test programs and help develop new use cases for your ideas and innovations.
If that sounds appealing to you, then remember that extracting these invaluable benefits requires partner intimacy and loyalty — the kind that a world-class partner automation platform promotes.
Which brings us back to you and your latest investment. Did you know that it comes at a time when investment in U.S. companies is setting all-time records? It has. Take startups, which enjoyed an inflow of $150 billion for the first half of 2021, according to a report from PitchBook. That sum is more than what startups have received in every full year before 2020.
This means that in addition to you, your rivals may have received some funding of late. So, the race is on, in other words, to see who can scale the fastest.
No doubt you are considering a wealth (no pun intended) of options for spending your new money. But before you commit to one thing or another, do yourself a favor and investigate how partner automation can help put that money to wise use.
Ask for an Impartner demo today.
While an investment in partner automation technology won’t provide the immediate comfort that a new Aeron chair will, it will put your organization in a better position.
Now that’s what we call sitting pretty.