In this article, we highlight several priorities that have emerged from our conversations with customers, business partners, and industry thought-leaders alike. From our interactions and research, it’s clear that a change in market conditions is leading to a change in thinking. Whereas global events in 2020 put an emphasis on “resiliency” and “adaptability,” new market realties have pushed “growth” and “experiences” to the top of corporate agendas.
A recent Gartner survey revealed that marketing budgets have increased to 9.5% of overall company revenue in 2022 compared to a mere 6.4% in 2021. Although we see a jump in marketing spending, it still falls short of pre-pandemic levels. When asked to present the proportion of their 2022 marketing budget allocated to online and offline channels, online channels took the largest share, with a whopping 56%. However, offline channels are not far behind with a share of 46%, suggesting a shift into more hybrid multichannel strategies. And if current indications are correct, your channel strategy will need to be updated accordingly. This includes your PRM solution.
We'll cover these in more detail, but these are the five partner portal priorities to consider as you begin planning for this year 👇
1. Partner experience
In all but a few product and service categories, and regardless of industry, business partners have choices when it comes to who they work with. With velocity foremost in many partners’ minds, ease-of-doing business has emerged as a top priority. How important? Consider what the tech trade association CompTIA reported: “For a vast majority of partners, the ease of doing business ranks highest in the why-should-we-work-with-this-vendor-department. It ranks higher than even the profit-making opportunity in many cases.”
Is your partner solution designed appropriately? Can partners quickly find the information they need, or do they encounter friction at every turn? How many times do you ask them to log in as they navigate through your pages and applications? Does your homepage surface the information that matters most to them? Or do you make them dig? Do you bombard them with customer-oriented information or provide a more tailored, personalized experience?
If you don’t like your answers, then your company may be competing at a disadvantage.
2. Partner performance, reporting, and analytics
Every channel chief knows the key to competing today is actionable information. This requires real-time data that you can access at a glance and can put into a report that can be easily scrutinized. There’s simply no way to do proper business planning without this kind of intelligence. But not every PRM solution gives up this kind of information easily. With some tools, it can feel like the platform is working against you to conceal the data you need. This isn’t the case with Impartner’s Business Intelligence (BI) engine and Channel Intel+ technology, which have been designed to seamlessly provide channel business leaders with data that drives revenue and increases partner profitability.
With Impartner PRM, everything from partner segmentation to deal registration to onboarding and more has been optimized around two vectors: making things frictionless for partners and providing you the actionable data you need to grow at scale.
Learn how to build a revenue-focused partner experience in the following guide!
3. Integration with key business platforms
Study after study reveals the degree that customers fast-tracked digital transformation projects in 2020 due to the global pandemic. But experts note that “most C-suites are frustrated and disappointed” with outcomes. Projects take too long, cost too much, and deliver too little.
Why? Integration challenges are a big issue. Customers no longer want to mash together software components that do not mesh easily. The same goes for your partner automation platform.
Impartner gets this. We know that business runs on Microsoft Office, Salesforce CRM, and other tech standbys. That’s why our PRM integrates in real-time with Salesforce CRM (we were the first to do so) and Microsoft Dynamics. We also integrate easily with other key platforms.
We understand that being a system of record is all about how it relates to velocity. Let’s face it: having to wait hours or even minutes for your batched data to “sync” can mean winning or losing a competitive bid.
That won’t cut it in 2023. Integrate or fall behind, we say.
Once you embrace a modern PRM, you’ll love how a modern, integrated automation platform can transform your business and increase partner satisfaction. But you’re likely to want more.
For example, you’re likely to want to better coordinate marketing activities with partners to ensure that your messages are delivered consistently and appropriately. This means better technology, the kind that through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) provides for.
In addition to communicating through partners, you’ll also want to communicate with them more effectively. For that, you’ll need a purpose-built product such as Impartner’s News on Demand. There’s more, including Impartner’s Social on Demand, Google Ads for the Channel, and Point of Sale Management.
As you grow your channel, you’ll want to increase the capability of your partner portal. You’ll want a platform that expands and grows with you, in other words. Impartner does this seamlessly no matter your size or industry.
5. Built to grow
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, you’ll likely hear more about “opinionated software” as you consider your automation plans and priorities. While “opinionated” conjures up bad connotations in most instances, it means “informed” and “experienced” when it comes to digital automation. Take Impartner PRM, for example.
In addition to being integrated, customizable, and secure, Impartner PRM is also informed. We built our software to leverage best practices we’ve gleaned from hundreds of implementations with world leaders in business from multiple industries over two decades. This includes how we help customers onboard partners, train and certify them, share leads and even reward partners. When you invest in Impartner partner automation, in other words, you’re getting business best practices baked into every module you leverage.
With that, you can rest assured that you are investing with an organization that is as focused on your success as you are.
Automation for a Changing World
Speed and experiences loom large in the hearts and minds of business partners everywhere. Your partner portal, thus, must optimize accordingly. If that sounds daunting to you, rest easy; it isn’t if you have the right partner committed to your channel success.
See for yourself how partner automation can help increase velocity and improve experiences for your channel partners. Request your Impartner demo today.