Provide a better partner experience by showing some TLC to your PRM system.
You would be shocked to know the variety of partner portal and PRM systems I’ve worked on, but one thing remains the same: the need for organization. There are many components to a PRM system: the back end, the front-end, the bi-directional sync to multiple other systems. On top of that, there are different individuals, business units and management levels that must come together to ensure a well-updated, easy-to-use, one stop place for partner engagement. Maintaining a successful PRM system may feel like a moving target, but with some organization, you can be a hero to partners and give them a good experience. Here are my top 3 tips for a successful PRM:
1. Keep Your CRM Updated
The CRM system is your organization’s data brain. It’s incredibly challenging to keep updated and anyone who has met a salesperson knows why. Deal details are added or removed, partner contacts are coming or going, and new fields are created or deleted. It’s a lot to keep up with and most people just don’t.
All the initial data in your PRM comes from the CRM so it is imperative to maintain a clean and efficient system. An out-of-date CRM can flood bad data into connected systems like PRM. Bad data in the PRM system can cause hundreds of login errors, improperly displayed content, and innumerable complications for the partners. The partner digital experience gets destroyed thanks to bad data in the CRM causing opportunities to be registered incorrectly, deals unable to be entered at all, unhappy partners, and an increasing amount of support tickets.
I recommend having your CRM administrator schedule time regularly (whether it’s quarterly or annually) to focus on cleaning CRM data within the organization. This will ensure data stays as updated as it can and any data syncing to external systems, like PRM, will stay relevant and updated.
2. Maintain Relevant Content
Providing helpful, timely and accurate content is critical to an updated and beneficial partner portal. If content isn’t managed, your partner portal can become outdated, irrelevant, and your partners may lose faith in the advantages they can gain by logging in and engaging.
- Keep a list of all the content you have in your portal. Take stock of the owner, topic, audience, any date sensitivity, and primary use within a shared drive (Sharepoint, Teams, Jira, etc.). This ensures if people come and go or change roles, everything is documented on a shared drive.
- Evaluate the content on your portal pages quarterly. Does the content still align to your partner program? Is it still relevant to the audience? Review the asset library yearly. What needs to be updated or archived?
- Take the additional step to arrange regular meetings with contributors to walk through the portal content. Ensure the content is still relevant and that you have captured all the initiatives, information, and areas of innovation.
3. Breathe and Make a Plan
I know cleaning the CRM and PRM is a lot! I’ve found data and content that was 20+ years old and had never been touched. I’ve also run into data with no documentation, and it was stressful to figure out where to start. When you are faced with a mess, remember to breathe, and take it one step at a time.
Get organized early and communicate with your contributors! Keep in mind your CRM administrator will need to schedule time to ensure the CRM is updated and the partner portal manager will need to ensure content is maintained. Give them time to help in a meaningful way. Utilizing tools such as Monday.com, Wrike, Sharepoint, etc. will allow you and your organization to stay aligned and achieve an organized, maintained, and engaging partner portal.
You don’t need to be a platforms expert to see the benefits of working with clean, organized data for your connected systems. The heavy lift will be worth it once it’s updated and organized, and partners are engaging in a fantastic experience and therefore more revenue!
Mackenzie O’Brien is a 301 Impartner certified PRM Consultant with a certification in Web Design and Development. She loves building and managing PRM systems only slightly less than she loves enhancing them for PartnerPath clients.