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PRM is for partners, don't make it too spicy


By Chris Smith, Vice President of Technology

Kung-Pau-Chicken.jpgI really enjoy cooking and I do most of the cheffing in our household. I also happen to love spicy food and often cook spicy dishes. Recently, we had friends over for dinner and I made a new recipe, sampling the dish throughout its preparation, and to my taste it was expertly seasoned. But alas, I wasn’t the only one eating the meal. I subjected my guests to dinner that was too spicy!

It’s natural to assume others will like what you like, or that you know what’s best for them in areas you’re knowledgable, but sometimes you have to ask questions and serve people what they want, not what you prefer. I should have considered more what my guests would enjoy rather than getting adventurous with my spices.

The partner is your customer.

In my experience working with technology vendors shopping for a PRM solution, it is all too common for the vendor to want the system to look, feel and behave in a very vendor-centric way. I’ve given many demos and answered countless questions about our PRM tools and grimace internally when vendors prioritize administration tools partners will never see above features partners actually value. If you asked them (and we have), most partners would tell you they want easy navigation, robust search capabilities, regular in-app communications, and a host of other features, all with a clean and simple design.

Always keep in mind that partners are the customers of your PRM. They are selling your products and services and their needs should be your priority when choosing the best solution to engage, empower and enable them. If they can’t consume the meal because it’s too spicy, it doesn’t matter how much the chef enjoys it.

Pick a system that works for everyone.

Now I’m not saying the needs of your company or internal users are to be swept aside. From the channel chief down to every channel manager the PRM tools should provide great functionality for engaging, managing and reporting on the awesomeness of a growing and productive channel program. Find a solution that has the functionality you need for growing your partner ecosystem and is scalable for growth. But for every functionality that will make your life easier, verify there is also a great experience for your partners on the other side of the login.

For instance, sweet administration tools that allow you to change workflows on the fly, modify program requirements, update email copy, etc. are all great (though sometimes dangerous) but make sure your PRM solution isn't sacrificing the experience of your partners at the altar of fancy tools that only make internal users happy. In point of fact, sometimes having too much freedom to change your systems leads to an ever-changing and confusing experience for partners. The primary purpose of any PRM system should be to make your partners’ lives easier (so they can sell more of your stuff).

Bottom line, when evaluating a PRM solution, start with how the tool caters to your partners. Ask yourself, "would our partners want to use this thing?" Better yet, do a survey and find out exactly what your partners want in a PRM automation tool. This is kind of like tasting the food along the way but rather than relying on your palate, ask your guests to sip from the sample spoon.

Chris-Smith-headshot.jpgChris Smith is Vice President of Technology at PartnerPath with more than 10 years of experience in technology development. 


Topics: Channel Best Practices, PRM

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