Technology can be a significant factor in the success of your channel program – when the right tool is chosen and properly deployed in your organization. Companies that rush to find a solution are at risk of selecting the wrong tool, or hastily implementing the right tool. They’re more likely to find themselves with a “solution” that isn’t adopted by users, doesn’t scale with the company, and doesn’t provide a return on the investment.
Careful forethought and planning goes a long way to ensuring you select a solution that will enable effective channel management and partner success.
This list of four common pitfalls can help you avoid the due diligence mistakes that often lead to failed implementations.
- The Tool Doesn’t Fit Your Program
Assess what your program needs before investigating solutions. And be brutally honest. If your partner program isn’t running smoothly, determine what your challenges are and make a plan for resolving them. Companies that omit this step risk automating and institutionalizing inefficiencies and procedures that don’t serve partners – or corporate strategies and objectives.
Re-configure processes based on what partners need, not based on how a new Partner Relationship Management (PRM) system wants you to work.
- No One’s in Charge of Implementation
In other words, no one is accountable for making the launch successful. This happens most commonly in companies with channel programs that have no executive-level support. If no one is really responsible for the program, a failed implementation is more likely (not to mention all the other failures the channel is vulnerable to when no one owns it).
It’s also important to assign someone project management responsibilities. It’s not unusual for a PRM implementation to happen outside of IT, so recruit a project manager who can keep track of milestones and give that person authority to make decisions.
Find a solution that has as simple and streamlined an implementation as possible. This can vary widely between solutions. Particularly with long implementations, you’ll need to line up internal resources sufficient to ensure success.
- There’s No Launch Plan
Once the vendor’s taken care of its responsibilities, who internally will carry the ball forward? The implementation can go smoothly, but if users don’t see the value in changing the way they work, adoption rates will be low.
And that goes for partners too. If your current processes with partners don’t include engagement via an online portal, the presence of a new tool in and of itself won’t be sufficient to spark the change you’re looking for.
What incentives will partners have for learning and using a new system? Incentives around things like deal security and margins are usually a good way to get their attention and motivate new behaviors.
You only get one shot at a first impression with your partners. How will you work with your internal stakeholders as well as partners to ensure a successful roll-out and launch?
- Your Partners Won’t Use It
The number one reason your partners will use your PRM is because they can see how it will help them sell and easily reap the benefits of their sales.
If your PRM software creates unnecessary friction in the sales process, they won’t use it. If the content on your portal is poor quality or disorganized, it’s not a good use of their time to dig through it. If the portal is badly designed and leaves them wondering what they’re supposed to do there, they’ll continue to use email and phone calls to work with you – or they may decide another vendor is easier to deal with. If you don’t make it easy to work with your partners, your competitor will.
PRM software is a critical tool for effective channel management and partner success. Once you’re ready to find the right PRM solution for your channel program, avoiding the above pitfalls can help ensure the success you want.
Want more tips for finding the perfect PRM solution for your channel program? Read the new, free ebook from Channeltivity, “