How Do You Effectively Manage Partnerships?
Good partner relationship management (PRM) requires a good manager, but more importantly, it requires the software tools to run partner programs efficiently. While proper management is certainly helpful, it’s not always enough. The truth is, most businesses struggle with partner management—not because they don’t have skilled staff, but because their systems for organizing partner programs are convoluted, messy, and difficult to draw data from. Piecemealing emails, spreadsheets, and other tools together muddles down communication and reporting—both of which are critical for PRM success. This makes an already-hard job, even harder.
Partner management is one of the most complex parts of running a business, but by no means is it impossible. With the right strategy—and the right tools—any business can maintain a multitude of strong, beneficial business relationships. Keep reading to learn about partner management strategy and how partner management software can elevate your partner programs to new heights.
How Do You Structure a Partnership Strategy?
When developing a partnership management structure, there are two layers of systems to consider: the system for each business partner and the system for your collaborative PRM strategy.
Layer One: Individual Partner Programs
Determine what kinds of partnerships you want to have and with which businesses. Partner programs take on a wide range of forms, including:
- Resellers | Companies who purchase products from other businesses to sell on their behalf
- Distributors | Partners who help businesses expand, acquire more reach and gain market share
- Affiliates | Simpler partnerships where organizations help each other with client referrals
- Co-Marketers | Companies that mutually promote each other to their adjacent client bases
- Tech Partners | A software company working with a business who integrates with that software
The nature of your business’s partner programs should depend on your mission, vision, and products. Similarly, the organizations you choose to work with should have goals that align with yours, and they should be someone with whom you can form a mutually beneficial relationship. Think not just about who you want to work with, but who you want to work with you.
What Are the 3 Requirements of Effective Partnership in Business?
There are three key elements of partnership when working with external organizations: communication, organization, and attribution. An effective PRM strategy, then, addresses those respective requirements with the following elements:
- Communication Channels | Two-way platforms to easily share information between partners
- Partner Portals | Somewhere you and your partner get an accurate summary of the program
- ROI Reporting | Quick, effective attribution of business success to each partner program
Each of these is necessary not just for your business, but your partners as well. Maintaining clear, consistent communication is important for any relationship, especially business relationships. Establishing an accessible partner portal lets you and your partner both look at how the relationship is doing and make informed decisions for the future. And effective financial attribution makes clear to your leadership team why each partnership matters, while also showing your partners why working together is a good idea.
Layer Two: Partner Portfolio Management
In addition to your strategy for individual partnerships, you must also consider strategy for managing your entire collection of partner programs. While each relationship will have its own terms and goals, your PRM strategy needs to be flexible enough to accommodate each partnership’s individual objectives and priorities. If we refer to the three key elements from the first layer—communication, organization, and attribution—we can see how they apply here as well.
A partner manager needs the ability to quickly assess all three elements of PRM strategy. What’s more, if changes are required, their system needs to be adaptable. Otherwise, the strategy risks falling apart at the seams as it becomes harder to keep organized. That is the crux of partner management: finding a way to adjust and organize multiple layers of strategy simultaneously, all in a single source of truth.
Software solutions like Torchlite exist for that very reason: the consolidation, automation, and streamlining of partner programs. With the right PRM platform, you’re able to communicate, share, and report all from the same place. Our solution even integrates with other softwares like CRM platforms, so each adjacent department of your business has full visibility on your partner portfolio. Performing each piece of a prosperous partner program is much easier with a software solution like Torchlite in your PRM toolbox.
Torchlite: Building Successful Partnerships, One Platform at a Time
Many strategic partnerships managers find themselves wondering, “How can I be a good partner account manager?” But is partner management a skill, or is it more about having the right tools for the right job? At Torchlite, we believe what makes or breaks a successful PRM plan is not only the strategy, but the software. That’s why we developed our software: to address the ever-changing, never-ending complexity of partner management.
Torchlite provides various capabilities that address these key elements, including things like:
- Affiliate Program -Link Tracking
- Deal Registration
- Partner Portal and Directory
- Partner Resources
- Account Mapping with Intent Data and Followup
- Channel Marketing and Journey Building
- Channel Management / Reporting
- Partner Co-Selling
Our solution makes it easier to run PRM strategies, and it also connects those strategies to your business in a much more comprehensive way. Your leadership team will never have to guess which partnerships are working, and why—plus, your partners will have access to that same information.
What makes a good business partnership even better? The answer is simple: Torchlite. See why today and book a demo with Torchlite.