Tag Archives: channel

How to Benefit from Partner Relationship Management (PRM)

How to Benefit from Partner Relationship Management (PRM)

How is PRM different from CRM?

In this demanding economy, companies are on the never-ending quest for solutions / tools that will help them accrue / maintain their loyalty and business with their customers. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is one such application that has attracted a lot of attention from organizations worldwide.

Though containing the word “relationship”, CRM is actually not concerned with managing customer relationships. It lays emphasis on creating customer profiles by accumulating and advocating data regarding customer’s buying habits and personal preferences. These profiles are then used by businesses to directly target their niche market.

Talking about relationships, Partner Relationship Management (PRM) is an affair about understanding and satisfying the needs of your business partners with dexterity. As compared to gathering sales data, PRM is a much more complex application as it involves building and maintaining trust between you and your business channel partners. Many discussions on PRM, in correlation with CRM, have argued over personifying PRM either as seperate entity or merely an element of CRM.

CRM was fundamentally structured to manage direct sales engagements between a seller and a buyer. This function concentrates on gathering and sharing data throughout customer/s buying cycle. On the other hand, PRM has been designed to manage a complex system revolving around aligning business processes across the entire chain of vendors to partner and to customers. PRM technology enables companies to generate more work efficiency and profitability with all partner types, including channel, distribution, reseller, strategic alliance, system integration and consulting partners.

Since, every partner organization has a unique way of executing business, it is difficult to manifest a perfect process alignment between partners and vendors. This discrepancy makes it practically impossible to report and measure channel results accurately. CRM systems were not designed to accommodate this level of complexity. To effectively manage indirect business relationships, companies require a dedicated PRM system to co-ordinate activity between all the participants in the process loop.

Making PRM Work for You

Partners provide a cost-effective way to expand your enterprise by providing you with broader geo-market reach. When leveraged properly, they help you to accelerate revenue growth, streamline operations and improve efficiency.

Partner relationship management (PRM) is a business strategy for improving communication between companies and their channel partners. At a time when businesses need to maximize every resource available to them, building strong partner relationships and effective channel strategies has become a critical practice. Working with PRM dynamics, you must also focus on: –

1.Communicating with your partner, using your self-disclosure skills to articulate your needs.

2.Identifying and then sharing your personal most trusted strategies with your partner.

3.Evolving mutually beneficial agreements while working through a conflicting situation.

With businesses becoming global and interdependent in nature, PRM has a more vital role to play. This worldwide interdependence is only based on trust factor. The call-center industry sets a major example on this front. American businesses, having formed alliances with partners in India, Africa, and other distant regions, hire thousands of call-center executives to meet American and worldwide consumer demands. Such alliances require a high degree of partnership intelligence. Without establishing and managing such trusting and mutually beneficial alliances, the level of investments made by the call center and other industries will only face a doom.

Advantages of Partner Relationship Management

Businesses and organizations can immensely benefit from Partner Relationship Management (PRM) programs as follows: –

* Extend your enterprise reach and increase revenues through a well-managed partner network.

* Optimize partner program profitability through better understanding of partner’s value and performance.

* Streamline operations and reduce costs by automating manual processes and integrating partner operations throughout the enterprise.

* Develop a mutually trusting and beneficial partnerships

* Challenge you to change and focus on the future so you do not continually dwell on past glories and stay stagnant.

* Helps you focus resources on critical activities throughout the customer sales cycle and product lifecycle to maximize revenue rates and margins.

* Help companies deliver services that maximize product availability and customer productivity and minimize cost, time and energy.

* Links your future with that of your partner in a positive and exciting way.

* Efficiently manage your association with important customers, suppliers, outsourcing partners and partner alliances.

Web-based PRM software applications enable companies to customize and streamline administrative tasks by making real-time information available to all the partners over the Internet. Several CRM providers have incorporated PRM features in their software applications in the shape of web-enabled spreadsheets shared over extranet.

Salesforce.com’s comprehensive on-demand PRM:

As one of the leading companies offering on-demand CRM application, Salesforce.com provides capable solutions for managing your indirect sales channels. The PRM system, integrated with Sales Force Automation, helps to deliver unmatched visibility to your company’s sales pipeline for direct and indirect channels.

Sales Force PRM makes it easy for partners to access leads, collaborate on deals and locate all the lucrative information. Through a set of easy-to-use services, Sales Force PRM offers: –

1.Higher level of Partner Adoption.

2.Complete Channel Visibility via real-time access to channel sales.

3.Leading Partner Lifecycle Management, including recruitment, marketing, selling and measurement.

4.Integrated SFA application for planning and forecasting.

5.100% on-demand partner solutions resulting in fast deployment and customized partner experience.

Where else will you find such a powerful combination under one-roof? If you need more reasons to get Sales Force PRM solution, download Sales Force PRM Datasheet – Free. Contact Salesforce.com Today!

Author Information:

For more information contact us at: Sales Force

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5 Steps to Developing Effective Marketing Strategies

5 Steps to Developing Effective Marketing Strategies

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Setting out clear marketing strategies is a crucial step for any business, not least for smaller businesses.

While having a clear marketing strategy doesn’t guarantee success, research shows that it’s a key ingredient in improving your odds of profitable growth.

In short, a successful marketing strategy ensures a need in your target market matches a product or service your business can deliver.

Once you’ve found a match, your goal is to cost effectively communicate the benefits of choosing your offering to the target market.

Remember though that acquiring customers is a difficult and expensive business, so when you’ve found a new customer how much are they worth to you: is it a one-off transaction or a more profitable relationship you hope to nurture over many years?

Any marketing strategy you choose needs to be flexible, so imagine the strategy you set out as a series of sign posts rather than a fixed train track. By taking a flexible approach you’ll be able to navigate unforeseen circumstances you’ll come across along the way.

Here are the 5 steps to developing a strong marketing strategy:

1.Understand your strengths and make your weaknesses irrelevant

So what are you good at?

A marketing strategy with substance must play to your strengths as a business.

To lay strong foundations for your marketing strategy it’s worth spending some time putting together a SWOT analysis, assessing your business’ strengths and weaknesses; the market opportunities and market threats.

During this stage it might be worthwhile conducting some market research with your existing customers to get a more honest idea of your reputation in the market place.

An anonymous email survey may give you more candid response – so be prepared for praise and criticism! If you’re sending a survey out to 100 or fewer people try www.Zoomerang.com as it’s free to use and easy to create a professional looking survey.

Strengths might include: specialist knowledge, unique product features, personal service, flexible service.

Weaknesses might include: inefficient computer systems, high customer attrition, limited financial resources, low employee skills.

Opportunities might include: growth in market sector, change in government regulation, using the internet to reach new markets.

Threats might include: new competition, economic downturn, more attractive alternative to your product/service

2) Segment your market

Many small businesses fall into the trap of thinking that their product or service will appeal to ‘everyone’. Often the reason they do this is because they fear that excluding certain groups of people will limit their opportunity.

This thinking couldn’t be further from the truth – and remember that while you may think your target market is limitless your marketing budget certainly isn’t!

So, instead of trying to ‘boil the ocean’ let’s instead try to characterise the needs of particular segments or groups of a market. The focus of your marketing strategy should be to identify their needs through market research and address those needs more successfully than your competition.

By matching your strengths to the particular needs of a segment in the market place will give you the greatest chance of success. For example, there might be a market segment that considers quality first and foremost. If this matches your strength as a business that delivers a quality product then all your marketing activity should highlight the high quality of your product or service.

3) Write a marketing plan

Once you’ve clarified your strengths, the market opportunity and your target market it’s time to write it down in a marketing plan.

Your marketing plan will crystallise much of the thinking you’ve done so far and help you to formulate the actions needed to put your strategy into place and the resources needed to make your goals a reality.

Using SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based) objectives in your strategy should make measurement of your success easier to judge later on.

Your plan is a working document and should be regularly reviewed so that it reflects any changes in your market. If you’ve not written a marketing plan before you can download a marketing plan template at Marketing Strategies 101

4) Decide on tactics to reach your market

Now you need to consider how you’re going to reach your market.

Will you sell direct, through a partner channel, a retailer….?

These decisions will affect how you go about making your target market aware of the products or services you have to offer and why they meet their needs.

Typical approaches to communicating your message might be through print advertising, direct mail, telemarketing, public relations stunts, online, and point of sale (POS).

While an approach that uses several communication channels usually works well, try to stay disciplined otherwise you’ll burn your budget up fast and lose focus.

It’s worth considering some of the emerging marketing channels presented by social networking sites, too. However, while these channels might be a free or low cost way to promote your business, they can still take a lot of time to nurture.

Ultimately the channels you choose should be dictated by what your target audience is most responsive to. By building up a detailed picture of a typical ‘buyer’ of your product (their gender, age, income level, family circumstances), you’ll be able to start thinking more creatively about how to reach them.

5) Measure your progress and refine

While marketing is not always an exact science, you should still be able to build a fairly accurate picture of the impact of your marketing activities and strategy.

A simple start to measuring your success is to ask every new customer how they heard about your business.

By putting in place mechanisms to track the effectiveness of your strategy you can judge how well you’re performing today and use the results to shape future marketing strategy.

About

Mark Britton is a small business marketing specialist based in the United Kingdom and owner of Marketing Strategies 101 an online destination for sales and marketing planning guides and templates.

http://mjbritton.articlealley.com/5-steps-to-developing-effective-marketing-strategies-892937.html