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The importance of partnership management in indirect sales

Partnership management is an indispensable aspect for companies with indirect sales structures, as it enables efficient collaboration with sales partners. This allows leads to be generated, orders to be distributed and finalised and long-term customer relationships to be established. In this article, we will explore the importance of partnership management in the context of indirect sales, discuss effective strategies for lead management, highlight best practices for working with sales partners and analyse the role of technological solutions. In just a few minutes, you will understand how companies from a wide range of industries can maximise their success in indirect sales with effective Partner Relationship Management (PRM).


What is partnership management?


Let's start by explaining the term: Partnership management encompasses the strategic planning, development and maintenance of relationships with external partners (e.g. sales partners, sales representatives or specialised dealers). The aim is to promote efficient co-operation in order to achieve common goals and ensure maximum customer satisfaction. Through good partner management with continuous communication, optimisation and measurement, companies can increase their sales, customer satisfaction and competitiveness.


For which companies is Partner Relationship Management (PRM) important?


Partnership management, also known as partner relationship management (PRM), is important for every company. Almost every company works with some kind of partner.

In indirect sales, PRM is not only important, but essential, as companies with indirect sales structures are 100% dependent on their partners. Their business model is based on partners fulfilling orders and delivering a product or service to the end customer. This means that partners also use the company's name when dealing with the end customer - if you don't speak the same language, you lose out.


What is the difference between a CRM and a PRM system?


CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and PRM (Partner Relationship Management) are two types of systems that help organisations manage relationships with their business partners. Although they have similar goals, there are some important differences:


  1. CRM systems focus on the relationship between the company and the end customer, while PRM systems focus on the relationship between the company and its sales partners.

  2. CRM systems offer functions such as contact management, campaign management and customer care, while PRM systems can perform partner onboarding, lead distribution to partners and partner performance analyses.

  3. The figures and reporting also differ: CRM systems measure contact data, purchase histories and interactions with customers, while PRM systems focus on recording and analysing sales contributions, lead conversion and partner activities.

  4. Last but not least: CRM systems support internal communication between departments (e.g. to improve customer service), PRM systems in turn facilitate cooperation between the company and its sales partners.


Partnership management with leadtributor


At leadtributor, we have specialised in creating software that is made precisely for manufacturers with partner sales. With leadtributor, you ensure that your partners enjoy working with you! In just a few clicks, you can distribute suitable sales territories and competences so that your partners always receive the right orders. Always included: KPIs that help you to keep an eye on partner performance at all times. Take a look around our partnership management software here!


Best practices for partnership management in indirect sales structures


In my opinion, there are 3 best practices that will make sales with indirect partners easier for you:


1.     Correct selection and onboarding of sales partners


The most important thing is a good foundation. The best PRM system is useless if your partners are not reliable. So: prioritise sales partners who share your quality standards and for whom customer satisfaction is just as important as it is for you. As soon as you have found them, it's time for onboarding. The rule here is ‘more is more’: the more information you can share about your company and your products, the better. In the long term, there will be fewer questions and fewer problems with order fulfilment.


2.     Building and maintaining long-term partnerships


Researching, selecting and onboarding new sales partners takes a lot of time. Make sure that these partnerships flourish over time: What do your partners need to work well? How can you pull together even better to achieve your common goals?


3.     Implementation of effective communication and work processes


You want to ensure that you always have an overview, even with an increasing number of channel partners. You can do this with clear communication and collaboration processes so that everyone involved always knows what needs to be done. Good tools that can be seamlessly integrated from your systems into those of your sales partners are essential here. We know how important it is to always have the latest data, facts and figures in order to make well-founded business decisions. I have written more about ‘KPIs in partner sales’ for you in this blog article.


As you can see, partnership management in indirect sales structures requires continuous attention and adaptation. Through careful selection of distribution partners, effective collaboration and continuous measurement of performance, manufacturers can build strong and successful partnerships. In doing so, you should be supported by experts and tools that optimise your day-to-day work and boost your sales through better processes.


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