You know it’s critical to stay connected to your customers. And if you’re in B2B, it’s vital to strengthen relationships with your partners, too.
But which tools and technologies are the best fit – and the best investment?
Why Channel Software, Why Now
Forrester interviewed Perficient for its recent report The Forrester Tech Tide: Channel Software, Q2 2020. Released last month, the report focuses on channel software and its increasing importance in winning, serving, and retaining customers – as well as dealers, distributors, resellers or other partners.
According to the report, the biggest challenge for B2B marketers this year is managing coordination with channel partners. In fact, 59% are increasing spending on channel software. Why? Most are looking to:
- Make operational processes more efficient – and less siloed.
- Integrate core platforms.
- Simplify and improve experiences for partners, which can deepen loyalty and become a differentiator in highly competitive industries.
Key Takeaways in the Report
With the rapidly shifting partner landscape particularly in the wake of COVID-19, Forrester notes that:
- “Ecosystem growth requires automation.” To put it simply, daily life for some B2B organizations – especially manufacturers – is still filled with spreadsheets and file folders. Embracing digital technologies and automation for partner programs will become necessary for survival.
- “Integrated and actionable data is critical.” Most partner programs generate incredible volumes of data from different systems and silos, and more often than not, some information is incomplete or inaccurate. The result: it doesn’t provide an integrated view of each partner or real-time insights into performance as a whole.
- “Channel software is consolidating.” From an industry perspective, smart and highly selective acquisitions will continue, as industry giants enhance their platforms by bringing more specialized point solutions, thought leaders and deep expertise into the fold. Ultimately, that means more simplicity (and more features and capabilities in one suite of tools) for customers.
Leading the Way: Partner Relationship Management (PRM)
Many of these findings will come as no surprise to industry leaders in manufacturing, automotive and high tech.
“Arguably the most mature category of channel software is PRM,” writes Forrester’s Jay McBain. “It was originally developed to be a partner-facing portal and single source of truth about the channel. These platforms have evolved and work in coordination with CRM and other sales and marketing software to manage partner recruitment, training, incentives, management, and reporting.”
Among the vendors listed in PRM, the Tech Tide category with both high business value and the most maturity: Salesforce.
“It’s so important to see the world through the eyes of your dealers, distributors or other partners. When we show companies what their current partner experiences are actually like when it comes to their existing environments, login processes and so on, it can be pretty shocking,” says Eric Dukart, Perficient’s strategic Salesforce leader and national sales executive. “It illuminates a lot of existing challenges. But it reveals a lot of potential, too.”
Giving dealers a 360-degree view of customers. Streamlining partner marketing. Improving lead routing and management. Increasing collaboration for more accurate forecasting. There’s a long list of advantages when it comes to PRM – and there’s proof that it works.
In a commissioned study released earlier this year, Forrester Consulting found the average manufacturer experienced 114% ROI and benefits of $3.8 million over three years by working with Perficient. The study offers a deep analysis of the savings, costs and results associated with Perficient’s strategic approach to PRM, powered by Salesforce Community Cloud. That includes payback on investment within less than three months.
Some other benefits revealed in the study include:
- Improved data quality
- 40% reduction in support calls
- $1 million in savings for internal systems development
- Increased dealer acquisition and win rates
- Improved customer engagement
- Improved partner relationships
- Increased marketing budget efficiency valued at $1.7 million
(Tip: you can download the complete manufacturing study, The Total Economic Impact of Working with Perficient in the Manufacturing Industry, featuring real-world stories, interviews and statistics from manufacturers below.)
Any Questions About PRM? Let’s Talk.
Want to learn more about PRM or bring your existing solutions together? Feel free to reach out and contact us anytime. Tell us what’s on your mind, what you need right now or where you want to go next. Our experts will be happy to help.