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Driving PRM portal utilization: strategies for success

Channel partners are busy professionals, which means they likely have little time – or interest – in activities that don’t make a positive impact on their daily work lives. For many channel partners, utilizing PRM portals can seem more like of a waste of precious time than a tool for closing sales and putting more dollars in their wallets.

Studies show that partners who engage with PRM portals are more knowledgeable, more productive, and more effective at closing deals. However, PRM utilization in key industries like technology is shockingly low. On average, only 12-14% of a vendor’s/ manufacturer’s channel partners log in to their PRM portal at least once per month.

What’s even worse than low utilization rates themselves is what they suggest. PRM portals typically provide access to learning opportunities, marketing collateral, deal registration, quote submittal, and more. Partners might not be using PRM portals because they either don’t see value in these types of content and services, or because they find the portal so difficult to use that it doesn’t seem worth the time and effort to do so.

Increasing PRM portal utilization is (or should be) a top-of-mind topic for any vendor/manufacturer with a partner program. If you are struggling to increase utilization of yours or are in the planning stages of rolling out a program, then read on for insights on how others are sending PRM portal utilization rates up and to the right.

Successful PRM Portal Features and Functionality

1. Personalization Capabilities
Providing channel partners with personalized content and offers based on what you know about them, and what they have done with you in the past, is an effective way to drive utilization. Many PRM portals can capture and sort through complex partner data and create customizable programs with tailored rules that directly suit individual interests. Take advantage of that data to show partners you are here specifically to help them succeed.

2. User-friendly Portal Apps
Simply said, channel partners have to immediately see the benefits of using a PRM portal or they won’t engage with it. And that requires vendors/manufacturers to fully understand partner needs and challenges, then provide apps that address those needs. For example, support apps are at the top of many channel partners wish lists, but most vendors/ manufacturers don’t offer one on their PRM portal. That’s a missed opportunity.

Mobile apps are another way to make it easier to partners to engage. Chanel partners appreciate the convenience of having portal content literally in-hand, so offering a mobile access is key.

3. Salesforce-Integrated Platforms
Many vendors/manufacturers utilize PRM portals that seamlessly integrate with their partners’ other technology systems. This makes it easier for partners to want to make the PRM portal part of their daily routine. For example, Salesforce is the biggest cloud Enterprise CRM system in the world and is used by the majority of Fortune 100 companies. PRM portals that are Salesforce-integrated are a win-win for partners and the vendor/manufacturer. They make it easier for partners to see their partner sales activities along with their non-partner sales activities, giving them a 360 degree view of what they have going on. Vendors/manufacturers benefit from streamlined reporting, more accurate data, and the ability to offer partners the latest Salesforce tools and technologies.

Incentivization Can Drive Adoption … and Boost Engagement
Programs that incentivize partners to use a PRM portal by rewarding them for doing so – and giving them the ability to track their progress toward goals – are another proven way to drive engagement. Best-in-class programs reward partners for a broad array of activities, such as downloading content, taking online courses, entering opportunity information, submitting forecasts, applying for market development funds, or even for accessing every available app in the portal.

Savvy vendors/manufacturers are thinking ‘outside the portal’ and offering rewards for attending annual partner conferences, participating in collaborative business planning, and, yes, even actively participating in their incentive program. The key takeaway here is that partner engagement and PRM adoption are closely linked, so get creative and test different strategies to see what your partner community finds most compelling.

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