Bond Stories: Automation in partnerships

March 21, 2021
Posted by
Ruben Westmeijer

The world of Partner Management is at the brink of transforming into a world where it’s done with manual tasks. Leading companies like Microsoft are showing us the way forward. They are leveraging partnerships through automation and generating significant revenues.

Did you know that 95% of Microsoft’s commercial revenue is generated through their Partner ecosystem?

Therefore, Bond also dove into the world of automation and booked demo’s with Partner Relation Management solutions, or so called PRM’s. It was a pleasure to see the functionalities of these solutions and how much time they can save Partner Managers. Managing a Partner Program can be a very time consuming business, and there is (still) a lot of room for automation. But PRM’s do not only save time, they also give Partner Managers a much better insight on the ROI of their Partner Program as a whole. And for Partner managers this is an important point as Crossbeam interviewed 126 Partner Managers on a variety of topics and released the report “2020 The State of the Partner Ecosystem”.

One of the outcomes in that report is that “75% of Partner Managers is measured on directly attributed revenue”. That means that their salaries largely depend on achieving targets on revenue generated by Partners. You would think that therefore, measuring accurate results is a top priority for Partner Managers. However, I can say from my own experience that it is very hard to measure the exact results if you are not using any software. Most Partner Managers can relate to the pains of getting partners to fill out a lead delivery form instead of introducing a lead via email. Or to make the Sales team mark the lead as a referral in the CRM. This is only the tip of the iceberg of streamlining external and internal processes to ensure a visible ROI. 

In addition to the already existing challenges, the Partner Ecosystem is becoming ever more challenging to manage according to Jay McBain of Forrester. He has already outlined in his “2020 outlook for the Channel” that the Partner Ecosystem is evolving in multiple directions with “influencer, transactional and retention categories”. And in an article by ARN he suggested that “managing multiple concurrent activities without sufficient automation is no longer possible”.

So, now seems to be the right time to take a look at your Partner Program. Are you happy with the ROI or do you feel like you spend too much resources for its return? If this is the case (and I apologise in advance for being blunt), it is probably because you are not doing it right. 

Microsoft shows us that SaaS companies can achieve much better results through Partnerships when using the right strategy and investing in the right software. Do your Partner Managers a favour and pull them out of the weeds; Enable them to stop wasting time on pulling reports together in excel. Instead, empower them to improve the Partner Experience, increase engagement and ultimately the results. There are enough solutions out there that automate the finding, recruiting, on-boarding, developing, enabling, incentivising, co-selling with, co-marketing with, managing, measuring, and reporting on partners. 

Of course this is not an easy task, because where to start? Well you can always start by booking awith Bond, because we love Partnerships and are happy to help you!

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