In the beginning of partner relationship management (PRM), managing channel programs was done using various spreadsheets and emails. This was before you could do more with email platforms than just send out emails. Any channel or buyer segmentation was manual—and a little brutal.

Twenty years ago, managers had to manually search through cumbersome inboxes and spreadsheets to find the information they needed to meet their channel goals. Given that the average partner program has dozens of components that encourage channel growth, that adds up to a lot of manual searching. Even when managers were able to effectively meet or exceed their goals, they spent almost all their time on manual channel processes.

This old manual approach took too much time, was rife with data-entry error potential, and made it almost impossible for managers to effectively make decisions to maximize their programs. Given all of these hurdles, it’s amazing that channel marketing programs have grown into the force they are today.

Progressing Automation with the Rise of Email

Although the 1990s looked at email as a novelty, the aughts knew that email had much more potential. Both B2C and B2B companies saw email as a new marketing channel, and around 2005, companies were sending more marketing emails than ever.

However, most companies weren’t aware of what happened after they sent an email, or if it even arrived at all. Would it be labeled as spam?

That’s when email providers became more sophisticated in what they offered to marketers. Now, companies could get feedback about their emails, such as who was opening them and when. This was the beginning of email marketing metrics, and metrics are key to succeeding with any marketing program.

Soon, sales teams had shared folders with customer information and messaging. Now, channel managers could make plans, targeting specific messages to specific partners and deploying their PRM programs with more insight and foresight.

Pressing the Accelerator on PRM Automation

As it goes with technology, once we were able to segment email groups and create more effective sales and marketing plans, we pressed the accelerator on progress.

A little more than a decade ago, forward-thinking teams began ditching spreadsheets and emails for purpose-built PRM solutions that centralize all relevant information in one place. Instead of having an email program that had to be manually aligned with spreadsheets, content management systems, and any other channel or partner management tech, the idea of having everything in one centralized place took hold.

Now, modern PRM solutions move the data out of spreadsheets and emails and into a robust platform specifically designed for channel and partner management. Thanks to rich integrations with leading customer relationship management (CRM) systems, all customer and partner data can now be stored in one convenient place. This increases data integrity and improves decision-making.

Channel managers found themselves with a much more efficient work life, and they also started enjoying more profitability. When channel managers don’t have to spend all their time on manual processes, it allows them to strategize and put more thought into partner relationships. Using modern PRM solutions, you can reclaim countless hours and invest them into other revenue-generating areas of operations.

Deploying Today’s PRM Solutions

Deploying the right modern PRM solution will create a direct digital connection between you and your partners, making both real-time and asynchronous communication a cinch. Leading solutions also use automation to nudge partners at specific intervals and encourage them to update their deal statuses. This is an easy way to make sure you have up-to-date visibility into your channel pipeline and to drive desired behaviors in your channel partners.

Add it all up, and deploying PRM technology has transformed what is possible when it comes to communicating with partners. This is why the PRM market is expected to grow from $920 million in 2020 to nearly $2 billion by 2026, and why at least 20 percent of B2B organizations are using PRM solutions to power their channels.

However, you may have all the data in the world, but if you’re not able to make sense of it, then what good does it do? By 2022, Gartner predicts that 90 percent of business strategies will mention analytics as a critical core competency and enterprise asset.

If you’re looking to deploy PRM technology the right way, you need to look for a platform that makes analytics easy. Otherwise, you’ll fall behind competing channels that are already leveraging analytics to continuously optimize their programs. It’s that simple.

Upgrading Your Channel Starts with the Right PRM Technology

If you’re reading this and thinking that your current PRM solution isn’t a lot different from the channel marketing programs you used 15 years ago, you’re likely wasting more time and money than you can imagine. Or maybe you’re using modern PRM software, but it still feels like you’re performing too many manual processes.

We’re here to help.

Vartopia is a cutting-edge PRM solution that enables you to increase channel efficiencies, eliminate redundancies, and build a predictable pipeline of partner sales.

With Vartopia, you can open and maintain steady lines of communication with all of your partners and operate with the peace of mind that comes from working with a single source of truth, day in and day out.

For more information on how you can use Vartopia to transform your channel and bring your partner program to the next level, request a demo today.