Let's be honest here. The only people who like it when you provide poor service to your partners are your competitors.
After all, licensing professionals who don't prioritize partner satisfaction are more likely to drive away business and develop a bad reputation. A bad reputation can make potential partners hesitant to work with you. And existing partners might not want to put in their best efforts.
Lousy service not only affects the quality of your relationships, but it can also ruin your bottom line.
According to the Salesforce State of the Connected Customer study:
Basically, most people aren't just looking for the cheapest or fastest partnerships. They are interested in working with people who are sincerely interested in them and their business.
Like all relationships, those between licensing partners have to be nurtured to reach their full potential. The licensing professional's role isn't just about signing contracts and assigning tasks. It's to ensure that everyone involved in a licensing deal--from the entertainment company to the apparel manufacturer--feels validated, heard and that you will prioritize their issues.
Most of the licensing companies interested in a Licensing Relationship Management Solution are looking to improve the quality and consistency of their relationships with their partners to sustain current and future business success. Are you?
Partner Satisfaction Impacts Your Whole Company
First thing's first: Let's stop for a minute and discuss why unsatisfied partners are bad news for your entire company.
Have you ever attended an event where someone mentioned a company with a bad reputation? What did the other people around you say about doing business with that company? Did their opinions make someone change their mind about working with the company? How quickly did you say "No way, Jose" to doing business with them yourself?
Every time a partner comes in contact with an organization, they form an opinion. In the internet age, people are happy (some might say too happy) to take to social media or business review sites to share their negative experiences. It's in your best interest to make sure that no matter how a partner comes in contact with you, they come away satisfied. It's even better if they walk away with a glowing review.
One part of the problem is that too many businesses see partner satisfaction as the job of a single person (like a licensing coordinator or sales rep). Or, even worse, something that only matters before contracts are signed. In reality, partner happiness is an ongoing, holistic process.
Your team should be thinking about the value of their interactions when you're setting deadlines, finalizing agreement terms, submitting notes on designs for approval, and recouping royalties. Yes, even during royalty recoupment.
LRM Puts Partners Front and Center
An LRM system supports a strategy that says that partnerships should be at the center of everything you do. To work, the partnership-centric approach has to include clear goals and a blueprint of what a valuable experience with a brand licensing company looks like.
Of course, your brand's quality and the impact you hope to make in your category are important. But the quality of your negotiations and the support you can offer are critical in any partnership.
LRM will help you get to know your partners, understand their needs, and respond to those needs faster.
Centralized Data = Superior Partner Insights
LRM software combines sales, account management, product approvals, and royalty property management information in one central database. Having access to all information in the database means clearer communication across your organization and more confidence in your abilities.
Modern LRM's, like Flowhaven, are also cloud-based and optimized for mobile. That makes important client information available to you anytime and anyplace. Imagine being able to go over your partner's last sales report on the way to a meeting or generating a royalty report while you sit with them at lunch.
How LRM helps you collect and track partner data:
The software can also help you note what was discussed in each meeting, what your action items are, and if you have any outstanding requests. You can use that information to manage, measure, and track your deals' progression. When you demonstrate a detailed interest in your partners, you're guaranteed to build greater loyalty and more enjoyable partner experiences.
LRM Makes Partner-facing Processes Hassle-Free
Licensing departments and teams work in two ways. Some processes benefit the business as a whole, and others serve your partners. Business-facing processes like HR and budgeting make the business run more efficiently. Partner-facing processes like sales, account management, product approvals, sales, and royalty management help you communicate well externally.
An LRM strategy focuses primarily on the partner-facing processes and optimizes them to meet your partner's needs. In the table below, we give examples of how LRM can benefit each person.
Turning Interactions into automated processes
Licensing relationship management bridges the gap between real-life interactions and digital automation. The LRM process begins at the negotiation table when you decide whom you want to partner with and what terms you'll agree to.
All you need to create a partner account in an LRM system is your new partner's name. The software will then direct you to the agreement process to file and save your important information.
Think of LRM like a library filled with the documents, phone calls, emails, meetings, actions, and messages you need. When an interaction with a company is initiated, you get an instant, automated communication trail. Because the information is in one central place, anyone in your company can help this person out.
The LRM system will remind you to call your partner at a scheduled time. It will alert you if the partner has missed a deadline and remind you to send invoices at the end of the deal. Each time you interact with the company, you will record it into the LRM system, no matter which team member you talk to.
The rewards for exceptional customer service can't be overstated. Businesses that excel at customer service are the ones that understand it is a vital sales opportunity, not an expense. Those who fail to understand this concept will send customers running straight to their competitors.