What is Partner Relationship Management?
Partner relationship management – also referred to as PRM – is a combination of all the software, processes, and company strategies that a business uses to streamline the relationship between them and its partners.
More often than not, PRM systems are web or cloud-based with the inclusion of a partner portal, customer base, and auxiliary tools that allows the business and partners to manage their leads, overall revenue process, and sales metrics.
- partner program management
- channel relationship management
- channel program management
Benefits of Partner Relationship Management
(terms to include: channel partners, partner engagement, partner experience, partner performance, strategic partnerships, )
Investing into a PRM system or platform is highly recommended for businesses looking to monitor and grow the relationship they have with their channel partners.
According to LogicBay, the implementation of a partner relationship management system is a necessity for businesses in the emerging growth stage as it will set them up for success as they start to grow and expand their partner base. The fact of the matter is – at a certain point businesses will no longer be able to rely on their existing systems – like CRM, email, or face-to-face communication – to keep up with their partners and their activity.
A key benefit to investing in a PRM is the fact that they provide a robust and scalable environment that allows and supports businesses to manage the entire channel partner relationship, from A-Z.
Below is a view of core functions enabled when a PRM is implemented, as laid out by LogicBay:
- New Partner Scalability
Naturally, emerging businesses have very aggressive goals around increasing their channel partners in order to scale up and reach more people in a short amount of time. With this in mind, PRM systems have the ability to ramp up new partners through the provision of tools and solutions that allow them to quickly onboard and create fully-customized partner portals. These partner portals house any and all information related to the relationship; including training, marketing, sales support, and educational material.
- New Hire Onboarding
A PRM system can double up as an online classroom and learning platform that new hires can access and engage with to gain insight and grow their knowledge of business products, services, and offerings. Further, this system unlocks the ability to run incentives and rewards models to drive revenue growth.
- Marketing & Communication Support
All channel marketing documents, communication, and other marketing material can be housed, managed, and shared through a robust PRM system; empowering all business and partner contacts with a wealth of knowledge to help them sell and grow the business. A smart marketing strategy will take the PRM into account and ensure it’s included in their rollout plan for all marketing collateral.
- Sales Productivity Tools
A PRM system gives the business as well as partners an unparalleled view and access to tools to communicate, educate and measure their channel performance. It also unlocks the ability for partners to capture and track the sales process; offering analysis and learning at every step of the journey.
- New Products Education
Similar to how business contacts and channel partners can use the PRM to access marketing collateral for use in the market, the business can also use the platform as a way to launch new products and educate all stakeholders about said launch.
Challenges in Partner Relationship Management
Effective partner relationship management starts with getting everyone on the same page. Managing partners involves a lot more than just ensuring they know about your product; it’s about ensuring the business and channel partners have a mutually beneficial business strategy in place to ensure they’re working towards the same goals.
According to the Pareto Principle – 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers, and the same notion can be considered for the business and partner relationship. WahooLearning outlines that significant energy needs to go into harnessing these key partner relationships in order to ensure they drive ROI for your business.
Even with a solid strategy in place to guide the relationship, certain challenges may arise and need to be addressed between both parties:
- Channel Conflict
When operations begin to scale, there can often be confusion between vendors and patterns who both reach out to channel managers to secure certain deals. It’s essential that channel managers mitigate this by ensuring vendors and partners are on the same page and working toward the same goal.
- Unclear Navigation of Portal
Overcomplicating and overpopulating your partner portal can be detrimental to the success of your partners. Giving them too much information can be unhelpful as it can overcomplicate things and make navigation difficult for them. Give them what they need but work with them to understand what exactly that is.
- Lack of Transparency
Building a culture of transparency is pivotal and will save channel managers a tonne of time and effort. A channel manager should never have to spend hours a day following up and checking in with partners to track down updates and status reports. If you create a culture where regular check-ins and reports are the norms, progress reporting will become effortless.
Partner Relationship Management Best Practices
The goal for any business that is working with multiple partners is to create a collaborative and open loop of communication between all dealers, vendors, and channels which aims at building a profitable relationship for all.
TechTarget outlines that one way to do this is to invest in software that works alongside your existing software offering to provide the right support for all parties. Building out a partner portal where all stakeholders can access educational material and collaborate with each other is fundamental.
Further, while there may be different stakeholders working on different elements at any given time, the implementation of a sales strategy that all vendors and partners can follow is pivotal. Working as a roadmap, this strategy will allow all parties a view of the goals, targets, channels, audience, and projections; in order to ensure cohesiveness even when working independently.
Lastly, an incentive is a king. Building a mutually beneficial relationship is what drives success and this can be done through the implementation of strong partner programs which support their goals and reward them when needed.
Partner Relationship Management Software
When it comes to managing key relationships between your business and its partners, investment into and implementation of a software or platform is important. Having one central hub where all partners can find everything they need ensures everyone is on the same page and allows for integration across key stakeholders.
Tips for Selecting a PRM Platform
Managing a partner relationship management system can be tricky and complex, but having the right tools in place can make the world of difference. Allround has outlined key questions to ask yourself when investigating which system will work best for you and your business:
- Does the system need to be automated? And if so, which parts need to be automated?
- Does the system offer flexibility for scaling and adapting the process as the business grows?
- Is there support in place to offer effortless partner onboarding?
- Does the system foster partner engagement and interaction?
- Is there an ability to use the platform for incentivizing partners?
- What is the implementation process and timeline?
- Does the system integrate with any of our existing tools?
Asking the right questions will ensure you pick a solution that works for you, your business, and all your partners. Spend time getting to know the offering before you sign on the dotted line!
People Also Ask
What is the difference between CRM and PRM?
CRM – also referred to as customer relationship management – is the process of managing and nurturing relationships with the business’ customer base. On the other hand, PRM – or Partner Relationship Management – refers to the process – or software – used to manage key stakeholders and partners involved in the selling of a product or service.
When does a company need a Partner Relationship Management solution?
Ideally, a PRM solution would be implemented at the inception of the business so that it can enable fast and seamless onboarding of new partners as and when the need arises.
What should I look for in a PRM?
The ability to measure success, analyze partner efforts, upload educational content and delivery a clear and transparent feedback loop is fundamental when choosing a PRM solution.