If you’re in the market for Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software, you won’t lack for options. However, with the complexity of indirect channels and more platforms available than ever before, it can be easy to leave important questions unanswered. Before you invest in any PRM technology, be sure you consider the following questions.
1. Do I Understand This Kind of Software?
PRM software can mean and cover a lot of different things. It makes no sense to spend money on it before ensuring you understand what it entails. You should always set up a demo before you make your decision.
2. Is It a Good Fit for Our Specific Needs?
Your company is unique and, therefore, has unique needs. The right PRM software for your needs is probably not an out-of-the-box solution. Start by thinking about what you hope to accomplish with PRM software and then begin shopping.
3. Will This Address Our Specific Problems?
Along the same lines, what kinds of problems does your company currently have and what channel business processes are you looking to support? Will this software address them?
4. Do We Have Existing Problems with Partners That PRM Can’t Resolve?
Just because you have problems, it doesn’t mean PRM software is the answer. The last thing you want is to pay for a platform only to find out that it can’t fix certain issues. Take the time to carefully examine your current challenges and priorities.
5. What Are Our End Goals?
Where do you hope this software will take you? Answer this question and think long and hard about whether or not your choice in a platform can actually accomplish what you want.
6. What’s Our Budget?
There are several implications here, but it’s always smart to think about your budget before proceeding with an investment.
7. How Much Does It Cost?
Most forms of PRM software these days charge a monthly subscription per user. This makes a lot of sense for the majority of companies, but it can be difficult to budget for variable costs. You may want to explore the option of a fixed monthly rate instead.
8. What Kind of Customer Support Is Provided?
Customer support couldn’t be more important. No matter how great your PRM software is, eventually, you’ll have questions. This is when you’ll be glad you asked the above question before proceeding.
9. Does the Software Provider Help with Implementation?
Before you can enjoy the benefits of your PRM software, you need to have a successful implementation. Ideally, the manufacturer will help out with this essential first step.
10. Is It User-Friendly?
Obviously, you want a software solution that is user-friendly. No matter what kind of benefits it promises, if a platform is unusable, it’s not worth your company’s time and money.
11. What Do My Colleagues Think?
There are typically a number of other departments that are involved in the decision-making process for any software platform. Check with IT, sales, marketing, etc. to get their thoughts before proceeding with an investment.
12. Can We Try It For Free?
Many turnkey PRM solutions will offer a free trial period, but this is not necessarily the case for robust, all-in-one solutions your company might be looking for. Additionally, you may find it difficult to determine on your own if you have found a viable solution. If this is the case, make sure you have seen a live demonstration that highlights your specific needs.
13. What Other Software Does It Integrate With?
Your company probably has other forms of software you want to use in tandem with your PRM platform. Understand what it takes to integrate third-party solutions.
14. Are My Partners Familiar with It?
It’s a good idea to check with your partners and see if they’ve used a similar software platform before. They may have valuable feedback to help with your decision.
15. Who Else Uses It?
Ask a manufacturer which other companies use their platform and what functionality they have benefitted from. Their credentials are worth considering.
16. Does It Provide Analytics?
Providing access to key data is a vital component of PRM software. Critical channel analytics can include sales pipeline data, training and certification metrics,and user activity. Collectively, these help you understand how well prepared your channel is to sell your products and services.
17. Is This a Scalable Solution?
Your company has certain needs now, but that is likely to change next year or the year after that. The same applies to the needs of your channel partners. Will your PRM software be able to grow with you?
18. What Is Available in the Near Future?
Do some research to find out what new features are on the product roadmap. This will give you insight into additional functionality that you may have access to..
19. Who Is Responsible For Administering The System?
In many cases, you will be responsible for administering the platform so you should have a good working understanding of what time commitment that will entail. Some software providers also offer administrative services if you are looking to outsource that requirement.
20. Do I Have The Ability To Upgrade Whenever I Want?
We discussed the importance of finding a scalable solution. When the time comes to access new functionality, understand what this means in terms of additional cost and the time commitment required to put that in place. If you have a contract in place, it may require new terms or can be part of the services agreement.
With the above 20 questions taken into consideration, you should have a much easier time getting PRM software that will meet your expectations.