Partner Relationship Management (PRM) is a term that is used to describe the methodology and strategies for improving relationships between your company and your channel partners. Often referred to more generically as Channel Management Software, PRM solutions are Web-based (in some cases cloud-based) platforms that can enable your company to customize and streamline business processes.
A robust PRM system includes key features for on-boarding new channel partners, lead management, executing marketing campaigns, training, performance management and other features designed to facilitate your relationship with your channel partners. PRM is often compared to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) but the complex relationships within the sales channel that need to be effectively managed to drive engagement and collaboration are way beyond the capabilities of a CRM system.
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A PRM solution can help in establishing and maintaining trust and open communication across your entire sales channel. PRM processes seek to identify and resolve conflict in every area of the channel partnership, creating a more efficient system of conducting business. As a result of this improved collaboration and engagement, you increase the “mindshare” of your channel partners resulting in better sales performance.
PRM systems are a set of tools that can allow you to better organize and manage channel relationships. A PRM system can be looked at as both a technology solution and a business philosophy. The core functional components of PRM should include:
- Training & Certification Management
- Marketing Communications Support
- New Product Introduction
- Sales Productivity Tools
- New Partner Ramp-up (Channel Partner On-Boarding)
- New Hire Ramp-up
Companies today are struggling to meet increasing customer expectations and needs, while dealing with shifting market conditions and economic swings. Working to outmaneuver competitors these days involves building highly effective internal and external relationships that ensure that you have the ability to support your company’s mission and meet evolving growth initiatives. The strategy of maintaining open dialogue among your channel partners has become crucial for innovation and overall success. In today’s economy you must develop and maintain connections that provide the resources your channel partners need to grow and strengthen their business, which translates into success for your company.
Conducting business in the twenty-first century therefore, requires forming partnerships and strategic alliances, both internally and externally. Creating a partnering culture within an organization fosters collaboration among existing subcultures. This positions the organization to achieve the primary goal of business growth. Smart partners win not only because of what they do, but even more importantly, from how they do it. They win from leveraging their connectedness, and from valuing the building of relationship skills.
Alliances and partnerships can produce astonishing results, but only when:
- Information flows freely
- Organizations trust each other, and
- All parties are dedicated to the goal of mutual success.
Operating from such a vibrant collaborative mind-set that foregoes conflict in favor of mutual benefit requires interdependence that does not always come naturally to an organization. That’s why a PRM solution that encompasses all aspects of the channel partner relationship is crucial to business success.