How Much Should You Be Spending on Partner Relationship Management?

By Seth Jacobsen Posted on 3/8/15, 7:30 AM

How Much Should You Be Spending on Partner Relationship Management?Software has become one of the most essential tools in supporting a company’s day to day operations. The digital age has provided countless ways to leverage the potential your business already has. One of the best examples of this is PRM (Partner Relationship Management) software. Despite its broad functionality, a lot of companies wonder what that kind of system will cost.

What Is Partner Relationship (PRM) Software?

First, let’s identify what this kind of software brings to the table. Only then can you truly get a good idea for what that software is worth.

As the name suggests, PRM software is all about getting a better handle on ways to support your sales partners. It allows you to deliver the tools your partners need to be successful and helps you become easier to do business with. PRM also facilitates how you communicate with them, a necessary ingredient to helping you find more channel partners who are eager to do business with you as you grow your channel network.

Considering What PRM Software Can Deliver

There’s no one answer when it comes to what PRM software can do. These days, there are plenty of options to choose from, so your investment will depend mostly on what functionality you need. However, so many different software choices ensures that, whether you’re a small business or a big corporation, there are platforms that will fit both your needs and your budget.

How Many Users Will You Have?

Most forms of PRM software these days have two things in common: they utilize the cloud and they charge on a per user basis.

The only way you can get a handle on your costs, then, is by taking inventory of how many users you are likely to have. SaaS (Software as a Solution) has become the predominant form of software because it reduces maintenance costs and appeals to companies of all sizes.  Even smaller companies working with complex indirect channels can have a vast network of users accessing the system.

Getting budgetary approval for variable costs can be difficult so consider a longer term contract of 12, 24, or 36 months to turn these subscription costs into a fixed amount.

Setup Costs

In addition to the monthly user fees listed above, there are typically setup costs associated with the implementation of your specific platform. There are very cost-effective options that offer low setup costs but may limit how much you can customize the look and feel to meet your branding requirements. If you have other systems that need integration (order entry system, CRM, etc) there will also be a cost associated with that during the implementation phase. Most often these costs depend on the scope and complexity of what is required so make sure to take that into consideration.

What to Look For

As is the case with most software investments, it is important to evaluate what these providers bring to the table. Take some time to research them so you can see if they:

  • Have a User Friendly Platform

  • Are Experienced in Your Industry

  • Provide Administrative Capabilities

  • Will Be Scalable for Your Needs

  • Help You Grow Your Indirect Sales Channel

  • Reduce Costs Associated With Outdated Systems

  • Improve Efficiencies of Working With Your Channel Partners

With so many options available and so many unique channel support requirements these days, there is a lot to take into consideration when determining the investment associated with a PRM solution.  Using the above information, you should stand a much better chance of understanding the value behind that investment.

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