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featureed image Published 2017-03-21, by Seth Jacobsen

Partner Relationship Management 101 - Part 1 of 2

Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software is a hot topic, particularly as more businesses look to embrace indirect sales models where they rely on sales partners to drive revenue. There are enormous challenges associated with managing a growing channel ecosystem, particularly given how much buyer behavior has changed in recent years.

PRM is the software solution that can make business relationships, and growing your ecosystem more manageable. If you haven’t looked into PRM before, we have put together a brief, two-part guide that will fill you in on its features and why PRM makes sense in a modern indirect sales scenario.

What is PRM Software?

PRM software is an all-in-one, web-based tool designed to help manage and maintain partner relationships. PRM is easily accessible and ensures each user (vendors and/or partners) has access to the areas they need for success.

At times, PRM software can be compared to the more familiar Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Both software types have things in common, including customer databases and analytics tools, and most PRM systems can even be integrated with existing CRM systems for easy migration. However, PRM goes far beyond the scope and functionality of a CRM and includes vital features that are specifically needed in an indirect-sales environment.

What are common features of PRM software?

  • Central Portal: A single access portal, often cloud-based, and available to everyone in your channel ecosystem. Internal security systems and login-based restrictions ensure every user has access to the modules they need.  
  • Lead Database: A customer lead database that is universally accessible. This allows the vendor to assist in lead generation, scoring, and management, while ensuring all partners can see the complete history of leads they've registered and their interactions with the company (this can be particularly vital in scenarios where multiple partners are working with the same buyer).
  • Communications Suite: A centralized communications tool that organizes and streamlines a combination of email, message boards, chat rooms, and potentially even IP phone\video-conferencing while ensuring records are kept of all internal interactions.  
  • Documentation and Materials Database: A central digital repository of all documentation and marketing materials partners might need to access at a given time.
  • Training Systems: Learn-at-your-own-pace training modules with graded online testing. The system can track every ground-level employee individually, making it easy to see individual success/failure rates. These training systems can often greatly speed up on-boarding processes for new partners.
  • Data and Analytics: From a high-level overview of an entire ecosystem, to highly granular data on individual salespeople, PRM gives vendors unprecedented levels of visibility into their extended operations. 
  • Incentivization:  A customized incentive program that is based on data gathered from each partner. This is often a great way to increase partner enthusiasm and participation.

Next in Part 2: The Benefits of Using PRM and How to Simplify the Process.