There are a lot of questions surrounding Partner Relationship Management Software and Services. We've answered them.
A PRM system can enable you to scale programs based on your unique content and community. If you need to reach several hundred dealers in Canada and the U.S., a simple PRM solution will serve your needs. If you have global requirements with tens of thousands of users, then a more sophisticated solution is needed. Many manufacturers start the process with a smaller group first, with a PRM system that can be scaled as they move forward to a more complete solution. Our goal as a PRM provider is to understand that the growth of your business is a journey so your requirements to support your partners will evolve over time. We intend to provide the tools you need to meet these ever-changing challenges.
Ease of use for customers and administrators is critical for a PRM system. Your employees and partners must be able to manage and navigate the portal efficiently. Administrators need to be able to post and remove assets easily and update the site without HTML knowledge or other special training. A properly constructed PRM system provides easy administration for individuals without special computer or web knowledge.
Having the ability to integrate your PRM solution with other systems or applications is critical to your success. Most clients have existing systems in place that already support the daily activities of their channel partners. This can include a Learning Management System (LMS), ERP, CRM, or a variety of other proprietary point solutions. In some instances, it makes sense to simply integrate these existing systems into the PRM to avoid disruption within the channel and allow your partners to access multiple systems via secure single sign-on (SSO).
A sophisticated PRM solution offers the ability to link to legacy web applications that were developed by third-party providers or IT departments, so users, through the PRM portal, can easily access these applications. Equally important is the ability for a PRM system to allow SSO to these integrated applications so users don't have to log on twice. Some PRM solutions offer a more unified approach, whereby these legacy systems interact with the PRM producing a much more seamless experience for the user. These are the PRM systems one should more seriously consider if systems integration is an important requirement for your channel support.
In most cases, the interface of a PRM solution provides a mobile-friendly interface with responsive or adaptive web design. Our newest version (10.0) was designed specifically to meet the demands of a mobile-first business environment.
More and more manufacturers are pushing their training, product presentations, online libraries and ordering applications to a mobile or tablet environment. A PRM solution with mobile applications can deliver assets to mobile or tablet applications quickly and efficiently. Users can customize the content they want to access offline and which they want web-based. Navigation is optimized for tablet use, making it quick and easy to find and launch what is needed. This new format also allows a company to leverage and extend the existing content management system (CMS). It allows for a minimal increase in administrative costs since all content can be managed in one area, preserving the power and efficiency of a single CMS.
Increasing mindshare is all about separating your company from the competition by having your channel partners think of you first for any new sales opportunities. In many instances, it is not even about having the highest quality or most affordable product. It is about being easier to do business with. This means providing your partners with up to date pricing, inventory, sales and marketing material, just-in-time job aides, technical support, and a variety of other tools that are going to help them close more business. On top of that, a lead management process that allows you to deliver qualified leads to your partners - while keeping track of these leads in the sales cycle - helps increase close rates and let's your partners know you are serious about helping them grow their business.
Most manufacturers compete for the attention of their dealer employees today. Individuals at dealerships want to feel they are a part of a larger community. When they do, they work more enthusiastically for that organization. The successful ones offer better solutions than their competitors. The OEM must have better training, better resources, and a much easier way to deliver these resources to dealer individuals. If dealers are to be actively engaged representing their company and products, manufacturers have to make it easy and desirable to do so. PRM solutions have helped the world's leading manufacturers sell more product through their dispersed networks of dealers. This same, cost-effective solution is available to other companies, large or small.
More and more every day, manufacturers are holding themselves accountable for providing their sales partners with the tools and information they need to be successful. An indirect channel is truly an extension of your own sales force and they need easy access to the resources you have available to successfully represent your brand. These resources include sales and marketing material, training programs, social forums, access to third-party systems, rewards and incentives, and real-time reporting capabilities. These tools need to be easy to find, relevant, and up-to-date.
Companies today are finding that if they can improve the communication between individuals, the company benefits tremendously. This collaboration can work in three directions. First, peer-to-peer collaboration between partners allows them to easily share best practices and communicate with each other. Second, communication between individuals at the partner level and individuals at the manufacturer fosters efficient information-sharing, like ideas for sales tips or field service fixes. And third, increasing the communication and collaboration between the manufacturer, partner, and the end user provides the ultimate means of sharing ideas and solving product or other channel issues. Through a Collaboration component, a PRM solution can provide the means for individuals to easily and effectively communicate with each other.
Social forums offer a great way to encourage collaboration within your partner network for sharing best practices and as a means to facilitate Ask the Expert or feedback relative to Frequently Asked Questions. The more you can solicit this information from your partners, the more likely you are to be in tune with your customers demands.
Through the Learning Management System (LMS) in the PRM system, manufacturers have the means to quickly deliver training whether online, instructor lead, or through regional or national meetings. This can all be tracked in the LMS. Plus, they can easily set up certifications for individual dealer employee roles (e.g. a salesperson, parts person, or service technician). This makes it easy for dealers to ramp up new employees, and allows them to know who is, and who is not, certified on any given day. This is all part of the PRM system.
Your partners need a way to train new employees quickly and efficiently. They rely on you to provide the bulk of this training. To be most effective, it must be easy to access, engaging, and available on demand. A robust Learning Management System (LMS) provided as part of a PRM solution can provide the kind of 'just-in-time' training needed for new hires at the partner level for a variety of job roles and responsibilities.
Some companies offer a process to identify and document the current environment and then recommend solutions. This includes channel surveys to gather and benchmark key performance metrics so all parties can get a clear understanding of what performance gaps exist in the channel. A business case can then be presented that maps the current condition and makes recommendations for technology deployments, complete with an ROI analysis.
One of the advantages of a well-built PRM system is the ability to deliver only the information that is necessary for a partner employee to do their job. For instance, a manufacturer may have individual sites for new sales, used sales, parts, service, finance and more. Although each of these sites is found under the PRM umbrella, they can be organized and administered by different individuals. Furthermore, access to the sites and to important documentation (sales, marketing, and training) can be role-based, so the right information is delivered to the right audience.
Cost depends largely on how you intend to manage and implement a PRM solution. Our PRM Platform options provides all the functionality our system offers, starting at $1,000 per month. Our PRM Program model provides access to the same functionality, but includes our mangaged services to help ensure their ongoing success, starting at $5,000 per month. See our Pricing Page for more details.
One of the most common questions we receive is "I already have a CRM, why do I need a PRM system?" In very basic terms, a CRM does an excellent job at managing direct sales, but when it comes to managing channel partners, they leave a lot to be desired. CRMs aren't built to encourage collaboration among partners or provide easy communication among the channel ecosystem. For improved collaboration and content sharing, increased brand engagement from partners, and to create an environment that's easier to do business in, manufacturers need to consider Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software. The distinction between these two systems is extremely important, so we wrote an entire eBook on the subject which you can view here.
We have a published version of our Service Level Agreement which you can view here.
We offer standard month-to-month payment options or annual contracts up to five years. We offer discounts for extended terms, volume of users, and for annual pre-payment in advance. Depending on the software edition that is right for you, we are happy to provide a custom quote suitable to meet your needs.