Beyond Spreadsheets: PRM Software for Partner Relationship Management
Don’t let ineffective partner relationship management hold you back. PRM software simplifies processes, improves communication, and drives results.
Partner management software, also known as partner relationship management, is a tool that businesses use to keep track of their channel partners and affiliates. PRM software provides a private portal for each partner, where they can access documents, campaign materials, market development funds, opportunities, and deals.
Sales managers, particularly those who deal with channel sales partners, such as specialty retailers and value-added resellers, use PRM software to optimize their relationships with these partners. The software helps to distribute opportunities and funds, track activities and success, and ensure that the partners are aligned with the brand they are selling.
Partner relationship management software can be used by any department of a company that does business with third-party contractors, such as external warehouses or distribution centers, transportation companies, professional services companies, and consultants.
PRM vs. CRM
While there are many similarities, there are differences between PRM software and a CRM.
Many companies use CRM (customer relationship management) software to maintain information on their customers and provide unified data visibility.
While both are software tools used to help manage a business, the fundamental difference is their functionality. A PRM focuses on managing a company’s relationship with their partner teams, while a CRM is concerned with a company’s relationships with their customers.
A PRM is a specialized version of a CRM, focused on channel sales optimization, with tools for onboarding partners, training partners, sharing leads, registering deals, and tracking progress, among others. In recent years, applications have been integrated with CRM solutions (i.e., Maximizer CRM) to eliminate data silos and extend the functionality by introducing an integrated data source of record.
Types of PRM Software
There are different PRMs, each catering to specific business needs. Systems typically consist of web- or cloud-based partner portals, customer databases, and other tools used for managing leads, revenues, opportunities, and sales metrics for companies and partners. These systems also track inventory, pricing, discounting, and operations.
Depending on the company’s requirements, there are various types of software available, such as channel, customer, and employee PRMs. Each type focuses on different aspects of managing relationships with partners, customers, and employees.
PRM Software Features
There are many PRM providers out there, each with their own unique offerings. However, most PRM software will have some common features that are essential to providing core functionality.
These features include automated partner onboarding, a central management portal for information and resources, sales enablement resources, MDF management, forecasting capabilities, and processes to prevent sales and channel conflicts because of human error. These features are crucial to ensuring the success of any partner program and improving partner performance and revenue.
Benefits of a PRM for Small Businesses
Small businesses can use a PRM for centralization and to streamline communication.
Centralization allows for consolidation of all the data points essential to the distribution channel, which can be accessed by partners on a single platform. Communication is also streamlined, allowing for partners to provide feedback, ask questions, and address concerns in a timely manner.
Besides these benefits, there are other specialized features in PRM software that small businesses can take advantage of. Sales analytics can help track a partner’s performance and goals, while rewards/ or loyalty program management can reward partners to boost sales. Marketing and brand management features can also ensure that partners use logos and marketing materials consistently and up to date.
In the sections that follow, we’ll look at some unique benefits of PRM systems.
One of the key benefits of using a partner marketing management system is that it can increase productivity among partners. By offering incentives such as advertising subsidies, companies can encourage partners to invest more in their own local marketing efforts. This can include online advertising measures like blog posts or social media campaigns.
By providing discounts on marketing materials, partners are more likely to take advantage of these opportunities and generate higher sales figures. Successful partnerships can be further incentivized with additional grants and rewards, leading to a more productive and successful overall partner marketing strategy.
Efficiently Manage the Sales Pipeline
When it comes to managing a channel program, balancing lead management and effective sales prospecting can be difficult. This is especially true when you add a partner layer to the equation. PRM software includes several features to keep both pipelines running smoothly while also stewarding prospects effectively.
One of the key benefits of using a PRM is the ability to manage your sales pipeline with precision. You can track leads and deals using the program’s intuitive interface, which provides a comprehensive view of your sales process. You’ll also gain valuable insights from the reporting system, which will enable you to set benchmarks and compare your performance with other industry leaders.
Besides these features, a PRM also makes it easy to create co-branded content, loop in your existing marketing automation, and distribute content more effectively. Whether you need a broad view of your pipeline or you need to dig into the details, PRM software has everything you need to manage it easily.
Customer Database Management
A PRM enables you to manage your customer database effectively. With just a few clicks, you can access a customer’s entire relationship history, including their interests and previous interactions with your staff. This information is crucial for following up with customers and closing deals.
You can also organize all client activities in one place. This means that you can send emails, manage tasks, and keep track of customer accounts, all from a single application. This level of organization can improve your management capabilities and help you provide better service to your customers.
Another important feature of PRM software is its ability to store and organize customer information in a straightforward and easy-to-use way. This includes items like calendars and notes, which can be accessed quickly and easily whenever you need them. By keeping all of your customer details in one place, you can get a unique perspective on each customer and tailor your interactions accordingly.
Finally, using a PRM system can help you expand your business and attract more customers. By tracking customer interests and preferences, you can target your marketing efforts to make sure that you are reaching the right people at the right time.
Manage Deal Registrations
Another challenge businesses face is the lack of visibility in their channel deals. This often results in overwhelmed internal channel teams who are forced to spend a lot of time on manual follow-ups with their partner ecosystem. As a result, forecasting sales becomes problematic, and accuracy is often compromised.
Poor deal management practices can have a significant impact on a business, leading to ineffective channel sales teams, inventory issues, and countless hours wasted trying to merge spreadsheets. Insufficient resources are often delegated to the channel sales team, exacerbating the problem.
Channel conflict is another major issue when there is little visibility into channel sales activity. This can have serious consequences on channel activities, effectiveness, and channel ROI. In the worst case, such consequences can lead to significant channel partner churn and low partner loyalty to principals.
By investing in a PRM, businesses can streamline their deal registration processes and gain better control over their channel sales activities.
Automate Repetitive Tasks
Without a PRM, channel managers may end up spending a significant amount of time on busywork. This can include following up with partners to track down updates, as well as manually transferring information between their CRM and PRM systems. These tasks not only take up valuable time, but can also lead to errors in data entry.
By investing in modern PRM technology, companies can automate these repetitive tasks. This not only frees up time for channel managers but also ensures that information is transferred accurately between systems. With the right solution, partners can even be automatically reminded to update deal statuses, creating a more efficient and streamlined process for everyone involved.
Better Communication with Partners and Customers
A PRM can help channel managers identify and resolve conflicts in partner activities, leading to increased engagement throughout all channels. This not only establishes efficient systems for conducting business but also provides partners with a single place to access necessary information for successfully selling products and services.
With PRM software, partners can easily access data to complete necessary tasks. This level of transparency and collaboration fosters better communication between channel management teams, resulting in effective lead distribution, managed backlogs, and faster response times.
Analyze Performance Data
PRM software gives managers and sales reps the ability to analyze performance data. With business intelligence-based dashboards, businesses can easily track the activities of their reseller partners and assess the ROI of their partner programs. This data can then make informed decisions related to business processes, marketing funds, and increase customer success.
By monitoring the performance of their reseller partners, businesses can identify the most profitable ones and invest in them accordingly. Data-backed dashboards can help businesses experiment with different reselling partner strategies to increase revenue and reduce customer acquisition costs. With the ability to analyze performance data, a PRM can help businesses make data-driven decisions and optimize their partner programs for success.
Advanced Reporting Tools
If you want to make business or marketing decisions based on your customer data, then you need a powerful PRM software that provides you with advanced reporting tools.
The software aligns marketing and sales to shorten the sales cycle and improve customer service delivery. It also helps to identify up-sell and cross-sell opportunities that can increase your revenue and customer satisfaction.
With the software, you can get an underlying report of dashboard indicators for further analysis. This means you can dig deeper into your data and get a better understanding of what’s going on in your business.
One benefit of using PRM software is that data is automatically exported to Excel and organized in a separate tab. This makes it easy to apply spreadsheet functions and analyze information from multiple angles. Whether you’re looking to identify trends or uncover new insights, advanced reporting tools can help you get the job done.
Integration with Existing Platforms
Maximizer CRM has a partner module that extends the basic CRM functions to external affiliates, helping to organize the affiliates effort and allow internal staff to manage this information directly in their CRM. This means that you can easily connect the platform with other software applications that your business already uses, boosting productivity and streamlining workflows. With Maximizer’s API, you can extend the functionality of your platform to integrate with other applications and interact with data seamlessly.
For example, you can generate an image of your dashboard view with just one click, and then send it by email right from Maximizer or embed it in a presentation. By integrating Maximizer with your existing platforms, you can drive results and take your business to the next level.
Maximizer CRM: Everything You Need to Know
Maximizer CRM is the perfect tool to help you streamline your processes and increase productivity.
One of the key benefits of using a PRM is the ability to track engagement activity and revenue, which can help you project and increase ROI. This is an important metric for any business, as it allows you to see how effective your partnerships are and whether your investments are paying off.
By leveraging this data, both across the entire ecosystem and by individual partners, you can make informed choices on future investments. This means that you can focus your resources on partner companies that are delivering the highest ROI, and adjust your strategy as needed to maximize your returns.
Challenges with Implementing PRM Software
There are some challenges companies should consider before implementing a PRM. One is the cost of purchasing and maintaining the software. Businesses will also need to invest in training staff and integrating the software into their existing systems, which can be time-consuming and costly. It’s important to also consider the long-term costs associated with updating and maintaining the software.
Some companies may not clearly understand their customer base before investing in the software, leading to discrepancies between what they want from it and what is actually available. Thorough research should be conducted before making any investment decisions to ensure that the software meets their needs.
Finally, businesses must consider potential security risks. Proper security protocols must be in place to protect any data stored on the system from unauthorized access. Regular updates and monitoring of security protocols will help ensure that customer data remains secure while using a PRM.
Finding the Right Provider
Selecting the right PRM provider can be overwhelming, but there are certain factors you should consider to make the process easier.
First, evaluate the technology being used, such as the platform and any customization options available. Is the interface user-friendly, and are there resources like tutorials and webinars to help you learn? These details will help you figure out which technology is best for your business.
The level of customer service offered is another important factor. Is the provider responsive and are they available when you need them?
Pricing plans should also accommodate needs. Look for any additional fees or discounts available based on usage level or subscription length. Keep in mind that higher prices don’t always mean better service or features.
Ultimately, choose a provider that will take the time to assess your specific needs, offer reliable customer service, and fit your budget.
Many companies are investing in CRM and PRM technology to optimize their operations. While there may be an initial investment of time and money, the long-term benefits will ultimately outweigh the cost.
If you’d like a free cost analysis to find out how much a CRM or PRM system will be for your business, email me at email@example.com.
Jon Arancio, Vice President
Jon is the co-founder and Vice-President of Wintec Group Inc., a CRM software reseller and application support specialty firm. He helps clients implement Maximizer CRM, and provides outsourced application knowledge to firms who need the additional skills sets but are not looking to add support staff for this technology.
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