What is PRM or Partner Relationship Management?

On this blog we often talk about how to optimize your channel success with a Partner Relationship Management, or PRM tool like Channeltivity, but we wanted to take a step back and really define what PRM is and how it differs from other tools, including the common mix of spreadsheets and CRM that early programs often try to navigate.

PRM stands for partner relationship management, which refers to the business processes vendors use to manage the outside companies that resell their product in the channel. PRM also refers to software suites that vendors may use to automate some of these processes.

Vendors sometimes make the mistake of thinking that CRM – customer relationship management – is more or less interchangeable with PRM or that CRM software can be used to manage channel partners. But this misses that there’s a big difference between partners and end customers, and between the activities required to manage indirect and direct sales.

what-is-prmPartners require a specific type of support, much different than the support your direct sales team might need. With a well-designed PRM system, channel managers are able to provide a single place for partners to easily access all the information they need to sell successfully. It establishes access for partners to quickly and easily register their deals, access market development funds (MDF), and find product info.

A CRM program like Salesforce.com is an important part of most organizations, but without PRM to support it, channel results will be sub-optimal. Channel managers will need labor intensive methods to make CRM work for managing partners and as the number of partners expands, those methods will limit growth.

An advantage Channeltivity’s PRM offers is that both direct and indirect sales can still work in Salesforce CRM and both channel and end customer data is reportable there (with the Channeltivity Salesforce Edition). The interface between the two programs is user friendly and easy for everyone to use. See how here. Partners can login, download product info, quickly register deals and report on how they’re advancing. It allows them to be self-sufficient and feed insight into the business they are looking to close with you.

With a PRM solution, channel managers can shed the spreadsheets and manage everything, a partner portal for your partners to quickly access content, lead management, deal registration, robust reporting on partner success and even joint business planning, in one optimized solution.