PRM cost: What you may be missing

Updated April 22, 2024
Published in PRM Solution

The cost of your PRM and the professional services you use to manage it may have come up in a few budget conversations lately.

More and more companies are becoming money-conscious, cutting costs across the board to prepare for an impending economic downturn. And understanding the true cost of your PRM is critical to staying afloat.

So what should you do?

To gain control over your program and maintain your competitive edge, you need to get more value from your PRM software.

In this post, we will look at different aspects of the cost of PRM software and explain how you could reduce your total cost of ownership and improve your return on investment.

The 6 components that make up the total cost of a PRM 

PRM Cost Calculator

Subscription fees are probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the true cost of a PRM. But there are several other “hidden costs” of a PRM that can sneak up on you after you’ve made your final decision – and by then, it’s probably too late. Read on to find out what other costs you should take into account during a vendor evaluation. 

1. Licenses & modules add to PRM cost

SaaS-based PRMs typically have a monthly or annual subscription pricing plan. But not all plans are equal.

While some PRMs have unlimited partner, user, and admin licenses, others do not. Before you start your vendor evaluation, consider your needs. This includes how many internal and external people will be using your PRM and how those numbers may grow as your partner program and organization scale.

You’ll also want to create a list of specific requirements. Some subscription plans do not contain certain modules in their base plan. And unfortunately, some of the modules you really need could tack thousands of dollars onto your PRM cost. Common add-ons include:

  • Support
  • LMS modules
  • SSO
  • Reports and dashboards
  • Extra storage space
  • Automation
  • Content management

So it’s important to look for vendors with flexible, transparent pricing plans. That way, you can easily compare apples to apples. Consider leaving wiggle room in your budget for additional licenses and nice-to-have features that may not be in a base package.

2. Implementation can increase the cost of a PRM

Partnership team members don’t have the time to spend on a lengthy PRM implementation, nor do they usually have the expertise.

Most partnership teams default to engaging with a consulting firm or agency to set up PRMs for them. But these professional implementations can contribute to high PRM costs. And often, agencies don’t set organizations up for success. In addition, partner program details are constantly changing, and contacting an outside to make updates is time and cost inefficient.

The good news is that there are PRMs that any team member – even non-technical ones – can set up in a matter of days. These PRMs come with a documented onboarding process and a point-and-click configuration system that makes setting permissions, customization, and integrations a breeze. Instead of logging an IT ticket or reaching out to a third party, partner team members can make changes to the partner portal in lockstep with changes to their partner program, lessening overall PRM costs.

Plus, doing the implementation in-house is a great way to master your new PRM. Spending time exploring all of its channel management capabilities gives confidence and allows you and your team to use your PRM to its fullest.

3. Adoption and PRM cost

Adoption is key to engagement, so an intuitive PRM can instantly lower your total PRM cost. Using a PRM that makes sense to virtually everyone will reduce partner training needs and increase uptake.

The best PRMs also come with responsive support to answer questions and offer advice on how to boost partner adoption. They’ll also provide access to an extensive knowledge base admins can use to teach themselves and others.

So to keep your adoption costs low, look for a PRM where the user interface just makes sense and with reviews that highlight the ease of use.

4. Maintenance can up your PRM costs

PRMs need to be flexible enough to grow with your partner program. And that doesn’t just mean being able to upload new documents when they’re ready to share — it means that admins should be able to make major changes on the fly without having to do a full reimplementation.

Look for PRMs that allow admins to easily make sweeping changes to permissions, automated flows, integrations, certifications, agreements, notifications, and more – without disrupting your partners and without the help of IT.

Without the ability to change your PRM’s configuration yourself, not only are you limiting the ability to adjust your PRM to changes in your partner program, but are incurring additional services costs and the potential to totally derail the partner experience.

As your channel program grows and changes, so too will your PRM. If you can’t adjust your PRM’s configuration yourself, you risk running into problems that could cost you time and money. So make sure you can easily make changes independently to avoid a high PRM maintenance costs down the road.

5. The cost of PRM Integrations

Integrations are a key part of setting up and maintaining your PRM.

Most companies connect their PRM to other software, such as CRMs, but there are many other use cases for PRM integrations, from campaign management to global rewards payment, to accounts payable software. With so much to connect to, integrations should be as plug-and-play as possible. This limits the time it takes for IT to set them up and gets your team up and running faster (check out Easily integrate PRM with your CRM).

Of course, in some cases, your requirements can’t be served out of the box. Having a platform with a completely open API can help you connect to the applications you need.

6. Security & Compliance Costs

Data breaches and privacy violations can result in direct costs to your business, so make sure your PRM follows security best practices. You also want a system that helps you stay current with major data protection and privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA.

Many SaaS PRMs have readily available documentation on their governance, risk, and compliance posture that can be requested for review. In addition to self-attestation reports such as CAIQ and SIG Lite, look for penetration test results and recognized third-party security audit reports like SOC 2, and review them with your internal security team.

Next to security, seek out PRMs with a dedicated focus on data privacy. Makes sure to ask how the PRM can help you comply with GDPR and CCPA and confirm the PRM holds recognized credentials like SOC 2.

By keeping security and compliance costs in mind when selecting a PRM, you can avoid unexpected expenses down the line.

Pick the right PRM

PRMs and their associated costs can make or break your partner program. But if you follow the steps in this guide, you ensure that the PRM you select best suits your business needs and your budget. 

Want to learn more about how to choose the right PRM for you? Download our eBook, 9 Questions to Ask Before Selecting A PRM Solution, or contact us to discuss your unique needs.


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