What Is a Self-Service PRM?

Updated April 18, 2024
Published in Partner Relationship Management System, PRM Solution

If you need a PRM, you need a self-service PRM.

Most channel folks have realized by now that they need a partner relationship management tool to manage and scale their partner program. 

But just any PRM isn’t going to work. What they really need is a self-service PRM, a flexible platform that admins can easily reconfigure as changes arise — without IT’s help.

Nobody wants to waste IT’s time or spend money on professional services. Using a self-service PRM avoids unnecessary costs and delays, giving you an edge over other channel programs.

In this post, we’ll clarify:

  • How a PRM can be self-service
  • How a self-service PRM helps partner ops
  • 10 things to look for when evaluating self-service PRMs for your organization

How can a PRM be Self-Service?

self-service prm

There are two ways in which a Partner Relationship Management solution can be self-service:

  1. Giving Partners access to resources and the ability to exchange data in an easy-to-use, self-service portal.
  2. Allowing the Channel Team to implement, configure, and maintain the PRM solution without assistance from IT, consultants, or the PRM vendor.

Both areas are critical for channel success. However, most PRM platforms only focus on one side of the equation: partner self-service, leaving the channel team in the dark.

Below, we’ll explain why finding a self-service PRM that caters to partners and admins is critical.

How a Self-Service PRM Helps Partner Ops

Partner ops employees are constantly trying to improve the partner experience. And many of the changes they make to optimize the partner program need to be reflected in the partner portal.

Admins should be able to make these changes on the fly, without development help. Self-service PRMs can help admins: 

  • Change partner tiers or requirements – Self-service PRMs have point-and-click back-end settings that dictate what partners can and cannot do within each tier. Admins can check and uncheck boxes to modify permissions in real time.
  • Company rebranding – Whenever your company goes through a rebranding, one of the first things you have to do is update every channel with your new logo. Self-service PRMs allow admins to easily adjust logo and global color scheme. 
  • Changing territories and assignments – There are bound to be changes to partner territories and lead distribution rules at the start of a new quarter or year. Self-service PRMs make these changes simple with editable workflows that automatically set territories by pulling in the contact information of partners in your portal.

That’s not all:

  • Adding new content and co-branded marketing materials – Partner marketing teams publish new content regularly that you want to share with your partners. Self-service PRMs make sharing that new content to a resource library or co-branded collateral module as straightforward as possible.
  • Updating deal registration fields to match product or CRM changes – In self-service PRMs, admins have the ability to adjust available fields in nearly every aspect of the portal. If sales teams decide they need more information on referrals or your product suite has changed, admins can simply add or edit existing fields.
  • Adding training materials – Enablement teams may want to revamp your training program or add new lessons based on product releases. Self-service PRM admins can upload those new materials to the portal in a matter of minutes.

10 Features To Look For in a Self-Service PRM

While the benefits of a self-service PRM are promising, they’re unachievable without the right tool. So as you evaluate vendors, here are ten things you need to keep in mind:

1. Simple setup and intuitive UI – One key benefit of self-service PRMs is getting partner teams and their partners up and running quickly. Seek out partner portals with an intuitive UI and easy setup process for your PRM admins. Even better, find a self-service PRM solution with fantastic customer support to help if admins get stuck along the way.

2. Granular profiles and permissions – You should be able to control who can see, download, and interact with various parts of the portal. A detailed permissions structure allows you to cultivate relevant, tailored experiences for partners based on industry, size, and geo. 

3. Streamlined partner onboarding – Verify that self-service PRM vendors have an easy, quick onboarding process. Partners should be able to enter their company information and sign T&Cs. In addition, they should also use in-app guidance to find where they can submit deals, request marketing development funds, download marketing materials, view reports, and get certified. Likewise, admins should be able to modify this workflow whenever they need to.

You need to look carefully at portal features, too:

4. Resource library – A major purpose of partner programs is spreading brand awareness. But your partners can’t do so without ample marketing materials. Make sure that the self-service PRMs you’re considering have a built-in resource library. You should be able to upload and notify partners whenever new documents are published. Uploading new content should be super simple for admins, too.

5. Partner training and certification – To sell your product, your channel needs to understand how it works. Look for a self-service PRM with partner training and certification capabilities out-of-the-box. Ask if you get unlimited lessons, how the quizzing structure works, and how much you can customize certification requirements. You should also have the freedom to integrate with the most popular LMS platforms. Those integrations should be easy enough for admins to configure.

6. Deal registration and lead distribution – Closing deals is every partner program’s main goal. Most self-service PRMs will have deal registration, lead distribution, and referral management features, but it’s important to confirm ease of use. Make sure partners won’t get bogged down in forms. Admins should be able to configure workflows so that deals flow straight to your CRM.

7. Marketing support – Many companies offer marketing development funds to their partners. If that’s a part of your program, validate that requesting and approving those funds is a breeze. You should also look for platforms with co-branded collateral modules to help partners use your messaging in their GTM plans.

But wait, there’s more:

8. Automation – Your self-service PRM should have plenty of opportunities to automate everyday partner activities. Email marketing, MDF or deal expiration notifications, and syncs with your CRM should happen without human intervention. 

9. Reporting – A significant benefit of self-service PRMs is that you don’t have to check in with your partners as often — you can see their activity in reports and dashboards. Admins should be able to create reports with rich data regarding pipeline health, partner activity history, geographic coverage, and more.

10. Easy integrations – You want deals to flow to your sales team as quickly as possible, so be sure your self-service PRM has direct integrations with CRMs like Salesforce and HubSpot. You should also look for platforms with an open API so admins can connect your PRM to any other systems you might need to.

Accelerate Your Partner Program

As companies grow, scaling their partner program without a self-service PRM becomes unsustainable. Admins need to be able to make changes to the portal on their own, without bothering IT. And partners need to be able to access resources, register deals, and co-market whenever is convenient for them.

Self-service PRMs are the comprehensive solution to this problem. You control the partner experience but give partners autonomy over their relationship with you. They can learn and work on their own time while you track their behavior. And with all that data in one place, you can develop playbooks to maximize revenue and brand awareness at each stage of the partner lifecycle.

Channeltivity’s self-service PRM can do all that and more. Its all-in-one channel management portal simplifies deal registration, MDF management, channel lead management, training, and CRM connectivity. On top of all that, Channeltivity’s intuitive system takes just days for admins to set up without IT help, getting your PRM up and running quickly. Ready to accelerate your partner program? Book a demo with a Channeltivity expert today.


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