A PRM software is an important tool for building, organizing, and scaling your partner program. But like any software, it can't do it all. The key question, then, becomes which software can help you surpass PRM software's limitations?
At the end of the day, there are aspects of managing partners that go beyond the PRM and its partner portals. Even the best PRM software can't encompass all of the intricacies of a partner ecosystem. Partner managers must learn how to find programs that can integrate seamlessly with their current tech as well as the team's daily activities.
Just like a partnership ecosystem embodies multiple facets and types of operations, so should your tech stack. The programs you use should boost your partner relationship management efforts and streamline your success.
- 1. Goals of Partnership Relationship Management
- 2. Challenges of PRM Software
- 2.1. Siloed Partnerships
- 2.2. Siloed Business Operations
- 2.3. No Data Sharing Between Multiple Partners
- 3. 10 Best Software to Use With Your PRM
- 3.1. Customer Relationship Management
- 3.1.1. HubSpot
- 3.1.2. Pipedrive
- 3.2. Ecosystem Mapping
- 3.2.1. Crossbeam
- 3.2.2. Reveal
- 3.3. Partnership Recruitment
- 3.3.1. Lemlist & LinkedIn
- 3.4. Communication
- 3.4.1. Slack
- 3.4.2. CloudTalk
- 3.5. Support
- 3.5.1. Help Scout
- 3.5.2. Zendesk
- 4. Conclusion
Table of contents
Partnership relationship management is a combination of strategies, processes, and software used to organize partnerships with companies that sell products/services for a vendor. Partner relationship management works to nurture and sustain these relationships to bring mutual value to all parties.
Goals of partner relationship management will vary depending on the company, program, and objectives, but they often include strategies for the following topics:
Expanded brand reach
Increased partner engagement
Decreased partner churn
And many more
The tasks, information, and operations needed to accomplish these goals are organized and centralized using PRM software.
Partnership programs have a variety of objectives, each of which has unique requirements. Since the introduction of the concept of partnerships, a wider variety of partnership programs are now available.
Companies in the technology and SaaS sectors now have multi-tier affiliate and referral programs in addition to resellers. These companies are searching for software that will foster a much more collaborative and agile partner ecosystem to accommodate their diverse partnerships.
While PRM software can be a game-changer when it comes to providing partner portals, streamlining lead/deal registration, collecting data, and enhancing content management, there are some challenges they present you must be aware of:
Siloed is defined as being separated or isolated in a way that prevents collaboration and communication.
Effective communication and a collaborative environment are the defining characteristics of all successful organizations. But when the groups work independently rather than collaboratively, team silos, or isolated teams, are created. It lessens output and efficiency and slows development.
So, when we talk about siloed partnerships on PRM software, we mean that there is no provision for you and your partners to collaborate and work together as a unified whole to build joint solutions.
Partners in the modern ecosystems demand cross-partner workflows where you can specify the actions, states, approvals, and policies to follow and collaborate.
Each ecosystem partner benefits from the other in this setup.
Siloed business operations on a PRM means that a portal does not provide opportunities for your ecosystem partners to collaborate on projects through co-innovation, co-marketing, co-selling, or co-investment.
PRM solutions require you to create and maintain a unique custom integration for each partner to connect with live data from them.
That presents several difficulties, such as:
Each new partner you want to work with requires you to create and maintain a new integration.
The connection frequently breaks due to API changes.
Most businesses don't want to go through the trouble of building so many integrations, so they default to letting partner managers manually update their PRM from their CRM system or, worse yet, track their partner activities on spreadsheets, which leads to errors, inaccurate, and out-of-date information in your PRM.
We recommend the following software in addition to a PRM to avoid silos, isolation, and partner pain points, as well as to effectively enhance your ecosystem's operations.
Integrating your PRM and CRM allows you to optimize the impact of your indirect ecosystem and keep everything coherent with your direct sales. Since all the information is gathered in a single database, you can establish more reliable, data-driven sales forecasts.
HubSpot CRM, a cloud-based software platform for customer relationship management, enables businesses to optimize their marketing and sales efforts to develop a strong partner strategy.
Combining the unique strengths of your PRM with Hubspot can help you build a successful partnership strategy and a knock-out sales strategy.
Among its many features, it provides an array of tools to generate qualified leads and increase inbound sales, and can even be directly integrated to support the creation, streamlining, and scaling of partner programs.
To support you, your sales team, your partners, and the overall expansion of your business, data can flow back and forth between the platforms without any problems.
Pipedrive is a system designed to assist your sales teams in maintaining organization, managing their pipelines, and focusing on the best opportunities.
Pipedrive is a simple, user-friendly software that makes it easy for users to link activities and connect their contacts to individual deals. All while, making it easier to log information in a way that's both organized and easy to digest.
With Pipedrive's features:
Your calls and emails can be automatically tracked, organized, and schedules can be synced between devices.
Your leads can be easily imported, given to your salespeople, and moved through the various phases of the sales cycle.
You can view a summary of all active deals you have, along with some summary data for each.
An ecosystem of partnerships—also referred to as a bi-directional ecosystem—is made up of a variety of channels, technology, and strategic alliances. The main goal of these is to raise output and simplify processes for workers.
Ecosystem or account mapping is comparing and cross-referencing your partners' accounts to find new opportunities and/or channel conflict.
Crossbeam is a platform for partner ecosystems that assists you in developing strategic roadmaps for partner activities and finding a source of fresh leads and connections with your partners.
Crossbeam is a platform that serves as a data escrow service that analyzes partner programs and enables you to take advantage of opportunities more quickly when your partner's prospects or opportunities coincide with your existing connections.
To create co-selling opportunities with your partners, Crossbeam also enables you to compare target account lists. You can simply compare data from your customer pipeline to that of your partners to map accounts. These lists can be cross-referenced with one another to uncover a vast array of opportunities such as co-marketing, co-selling, building collaborative case studies, and new integrations.
Reveal is a platform that enables you to connect with businesses in your ecosystem and securely compare your CRM data, giving your partnership, marketing, and sales teams a way to generate revenue.
“ Reveal believes it is crucial to back everything up with data. To be more precise, one must show value through data and do it in the initial stages of the partner program to get internal trust and organization-wide buy-in. Without that, you may be seen as a low-impact organization and start losing credibility. “ - Jo Wright, Reveal’s VP of Sales & Partner Success
To get a real-time view of your partners, you can use Reveal to securely connect your PRM with other businesses in your ecosystem. With this benefit, you can know when a deal is sourced or won through your partners’ influence, and track the total amount of profit that was generated by your partners.
Partner recruitment is an essential aspect of scaling your program and building strong partner relationships from the first touchpoint.
Lemlist allows you to launch simultaneous email and LinkedIn messaging campaigns. It's usually used by SaaS companies and small businesses to streamline their lead generation activities.
You can use a Lemlist and LinkedIn automation together to get the most out of your partner's recruitment strategy and close more deals by engaging with your leads across multiple channels on autopilot. You can learn how to do this step-by-step in our newest eBook.
Effective communication is fundamental for effective partnerships. While PRMs do facilitate communication, transparency, and trust, sometimes it is worth diversifying modes of communication, depending on the partner’s operations and needs.
Slack is a cloud-based, real-time messaging and notification platform that keeps important conversations in shared spaces and out of communication silos.
It’s an acronym that stands for Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge.
For interactive team collaboration, Slack offers direct chat, a better alternative to email. This promotes transparency and keeps your team on the same page, informed, and current throughout each project.
You can use Slack in partnerships to:
Communicate with top-performing partners.
Designate specific channels for the needs, inquiries, and support of partners.
Get real-time notifications. This is beneficial for supporting continuous integration and complete visibility into everything that occurs in co-marketing and co-selling projects.
Slack has helped businesses get more out of their work and lives by eradicating barriers between various teams. Businesses of all sizes have seen measurable advantages from utilizing Slack as their main team communications tool.
CloudTalk is an all-in-one cloud contact center for businesses of any size. This valuable tool helps in expanding sales and support teams, as well as providing an easy-to-navigate user interface to support businesses' marketing and outreach efforts.
CloudTalk offers native integrations. With the 2-way sync solutions, you can access call details in your CRM or view caller information for partners and potential partners in CloudTalk.
Their extensive network of telco partners allows you to connect with your stakeholders anywhere in the world without any problems.
And we can’t forget about analytics!
Your team can measure and enhance communication using cutting-edge call center analytics and monitor performance using real-time analytics.
Providing support to partners at each juncture of their operations improves the overall partner experience and can give you a competitive edge over other businesses.
Offering support in partner programs can also increase program ROI to levels that would be challenging to achieve with disengaged, unmotivated, and dissatisfied partners.
Help Scout provides expanding businesses with the flexibility and visibility they need to provide scalable support through features like shared email, live chat, knowledge bases, reports, and much more.
Help Scout is a specialized support platform created for growing teams to provide best-in-class service for your partners. When you sign up, you gain access to a vast array of tools, all of which are designed with support in mind.
With a knowledge base that is intended for self-service, you can cut your support volume by at least 30%.
By providing knowledge base articles using the Beacon help widget, you can respond to frequently asked questions and decrease the number of email requests you receive. This will make your partners happier and result in a scalable program.
Zendesk is a cloud-based customer support platform that provides a range of features to streamline customer service for businesses.
You can use the Zendesk features regardless of the type of business you run. This includes SMBs, retailers, HR teams, enterprises, educational institutions, and IT teams, as it was created for a variety of users.
Thousands of tickets can be handled per hour on the Zendesk help desk platform, which can be used by 5 to 500 support agents.
The software efficiently assists businesses in boosting productivity, enhancing customer satisfaction, and cutting costs. It is a one-stop shop that provides your company with all the customer support features it needs.
Partnership ecosystems are intricate and dynamic. Technology stacks must be built to accommodate these complexities, as well as the unique needs of your program.
Finding tools for additional organization, communication, data collection, and partner support will help to improve partner satisfaction and increase scalability.
By placing an intuitive PRM software at the heart of your tech stack and growing it outwards, you'll create holistic operations that ensure enabled and engaged partners for the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the best software to use for PRM?
We might be a tad biased, but the best PRM software is Kiflo, the only partnership platform built to empower smbs and their programs.
What software should I use with my PRM?
The software you choose to use with your PRM software will depend on the requirements of your program operations. At the core, supplementary software should boost transparency, data collection, communication and support.
What is a partnership ecosystem platform?
Partner ecosystem software assists businesses in creating and maintaining a network of strategic partners, using a collection of tools that can be used to eliminate time-consuming tasks, track progress, and evaluate overall partner performance.
Should I use a CRM with my PRM software?
A CRM supports direct sales to customers, while a PRM is used for indirect sales and managing partnerships. CRMs and PRMs are used together to help optimize multi-channel sales approaches.
What are the best tools to help with partner relationship management?
We recommend using tools such as Crossbeam, HubSpot, and Slack to help boost your program’s operations, the data collection process, and partner engagement.