PRM: A Winning Strategy for Successful Indirect Sales
Before I proceed, I’d like to clear up any confusion that exists about the definition of PRM. In marketing, PRM is the acronym used for “Partner Relationship Management,” and not “Prospect Relationship Management,” as we often read.
A PRM designates the management of partner relationships and refers to the relationship that a company maintains with their distribution networks (ISV, MSP, VAR, Resellers...). The concept refers to the tools, processes, and strategies used by companies to manage the relationship with partners who sell their products.
Where Does Partner Relationship Management Come From?
Partner relationship management (PRM) is part of a strategic dimension that aims to improve alignment and communication between companies and their partners. It was born out of an ever-growing need for companies to rely on third-party (indirect) distribution partners to market their products.
Adopting Good Practices
In the acronym PRM, there is “RM”: It’s important to not lose sight of the fact that we are subscribing to a “relational” approach between a company and their partners. To be successful, partnerships need close collaboration between the various players involved in indirect sales and require a real-time communication channel. To simplify the exchange of information, PRM applications have emerged.
What is a PRM Application?
A PRM application is a collaboration tool that allows companies to better communicate and interact with their partners online. From lead/deal management, partner onboarding, and training through the sales process to performance management, the software helps network managers manage and streamline all indirect sales processes. The management software also makes it possible to support a perfectly healthy indirect sales environment with partners.
Who Uses the Tool?
Internal teams: Head of partnerships, Alliance managers, and general management, as well as the direct sales teams. Indeed, integrating a PRM tool into a CRM is more than useful, if only to preserve continuity between the opportunities coming from partners and sales teams.
Partners: Value-added resellers (VAR), Consultants, System Integrators (SI), Retailers, Independent Software Vendors (ISV), Wholesalers, Managed Service Providers (MSP) or Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM).
How is a PRM Relevant in the Support an Indirect Strategy?
PRM solutions were born out of a need to automate a business process in order to minimize time loss within the company and offer a better partner experience.
As partner programs develop, without PRM software, it is difficult to manage all resources manually from Excel files or legacy solutions. The other trap is to repurpose a CRM to manage partners. With inefficient opportunity management, rigid procedures, slow response times, lost emails, and dispersed information, these are outdated processes that are major obstacles in indirect sales.
Saving Time and Increasing Attractiveness
By equipping your company with a PRM solution, managing your indirect sales becomes simpler and saves time for your team. All activity related to the partner relationship is managed from a single tool. Implementing a PRM tool is a real competitive advantage, which will make partners more inclined to engage with your brand and allow you to work with the best of the best.
To be fully optimized, the partner relationship requires regular monitoring. Throughout the collaboration lifecycle, a PRM solution allows your internal teams to follow the activity of your partners. Thanks to this common tool, exchanges are facilitated, and all actors in the chain have the same information, at the same time.
What are the Advantages of a PRM for Managing Your Indirect Sales?
The basic idea is to treat your business partners, as customers by offering them a tool that gives them the means to succeed. On the other hand, a PRM application will allow you to store information and share expectations and objectives.
Foster Partner Engagement
By implementing a tool that simplifies partners’ daily life, you prove that you are engaged in the relationship. Even better, it shows consideration because you are taking significant measures to help them in your collaboration. Using a PRM allows you to strengthen partner relationships and foster a lasting, winning partnership.
Having Visibility over the Sales Pipeline Linked to Indirect Sales
Having a pipeline view dedicated to managing your opportunities is a real advantage. This visibility helps your indirect sales team transform your opportunities into sales, stay organized, and control a sales process that can be complex without a PRM tool.
Optimizing the Return on Investment
Opportunity conversion rate, sales funnel, average time spent per sale, etc...: With these Key Performance Indicators (KPI), your teams can optimize each stage of the journey and determine the actions to be taken to adapt better to your partners. In addition, the productivity gained by a PRM tool allows you to increase your number of partners without having to double the size of your teams. Another important point is that, since all the knowledge on your partners is centralized, teams do not lose valuable time and information when one Channel Partner Manager leaves and another takes their place.
How is a PRM Tool Structured?
A PRM application revolves around two connected and inseparable portals, providing advantages for all actors involved in indirect sales.
The PRM Platform
By monitoring performance and knowing partners, a PRM platform is the daily tool for your indirect sales team. It gathers all information concerning your partners into one place. A PRM platform can also be connected to a company's website to attract and recruit new partnerships. The forms facilitate partner registration and allow you to handle requests more easily.
The Partner Portal
The partner portal has secure access which promotes autonomy and sales efficiency. From this private portal, partners can exchange information (doc marketing, contract, etc.), register leads and deals, and monitor their development and the progression of their turnover.
What are the Key Features of a PRM Tool?
A PRM is made up of key features that offer essential advantages for your indirect sales.
Lead / Deal Registration
A PRM gives users visibility over all the leads and deals being registered and who has ownership over them. This allows management to easily eliminate conflicts between partners and sales agents since ownership is clearly defined and view the evolution of their indirect sales pipeline.
When deciding who a potential lead should go to, it’s important to have the most information possible to make the best decision. With a wide range of KPIs, a PRM offers keen insights into the performance of your partners so you can select the best-fit partner for the lead.
No need to distribute sales resources (documents, presentations, brochures, etc.) across multiple different channels. Now, resources can be shared with all your partners at once in one secure place, accessible at all times. You can rest assured that all your partners are using the most up-to-date documents when approaching your future customers.
Now, strategic planning can take place directly on your PRM in collaboration with your business partners. You can deploy training plans and track the progress of your partners, as well as collaborate on business and marketing plans.
Reporting is a key feature for monitoring the performance of your brand and partners in real-time. With the number of incoming leads, converted leads, current opportunities, etc., it’s easy to identify what strategies work to optimize your processes. By identifying the performance of your partners, you can give your time to the partners that need it most.