Successful partnerships with other businesses to scale a revenue channel means managing an increasing number of complex moving parts, each with its own number of details. Channel partner managers and administrators need a platform technology that enables them to meet the organizational and executional challenges in managing these business relationships. PRM software is designed to meet those needs.
Here we'll look at some ways that companies looking to perform well in business sub sectors demanding ever-faster and more efficient operations can use PRM technology as a core business solution.
What is a PRM Platform?
A PRM is a powerful software platform that is designed to enable digital management of revenue channel partners with a business that is strategizing to scale through those relationships. The PRM system is structured to accommodate and centralize the management of all facets of channel partnering activity. The function features of today's comprehensive integrated PRM platforms include:
- Channel partnership planning and structuring
- Channel partner recruiting and onboarding
- Training and certification of channel partners and their employees
- Communications scheduling, auto-prompting, and tracking
- Developing opportunities for channel partners
- Lead registration, lead routing, funnel management, lead nurturing
- Activity tracking and reporting
- Sales incentive programs
- Features to promote channel partners' engagement
- Channel partner self-service portal
- Streamlined processes for rapid channel partner recruiting
- External marketing and sales management tools
- Channel partner incentives and rewards programs
- Professional intra-channel conflict management
- Complete mutual cross-platform transparency
- Progress tracking and reporting
- Feedback tools for channel partners
- Automated systems for lead routing and sales funnel activity prompting and tracking
- Tools for management of marketing development funds (MDF)
- Asset co-branding, co-marketing, and co-selling facilitation
- A range of analyses of the channel partnership program
- Strategic planning for revenue channel short- and long-term growth
- Facilitation of best practices
- Seamless scalability
- Multitudinous other facets of revenue channel partner management
How Does a PRM Platform Work?
PRM technology is designed to make managing all the external moving parts within channel partner organizational structures much more efficient and convenient. The accuracy and remote management capabilities that a powerful fully-integrated PRM platform provides renders manual or non-networked digital systems obsolete.
The PRM software platform is architecturally structured to integrate seamlessly with a wide range of other business software programs and platforms, to constitute a comprehensive network system. Naturally, this setup enables much faster, more efficient, more mutually transparent, and more user-friendly digital systems for business operations.
Here are just some of the current fundamentals for successfully managing channel partner operations:
- A Partner Relationship Management (PRM) platform integrates business information and communications systems, to automate and otherwise simplify interactions between and support for channel partners.
- The PRM system establishes a comprehensive centralized system for managing channel partner relationships, including recruiting, onboarding, and training, performance tracking and reporting, communications management, rewards programs, conflict management, and much more.
- PRM software is designed to handle rapid scaling and broad-scope changes in operational training and methods of external marketing and sales partners.
- A top-tier PRM provides easy-to-use self-service tools that make participation convenient and efficient for channel partners and inspires confidence in the parent operation. For example, it enables remote access to training and certification materials and processes, marketing and sales information updates, lead processing, and other self-management tools that field partners need in order to succeed in reaching productivity benchmarks.
- PRMs customizes partner relationship maintenance functions with communication prompts and documentation tools, automated process workflows, progress tracking, rewards program management, and many other features for supporting, personalizing, and seamlessly scaling partner relationship operations.
Challenges in Managing Channel Partner Relationships
Managing partner relationships is a challenging area of business management, even with the best of technology. It first requires obtaining the right partners and setting up relationships with them for success. A PRM system overcomes these difficulties by:
- Identifying and attracting the best channel partner(s)
- Coordinating training and certifications of channel partners
- Automatically keeping partners well engaged
- Providing partners the autonomy to operate freely
- Providing informed business planning
- Facilitating rapid growth for channel partner enterprises
- Enabling optimal comprehensive oversight of channel activity
- Increasing efficiency in scaling channel partner operations
- Maintaining transparency between parties
- Automating many functions of partner relationship maintenance
- Facilitating and partially auto-managing partner communications
- Tracking performance metrics and reporting
- Managing MDF for allocation to channel partners
- Supporting administration of conflict resolution
- Delivering analyses to support strategic management planning
- Many other functions to increase effectiveness of relationship management
PRM and Lead Management
The core of channel partner operations is, of course, lead management. A top-tier PRM platform may integrate your current lead management system (LMS).
Whether you're using the PRM's native LMS program or your integrated stand-alone LMS, the PRM can be expected to support your channel partners' lead data and sales funnel activity management and tracking processes.
Just some lead management activities in your LMS that a PRM supports can include:
- Lead routing
- Lead qualification
- Lead profile-building
- Sales pipeline communications prompting
- Tracking and reporting
- Automatic workflow management
- Automated and follow-up prompting for lead nurturing processes
External marketing and sales can be most effective through the efficiencies of digital marketing and sales management made possible with a top-tier PRM software with everything from recruiting data gathering and analysis, to lead management processes, to business planning.
Why Does My Business Need a PRM Platform?
While external marketing and sales associations serving business revenue channels are widely diverse in kind and operational modes, they need their own particular versions of the tools to enable support for channel partners. PRM platforms accommodate vast scaling and ever-expanding scopes of strategic changes and methods and other adaptations.
The days of struggling to build a regional, national, or global brand using spreadsheets and manual workflow methods are gone. PRM technology now makes it incomparably more efficient and convenient for channel partner managers to control the highly complex relationships of multifaceted partnerships.
Sometimes company managers understand what PRM systems are and what they do, but it can still be difficult for them to appreciate the extraordinary value that this PRM software platform can deliver for their business. This disconnect, unfortunately, causes many businesses to miss growth opportunities and even to lose existing market share.
That happens because competitors are increasingly better positioned to take fuller advantage of resources such as these provided by modern PRM technology:
- PRM workflow logic
- Automation features
- Communications prompting tools
- Instant cross-departmental referencing power
- User-friendly self-service provisions for external marketing and sales teams
These advantages naturally make the PRM platform a game-changer for experienced channel managers.
If your vision for your business involves successfully scaling channel partner operations, you're going to find that PRM software is your best option for uniting and controlling your various channel operations and management systems in order to best support your channel partners' efforts.
The Future of PRM
PRMs generate untold wealth of business intelligence, all while making the formerly unwieldy complexities of external marketing and sales satellite operations organized, visible, and more manageable than in the pre-PRM business era.
It makes sense that the worldwide PRM software market is booming. Forrester's PRM report explains that annual PRM software sales volume is at US $350 million for revenues alone per year, and an additional half-billion dollars in peripheral technology services. According to the Forrester report, the PRM market is anticipated to exceed US $679 million worldwide in the next several years. This is a staggering period of expansion, establishing PRM technology as an integral organizational component for businesses looking to scale revenue channel partnering systems.
The astounding growth of the PRM software and support industry clearly enough indicates that PRM is the necessary way of the future for today's competitive organizations in virtually any business subsector of the global economy. This business case especially applies to those positioning for aggressive revenue channel growth through external marketing and sales partnering relationships.
For PRM Advice and Systems Implementation
If you would like more information about PRM software and platform integration, or to discuss optimizing channel partner management systems, contact Manobyte to speak to one of our PRM experts.