June 22, 2021 | 10 Min Read

What is a PRM? +4 Best Use Cases of a Partner Portal for Manufacturers

Posted By
Kevin Dean
Share

PRM or Partner Relationship Management is any combination of strategies, methodologies, software, or web applications that businesses using a distribution channel can use to communicate with their channel partners. Although they look and sound similar, PRM and CRM are not interchangeable terms, and relying only on CRM strategies and technology solutions often fall short of what channel managers (and channel partners) need to successfully get their products and services to end users.

To get started, here are the PRM terms used throughout this post:

  • PRM Strategy: Any combination of PRM solutions within a business used to manage partner relationships
  • PRM Solution: The tool or system, not inherently software-based, to help manage partners and partner relationships
  • Technology or Platform: software, either downloadable or web-based

Who should have a PRM strategy?

Businesses who do not sell directly to their end users will benefit the most from a PRM strategy. Industries like manufacturing, building materials, automotive, insurance, SaaS, and even hospitality and recreation that sell at least in part through a distribution channel should have an effective PRM strategy.

Businesses who primarily sell to their customers should consider a CRM solution.

What is a PRM solution/technology?

While PRM is not inherently a single platform, the market for technology-based PRM solutions has grown significantly in the last ten years. PRM technologies can be downloaded software (think the Adobe or Microsoft Suites) or web- or cloud-based solutions (think Google Drive or HubSpot). While PRM technologies may vary depending on the distribution channel they’re designed for, generally they offer services like:

  • Partner portal
  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • Sales analytics
  • Incentive/loyalty program management
  • Marketing and brand management
  • Product information management
  • Multi-language capabilities

A PRM solution is everything a channel manager needs to work with their partners combined in one place, cutting down on time spent searching through hard drives, cloud storage spaces, and even paper files.

Not sure if you need a Partner Portal or a Full PRM? Let's Chat

 

Benefits of PRM Platforms

Benefits of PRM Software and Partner Portals

Consolidation & Organization of Information

One theme of 21st century technology is consolidation, and that’s what PRM technologies are offering you. PRM platforms consolidate everything your distribution channel needs, from product information to marketing guidelines to training materials, into one login. As the channel manager, you can see and manage everything from one place, and your channel partners can access everything they need from you in one place.

Better Channel Communication

Not only does a PRM platform work to consolidate and organize all the operations within your channel, a good platform will also provide efficient communication between you and your partners. The ability for partners to communicate their feedback, questions, and concerns is important, too. A PRM solution that promotes collaboration can bring in new ideas from your channel partners and address issues in a timely manner.

Variety of Tools for Partners & Manufacturers

Not every PRM platform will have all these resources, but here’s a rundown of some things you might want to be looking for:

  • Partner Portal: This is what your partners will see when they login. A partner portal provides access to all the materials you give partners. This could be marketing and branding guidelines, access to apply for and track a loyalty program, training or certification materials, and product information, pricing, and inventory.
  • Product information: Upload and update product information as necessary.
  • Sales Analytics: Track each partner on their goals or view overall product sales.
  • Incentive/loyalty program management: Set up an incentive program to encourage sales of your product or service, then track partner progress and implement rewards.
  • Marketing and Brand Management: Set guidelines for how your partners use your logos and marketing materials.
  • Training and Certification: Provide access to training videos or online certification to help partners better understand your product.
  • Automation: A PRM platform could automate some functions to save time. Say you add a new product to your platform or upload a new training video—you could set up an email automation where all of your partners get a notification to their inbox of certain changes.

Selecting a PRM platform

If your current PRM strategy is bogging you and your partners down and you struggle managing things like tracking partner sales goals, marketing and branding consistency, and implementing a loyalty program, it’s time to consider a new PRM solution. But where should you start?

Not all distribution channels are the same, and different PRM technologies are built for different sizes and shapes of channels, and for different industries. Three things to consider when you start your PRM technology search:

  • Size of your channel (and how big you’d like it to grow)
  • Your industry
  • Budget

Size of your channel

Everyone wants their business to grow, but how big your channel currently is will help determine what you need right now and in the near future to start your PRM solution. Some PRM solutions are built for small, start-up channels, while others have huge, international channels in mind with capabilities to work in multiple languages and across many boarders. If your channel is currently experiencing rapid growth, look for a PRM solution that grows with you or allows you to add on tools as you need them.

Larger channels might have some existing PRM systems, and completely overhauling the channel flow isn’t possible. Look for a PRM solution that can integrate with other software.

Your Industry

Not every channel has the same needs, so not every PRM technology offers the same functions. A building materials manufacturer might be looking to implement an incentive program for distribution partners or connect contractors with valuable installation and support materials.

Budget

Money is almost always an object. Consider what you need out of a PRM the most and the soonest, and if there are options to acquire additional modules later.

Also consider the price of licensing out to your partners. Does a solution charge per individual partner or do the prices go up incrementally (price per 50, price per 500)?

Then consider the internal and/or external resources that will be required to setup of your PRM out of the box and with any custom features.

How much would it cost? Access our pricing calculator ≫

PRM Platforms to consider

Some popular PRM technology solutions:

    • MindMatrix
    • Oracle Partner Portal
    • Salesforce PRM
    • Impartner
    • Zinfi
    • PartnerStack
    • Allbound
  •  

Best Use Cases of a Partner Portal for Manufacturers

Best Use Cases for a PRM or Partner Portal

Communicate Order Lead Times and Shipment Notices

Because a partner portal's database is dynamic and often hosted on the cloud, you can provide real-time product lead status's and delivery information to your partners. This is critical as dealers and distributors need know when they will have inventory back in stock for their customers and customers need to know whether or not to wait a couple days or find an alternative source for their current project. Learn more about solving for lead time communication.

Training & Installation Information

Your partner portal is the best place for information regarding training and installation for your products. Contractors and builders can complete courses to earn certifications in your products or use installation guides and videos on-site via a mobile device to ensure your product was installed correctly and performs as expected for the customer.

Marketing Campaigns-in-a-Box

Marketing gets tricky though the channel, to say the least. A partner portal with a selection of pre-set campaigns gives your channel partners the power to market effectively for you. A partner portal with built-in marketing automation makes marketing even easier with the ability launch a campaign as a partner and monitor the results.

View Social Media Post Examples for Channel Marketing≫

Generating Demand With Dealer Incentives

Dealer incentive programs have been around for some time, but a partner portal gives both dealers and manufacturers more capability to execute and track incentives. A partner portal can give manufacturers the tools to build, implement, and track incentive programs, as well as offer different types of incentives beyond Amazon gift cards and marketing dollars. At the end of the day, a good incentive program motivates the individual humans with boots on the ground at your dealer showrooms and distribution centers. A PRM ensure you can track and analyze individualized data to improve your incentive programs.

Certain PRM platforms allow manufacturers to create rewards programs that track specific team members at their partner companies to reward top sellers or encourage additional training among contractors.

Next Steps

Identify the gaps in your current PRM strategy and prioritize what needs to be addressed first and what resources you can allot to adapting a new system.

PRM shouldn’t have to be stressful, and PRM platforms are made to consolidate and simplify the ways you work with your channel partners. If you’re spending less time tracking down information or making sure it gets to your partners, your entire channel can spend more time getting your product in the hands of your ideal end users.

If you're looking to keep your channel management all in one place using the HubSpot CRM, take a look at our Partner Deals Portal App, which syncs indirect sales deal registration directly into your own HubSpot sales pipeline so you can manage true sales forecasts. Learn more >>

ManoByte's Approach to Channel Programs, Download

Pricing & Availability

View pricing for ManoByte's sales enablement, partner enablement, marketing automation, and advanced web development solutions. We specialize in building automated systems to achieve alignment between marketing, direct & indirect sales, and operations for building products manufacturers.

If your annual goals involve increasing revenue from indirect sales channels including distributors, dealers, builders, contractors, fabricators, architects, engineers, facilities managers, DIYers, etc... we can help.

Topics: For Channel Managers, Technology, For Marketing Directors

Related Posts

Channel Operations | For Channel Managers

Channel Enablement

What is Channel Enablement? Channel enablement is the process of providing channel partners with the information, content, and tools to help them sell...

Read More
For Channel Managers | Technology | For Marketing Directors

How Much Does PRM Management Cost?

It's entirely possible you've already tried various out-of-the-boxpartner relationship management (PRM) solutions, yet you've been unable to find the ...

Read More
Looking Ahead | For Channel Managers | For C-Level Executives

The Growing Role of Channel Partner Ecosystems

Following in step with the progression of other industries that leverage distribution partners to go-to-market, the building materials industry is fac...

Read More
For Channel Managers | For Sales Directors

How to Make A SPIFF for Channel Partner Enablement

Sometimes it takes a little more "umph" to get your channel partners motivated to educate their prospects further about your offerings and have prefer...

Read More
Process | For Channel Managers | For C-Level Executives

20+ Components of Successful Channel Management

To be successful at managing your channel distribution strategy requires intentional management by you, the manufacturer, and yields highest returns w...

Read More
Process | For Channel Managers | Technology

8 Functions of a Channel Partner Portal

As brands increasingly use channels, partnerships, and alliances as a primary vehicle to reach customers, managing these relationships in a consistent...

Read More
People | For Channel Managers | For C-Level Executives

What is Channel Enablement?

Channel enablement gives you the ability to manage, measure, and maintain a consistent and scalable channel marketing strategy and measurable indirect...

Read More
People | For Channel Managers

How to Get Architects & Contractors to Agree on Your Building Product

Building materials manufacturers and their direct and indirect sales reps often get the short end of the stick when general contractors and architects...

Read More
For Channel Managers | Technology | For Marketing Directors

Key Components of Digital Asset Libraries for Partners

The level of communication and how well you compile marketing collateral for your partners to use is equally as important as the quality of your physi...

Read More