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What Is a Partner Relationship Management System?

Partner relationship management systems help an organization to better build, foster, and organize their various partnerships. Knowing how to maintain multiple relationships—each with their own goals—is a critical part of business, especially for maintaining a strong brand image. But partner management isn’t something you should approach without a plan. You’ve got to have a strategy—but more importantly, you have to have the tools to execute that strategy.

Developing a partner relationship management strategy might seem overwhelming, but if you use the right core principles—and the right software—it becomes infinitely easier. Keep reading to learn more about creating a partner management framework and why solutions like Torchlite boost your efforts.

What Is Meant by Partner Relationship Management?

Partner relationship management (PRM) is a simple concept—the processes you use to manage business partnerships—but it’s much easier said than done. How you manage partners includes:

  • The ways you communicate with each partner—and how often you do so
  • Your ability to track success with data that you can show to partners and leadership
  • Being able to set goals with each partner that create a mutually beneficial relationship
  • Knowing how to make your partners feel like a valuable, irreplaceable piece of your portfolio
  • Optimization processes for relationships, including feedback loops and adaptable workflows

Organizations will form “partner programs,” or formal agreements to work together, including referral, reselling, distribution, collaboration, affiliate programs, and much more. Oftentimes, a company will have one or more partners of multiple types, meaning that the job of PRM gets far more complicated with each partner that’s added to a company’s portfolio. This is why it’s critical to have a universal set of principles that every partner program you have should follow.

5 Partner Relationship Management Best Practices

What are some guidelines you can use to craft a successful partnership portfolio? Torchlite strongly recommends using the following five principles for everything PRM you create:

  1. Connection | Staying in touch with your partners is obviously important, but “connection” is far more than just sending an automated email every week. You need to establish meaningful connections, and for a business that means sharing information, keeping up-to-date with your partner’s own news, and making sure you celebrate the milestones you accomplish together. 
  2. Attribution | Showing why partnerships have a positive impact on a business is possibly the most important (and most challenging) piece of PRM. ROI is always going to be on the mind of leadership staff, and for a PRM strategy to be successful, it needs to have ways to quickly communicate success. PRM best does this through attribution and targeted intent data. Financial tracking, data analytics, and integration into CRM platforms are all but essential to attribution.
  3. Innovation | Being innovative is such a common buzzword in business that it almost becomes rote. But surprisingly, it truly does matter for partnerships. The more you can make your partnerships unique to your business—be it through your incentives, resource sharing, or even simply your thoroughness with communication—you make yourself a much more valuable partner. Working with you should have benefits that your partners won’t find anywhere else.
  4. Organization | As you add partnerships to your portfolio, it quickly becomes hard to keep track of all of them. You can try to use email, documents, and various other disconnected tools, but eventually it’ll likely become a scattershot mess of data that’s nearly impossible to derive any real, actionable meaning from. Here is where a PRM platform like Torchlite shines bright, helping you keep everything consolidated to a single source of truth—one that integrates with CRM platforms and other useful partner tools like Crossbeam.
  5. Transparency | No one likes being kept out of the loop. But that goes double, possibly triple in the business world—where money, performance, and ultimately jobs are on the line. A good PRM strategy makes sure that both internal and external parties have visibility on the partnerships,  including adjacent departments and leadership staff (internal), as well as your partners themselves (external). Keeping yourself organized makes this much easier.
A toolbox for PRM full of World class resources

Improve Your Business Relationship Management With Torchlite

Many organizations tend to think of PRM as a strictly-human job because relationships are built by people. And while that is true, partnership management skills can only take you so far in the business world if you don’t have the tools to effectively manage your partner portfolio. Even the most skilled carpenter can only do so much with a simple hammer, after all.

Think of Torchlite as an entire toolbox for partner managers: it’s a software platform that provides an entire suite of tools, capabilities, and channels that can house an entire partner portfolio. On top of that, Torchlite’s “Simply Intelligent” software design makes it easy to customize workflows, channels, and portals for each partner, meaning that as your relationships evolve, Torchlite evolves alongside them. You’ll always have the tools you need and the ability to incorporate new ones through our seamless integration. Perhaps then, it’s better to think of Torchlite as not just a toolbox, but the entire tool shop.

It’s time to set fire to the old ways of PRM—and Torchlite is here to offer you the match. Book a demo with us today and see the power of PRM software for yourself.

Kelly Schwedland

Kelly Schwedland is the CEO of Torchlite, where he is at the forefront of scaling partner programs and revolutionizing the way businesses collaborate and drive growth, with a passion for driving revenue and fostering innovation through partnerships.