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What Is Partner Relationship Management and Why Is It Important?

Partner relationship management (PRM) is exactly what it sounds like—the process of managing relationships with your business partners. Good partner relationships can be invaluable to business success, and having a solid partner management strategy is what makes business relationships work.

As an organization, how do you manage a partner relationship? At Torchlite, we specialize in making that very process faster, simpler, more efficient, and overall better—for both you and your business partners. We do this through our partner relationship management software, which consolidates every piece of PRM into the same spot. But what exactly are all those pieces? And why is partnership relationship management important to business in the first place? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

What Is Partner Relationship Management in Business?

In the business world, partner relationship management (PRM) is the process of fostering, maintaining, growing, and evolving partnerships with other organizations. Companies form partnerships of various types—from distributors and resellers to simple affiliates—and as a result, each organization needs a strategy for handling multiple partnerships simultaneously. PRM strategy, then, is the plan a business uses when seeking out new partners, establishing business relationships, and ensuring that these relationships thrive. In other words, it’s a blueprint for developing successful, productive partnerships.

For a business, relationship management is critical for a number of reasons. Customer experience, market engagement, and even forming a positive brand image all come down to relationships—some with individual people, others with a target audience or organization. And because each relationship is different, there needs to be a well-established PRM strategy for partnerships as a whole.

What Does Partner Relationship Management Include?

Since PRM is a relationship-driven strategy, it involves addressing a wide range of complex processes and capabilities. Some of the things that will likely fall under the PRM strategy umbrella include:

  • Communications and reporting
  • Financial analytics and attribution 
  • Outbound marketing efforts
  • Resource sharing between organizations
  • Brand education for partners
  • Screening and selection of new partners
  • Agreement drafting and/or evaluation

Believe it or not, these are just a few of the things that PRM encompasses. Executing a PRM strategy becomes even more nuanced when you consider that each partnership has different processes for how each of these elements are handled. As you can see, PRM can get very complicated—very quickly—and having a good overall strategy is critical for not drowning in that complexity. While each relationship will have its individual goals, every relationship requires the same five basic components:

  1. Partner Assessment | Doing selection, screening, and establishment of new partnerships
  2. Agreement Structuring | Drafting terms for partnerships that clearly outline goals and benefits
  3. Communications | Creating open channels for sharing information, correspondence, and ideation
  4. Performance Tracking | Accurate attribution of partnership success—and the ability to show it
  5. Relationship Management | Having clear, well-executed plans for each stage of a partnership

What Is the Purpose of PRM?

The importance of PRM can be summed up by its five core principles. While the five components above set the stage, the five principles below guide the execution of PRM excellence:

  1. Connection | Making communication and information sharing simple, easy, and efficient
  2. Attribution | Knowing exactly what partnerships are successful and why—then sharing that data
  3. Innovation | Creating new and authentic ways to synergize your vision with business partners
  4. Organization | Establishing easy-to-navigate data tracking, reporting, and communication
  5. Transparency | Keeping everyone in the loop with PRM information—especially your partners

Business relationships of any type require these five principles to be truly successful. That said, how you deliver each of these principles will vary for each partnership depending on what kind of relationship you establish, what their goals are, and what benefits you can provide them. This is what makes PRM so challenging: how do you keep track of so many partnerships, when each has its own timeline, goals, and success metrics? 

Many companies struggle to create cohesive systems, sifting through disorganized documents, emails, and perhaps even written notes to keep their partner programs above water. Thankfully, there is a much better way to manage PRM strategy.

Partner Relationship Management [PRM] Platform designed for ease of use

Torchlite: A Relationship Manager at Your Fingertips

Are you sick of scrambling through multiple spreadsheets and emails, trying to make your partnerships work? Before you throw in the towel, turn to Torchlite: the best in PRM software. Our “Simply Intelligent” solution automates, consolidates, and streamlines every piece of relationship management into one platform—a platform that integrates into CRM platforms and many other tools you already use. But beyond that, our software also adapts to each partnership workflow, making it easy to create unique channels for each partner.

Torchlite gives you a single place to communicate with your partners, share resources, track their progress, and even give metrics to your adjacent teams. Gone are the days where you struggle to communicate the benefits of your partnerships to leadership staff, and gone are the days where PRM feels like an ever-evolving beast you struggle to hold the reins on. 

Take control of your partnership programs. Book a demo today and see how much easier PRM could be.

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.