What Is the Purpose of PRM?
For many businesses, identifying potential partners—and cultivating productive relationships with them—plays an important role in fueling growth. Like any relationship, though, a business partnership must be carefully approached and strategically developed. In other words, a certain amount of partner management—or partner relationship management (PRM)—is necessary.
Understanding the PRM meaning in business (vs. PRM in finance or aviation, for example) is the best place to start. So what, exactly, is partner relationship management? Salesforce defines PRM as “a generic term to describe a tool that helps companies manage their partners.” More broadly, the term “PRM” can be used to describe strategies, frameworks, or tools an organization uses to streamline and enhance their partner programs—from identifying potential partners to building productive and mutually beneficial relationships with them.
What Are the Functions of PRM?
The exact functions of PRM will vary from one organization or industry to the next, and can be leveraged at different points throughout the partner development process. As TechTarget notes, some of the most common solutions needed of a PRM program include things like:
- Onboarding and Training
- Content Management
- Deal Registration
- Lead Distribution
- Marketing Development Funds
- Pricing and Offers
- Project tracking
- Sales Analytics
What Is the Advantage of PRM?
Effective PRM provides a repeatable framework for identifying potential partners, developing meaningful and mutually-beneficial relationships with them, and maintaining those partnerships over time. Moreover, modern PRM tools are equipped with features that can streamline these processes, which can save an organization both time and money.
All too often, the potential challenges of PRM cause businesses to “stand pat” with the state of their partner program, especially if it has seemed to be working. It’s not that these companies are complacent, however—rather, it’s that one of the biggest challenges of partner programs is tracking their ROI. Fortunately, modern PRM software platforms are designed to help organizations with functions like financial attribution—tracking the ROI of different elements of the partner program, in other words. By using a PRM platform like Torchlite, company leaders can analyze the data and use it to plot their next moves.
What Is a Good PRM Framework?
A good PRM framework is one that provides a structured process for identifying potential partners and developing successful and productive business relationships. While it’s always important to remain flexible—ready to adjust as new challenges arise—having a solid foundational framework is important. Consider this step-by-step example of a partner relationship management process:
- Define your goals. Why are you thinking about setting up a partner program? How could partnerships benefit your business, and how could becoming your partner benefit both organizations? Ensuring that both partners will benefit from the partnership should be the first priority.
- Identify potential partners. Depending on the goals you have in mind for your program, the next step is to think about what types of companies—or even specific companies—that would make the best candidates for your partner program. Remember, it’s essential that both organizations can benefit from a potential partnership.
- Create a partner agreement. Both partners need to agree to terms and conditions for any partnership you might form. As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce notes, a partnership agreement serves as a “protective measure to ensure any and all disagreements can be resolved quickly and fairly,” as well as what will happen if one partner decides to dissolve the partnership at a future time.
- Set up a partner portal. An online partner portal provides a streamlined alternative to paper contracts, email and online spreadsheets. Using a platform like Torchlite enables you to develop a unified partner portal that serves as a centralized hub for everything from communication to resource sharing, financial tracking, and more.
- Compile training and enablement resources. Knowledge is power, and that power should be shared between partners. After all, signing a partnership agreement signals the official start of a partnership. Chances are, you’ll need to bring any new partner(s) up to speed through things like onboarding, orientation, training, and so on. A PRM platform lets you store and share information and resources in the same place where you track other metrics related to the partnership.
- Establish a measurement and reporting system. Without a way to track your partnership’s performance, it’s difficult to quantify the ROI—and, by extension, whether your program is actually working. Fortunately, the best PRM software providers—like Torchlite—make it easy to gauge success and attribute where it comes from.
- Decide on your incentives. As we’ve already pointed out, a successful partnership must be mutually beneficial. How are you going to make partnering with your organization worth your intended partners’ time and energy? Think about what milestones will matter most, and come up with a meaningful way to show your partners that you value everything they do.
- Prioritize continual engagement. Whether in life or business, a relationship that’s not actively tended to can start to grow distant. This can cause business partnerships to falter and fizzle out. While you don’t want to over-engage your partners, make it a point to reach out on a regular basis—not just to check in and provide updates, but also to ask questions, solicit feedback, and listen to what they have to say.
- Pursue continual improvement. As you put your PRM framework into action and begin developing partnerships, you should always be thinking about how you could refine and improve your PRM program. Is there anywhere you—or your partners—experience any confusion or friction? Invite potential or current partners to provide feedback, as well as stakeholders within your own organization.
Torchlite: A Bright Idea for Your Partner Program
Trust us, not all PRM solutions are created equally. The best PRM vendors will provide comprehensive and customized solutions for your business. At a minimum, this should include:
- Core PRM capabilities, such as onboarding and training, account management, partner communication, deal registration, and financial attribution/ROI tracking.
- Targeted intent data, meaning data that enables you to clearly identify what’s working with your partner program, and what your partners are bringing to the table.
- Mutual visibility and transparency, so neither partner ever has to feel like they’re in the dark as to the status of their partnership.
Torchlite’s PRM platform was built to empower companies with the tools and resources they need to take their partnerships to the next level. If you’re ready to discover how our platform can build stronger partnerships to benefit your business, book a demo today!