What Is PRM?
Partner Relationship Management, better known as PRM, has been around for the past two decades. PRM has primarily focused on managing B2B indirect sales channels such as distributors, dealers, resellers, and other extended partner networks. These networks help organizations to bring goods and services to the markets.
In the past, PRM operated within the Sales and Marketing functions of the organization. Over the years, PRM evolved as a tactical, ad-hoc, and experimental initiative with limited budget opportunities and minimal management attention. With increased globalization, the demand for market access and market coverage grew significantly. This resulted in more businesses looking for channel partners to provide specialized and customized services. As brands engage more partners in their channel programs, PRM programs emerge to offer a holistic solution to manage, scale and optimize.
The process to support and manage each partner in a PRM program is highly specific to the organization’s needs. PRM is an independent function within larger B2B organizations, drawing regular stakeholders’ attention in recent years.
Operationally, PRM has been primarily managed by internal teams using ad-hoc processes and tools. Too often, PRM focus, and activities change with change in people, roles, or management direction. Also, organizations find it costly to deploy PRM solutions due to a lack of relevant technologies, access to expertise, and clarity of processes.
Challenges Engaging B2B Partner Network
Businesses relying on indirect channels to deliver products and services to end customers or users require a sustainable channel engagement strategy. This poses challenges as each company tries to attract and engage the same channel partners in a limited and highly competitive channel space. It is common that a channel partner carries products and services from multiple competing businesses.
This results in companies spending more time and investment to draw channel partners’ resources, attention, and the share of opportunities. Hence, every dollar the company spends on channel partner program links to a justifiable ROI. PRM solutions make these programs scalable, engaging, and profitable, justifying why an organization needs to invest strategically to gain a sustainable competitive advantage.
Many businesses leverage channel partner networks to fast-track go-to-market. But managing channel partners effectively can be a challenge as it needs significant investment in time, resources, and strategic commitments. As markets evolve in demand, supply, accessibility, price, alternatives, and many other factors, businesses must adapt, and fit partners’ needs accordingly.
Businesses are exploring new partnership models as new partner categories shape and unique partner ecosystems emerge. Partner programs are changing to make them more relevant to these new and emerging partner segments. Consequently, the platform supporting PRM must remain flexible and adaptive to manage channel partners of diverse types and mixes.
PRM Focus On Loyalty And Relationship
PRM has evolved in terms of structure, approach, and outcomes in recent years. Many organizations have realized that growth can be accelerated by having a well-engaged partner network. An automated partner relationship management framework achieves this by streamlining functionalities and simplifying operations.
It is essential to design a PRM program with value propositions encompassing partner business success. For example, understanding what jobs partners are trying to achieve success in their business and what will help improve their business stability and continuity and make them successful will be of great learning for designing the right PRM program.
A PRM program that helps accomplish these objectives will create long-term loyalty and relationship with the partners. Additionally, the PRM program can provide a connected platform to help partners interact with the brand seamlessly. Organizations can learn and convert these interactions to meaningful insights and make timely decisions to further enhance partner relationships.
PRM, A Source Of Competitive Advantage!
Innovative technologies make it easier for organizations to adopt PRM digitalization. This will help organizations scale their partner network and provide greater visibility to their performance while engaging and interacting to strengthen loyalty and relationships. An efficient and effective partner network is a competitive advantage for the brand. Each happy and engaged partner can create multiple satisfied customers. PRM provides a platform to businesses to help achieve this strategic value.