Today, many businesses are using a variety of software tools to help them to manage their business. As a provider of independent CRM consulting services, we tend to focus on CRM (Customer Relationship Management), but another type of popular software is PRM (Partner Relationship Management). But what are the differences between them, and do you need them both?

Definition of PRM

PRM is the term used to describe the business processes that vendors use to manage external companies who resell their product.  It can also be used to describe the software that some vendors use to automate these processes. Gartner defines PRM as applications that are ‘designed to improve an enterprise’s ability to market, sell and service end customers through channel partners. This category includes many of the traditional elements contained in a direct sales solution (opportunity management), but the solutions are configured for supporting a partner-driven environment. These applications consolidate data and transactions; set business rules and track activity; are typically used to manage channel partners, distributors, alliance or strategic partnerships; and often include a portal to enable bidirectional flow and communication between partners.’

History of PRM

The use of PRM systems accelerated in growth around 10 years ago but slowed down a bit with the increase in uptake of the use of CRM systems. In recent years though, it has become clear that many firms prefer to use CRM systems and PRM systems in tandem to manage their extended sales enterprise. Some CRM software vendors are looking at adding PRM capabilities to their customer relationship management offerings, but at the moment the best option may be to stick with a dedicated CRM system and have a separate PRM solution.

Benefits of a PRM system

A PRM system can:

  • Communicate role-specific messages based on region, reseller model, and the brands they sell – which is controlled by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
  • Conduct performance management such as managing incentives
  • Expose progress in real time on the OEM’s dashboard
  • Help to launch a powerful online community within your sales ecosystem that drives not only collaboration but also knowledge transfer as well
  • Offer sophisticated content management functionality
  • Provide learning management to ensure everyone in the funnel is ready to sell effectively
  • But the main benefit is that it integrates all of your existing partner facing platforms into one with one single sign-on.

    Do You Need Both a CRM and a PRM system?

    A simple mistake that many businesses make is to assume that their CRM system can be used in the same way that a PRM system would – but this isn’t the case. CRM systems tend to focus on the end customer and managing direct sales, which is a very different process to managing end partners and indirect sales.

    Your direct sales team will be able to give a certain type of support, using your chosen CRM software, but this won’t necessarily be the type of support that your end partner will require. If you choose the right PRM system as well as the right CRM system, then you will be able to offer your reseller partners a single place for them to easily access all the information they need in order to sell your product successfully. They will also be able to quickly and easily access any relevant market development funds and also register any deals they are offering as well.

    What it boils down to is that a CRM system will provide you with a greater visibility of the sales process, while the PRM makes it easier for you as a manufacturer to do business with your reseller partners. They are both very useful systems which can work amazingly well together to help your business to achieve peak performance.

    To find out more about our independent CRM consulting services, and how we can help you to streamline your business process, please call us today on 0843 523 5630 or alternatively send an email to [email protected]