What is Partnership Relationship Management?
Partnership Relationship Management (PRM) is a Customer Relationship Management trend that became popular as organizations began to notice the great benefits of building and maintaining meaningful relationships with all of their business partners, not focusing strictly on customers. PRM strategies focus on keeping vendors satisfied by managing all channel member (alliance partner and reseller) relationships that provide customers with the best sales channel possible. Doing so creates long lasting relationships that add long-term value to the company.
To do this, companies find the right partners, work along side them, and help them become more effective at handling mutual customers. This process seeks to ensure overall success for all partners along the channel, as well as satisfaction for the end user. The central advantages to using PRM are increasing market coverage, and being able to offer specialized products and services that cover a widened range with a more complete solution.
Partnership Relationship Management is utilized differently between companies, and it therefore can encompass many different features. PRM can include education and training for business partners on new product releases before they are introduced, as opposed to later in the product’s cycle, which is often when suppliers initiate training.
Key features of PRM applications are generally composed of real time product information, including information on product availability, marketing materials, order specifications, contracts, product prices, inventory, and shipping details. This allows for easy to locate information that helps products and services to flow more smoothly along the distribution channel.
Partnership Relationship Management is also used during proposal creation. A sped up proposal and negotiation process means that customers do not have to deal with as many time delays. Also in terms of increased customer satisfaction, it has been shown that consumers believe most issues can be prevented if suppliers know more about the organization’s customer support operations.
Software and other communication tools are often used during Partnership Relationship Management implementation. This software helps keep all channel members, all the way down to end users, continually connected and on the same page. This allows the customer to know where their product is at all times, and when they should expect to receive it. Many companies offer PRM software, all boasting similar functions.
NetSuite, of San Mateo, CA, is one such company offering PRM software, called NetSuite CRM+ Partnership Relationship Management. According to the company’s website, this software gives you, “full control over every element of the partner-focused sales and marketing process, including joint marketing campaigns, lead management, sales forecasting, pipeline management, order processing, and partner commissions and royalties. Your partners will benefit from real-time visibility into the entire partner marketing and sales process—from opportunity to order to commission—providing you with an educated, enabled, and productive partner channel.” Other similar applications are salesforce.com’s Salesforce PRM 2.0, and Channeltivity, LLC’s Channeltivity 3.0.
Partnership Relationship Management is a relatively small component of Customer Relationship Management with the capacity to greatly strengthen businesses. In less than four years, PRM went from being a 500 million dollar operation, to being one of one billion dollars. It has great growth potential due to an increasing interdependency of organizations, suppliers, manufactures, and other partners, as they must all work together to provide the optimal solution for customers in today’s economy.
Business Driven Information Systems, second edition, Baltzan.
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