Winning Customers and Fueling Growth: The Ultimate Guide to Partner Relationship Management

Icon-watch 12 min read
Icon-date Dec 22, 2023
Lee R.

Customer Success Manager

Winning Customers and Fueling Growth: The Ultimate Guide to Partner Relationship Management


    Today, business growth is all about establishing networks through collaboration and good communication. Good affiliate, resell and referral partners bring you loads of sales and credibility to put in more trust for the promotion of your products. However, managing a complicated and diverse network of partners is never easy for businesses.

    Tracking each partner’s performance, link clicks, and assigning rewards are some intricate duties that businesses can not handle without incorporating partner relationship management software. In this guide, you can learn more about the partner relationship management system, its specifications, and benefits for boosting business success.

    I. What is Partner Relationship Management Software?

    Woman searching for PRM

    Partner Relationship Management (PRM) software is a cloud-based platform that includes lead distribution, content management, promotions, sales, and pricing analytics. It also supports customization so that admins can personalize this software for specific resell, refer, affiliate and implementation partners.

    PRM solutions automate activities related to businesses working with their reseller, distributor, or partner to drive more sales. PRM solution provides partners with controlled access to leads, affiliate links, sales metrics, register deals, and joint opportunities.

    A partner lifecycle management software includes the following features:

    • Partner recruitment.
    • Partner onboarding.
    • Partner training and certification.
    • Partner enablement through dedicated partner portals.
    • Lead distribution and management to streamline the business processes of closing and tracking deals.
    • Partnership contracts management.
    • Partner performance management.
    • Communication and collaboration.

    II. How does a Partner Relationship Management System work?

    The partner relationship management system involves processes, software, and strategies to streamline business activities with partners that sell your products. It provides companies and partners with several tools to manage sales metrics, leads, and revenues. These include customer databases, partner portals, deal registration ability, and other business tools together.

    A PRM system works through several forms of new partnerships.

    1. Affiliate partners sell your services or products in exchange for a commission.
    2. Partners referring you leads to get a commission.
    3. An affiliate company marketing your products or services by creating content, arranging webinars, or guest blogging.

    Such partner relationships help companies in multiple ways:

    • Reach new customers.
    • Quickly scale their business.
    • Execute new marketing ideas.
    • Seek innovative opportunities to get traction in the marketplace.

    However, companies must be selective while choosing partners as they are the voice of your brands depicting your products or services through their personality and style. So work only with individuals or companies whose goals and values complement that of yours.

    III. How Does it Differ From Customer Relationship Management?

    Customer relationship management software helps companies manage:

    • All processes around sales.
    • Onboarding and retention of prospects.
    • Customers in direct relationship with their business.

    In short, CRMs manage direct sales partner teams. While PRMs manage reseller partners that can be large partner teams of indirect sales professionals. Simply, PRM is an extension of CRM systems designed for partners to log in and share information to sell their products.

    IV. Why Customers Should Use PRM Tools?

    Man planning PRM tools

    PRM tools help customers tackle several intricate areas of their businesses saving human efforts and capital. Learn more about the features of partner relationship management (PRM) software to know how it can best serve your business needs and goals.

    A. Automate Partner Onboarding

    As your business scales, more and more partners are required to promote your services and products. With this originates the responsibility to manage each partner individually, record his/her efforts, assign commissions, and much more.

    However, tracking and recording all this data manually is quite challenging. Here companies need automated onboarding tools. With the best PRM tool, admins:

    • Create automated welcome flows to introduce themselves to partners.
    • Situate partners in their portal.
    • Assist with frequently asked questions.

    B. Manage All of Your Partners

    PRMs help you keep all the data regarding partners’ activities and contributions in one place.

    • You can see each partner’s information, performance, and pipeline in one dashboard.
    • Search and filter partner databases to find them quickly.
    • Individual partner profiles to see their performance metrics and sales teams’ activity.

    Not just that, if you have launched any training program for your partners, you can also navigate their learning progress.

    C. Use the Right Tools to Communicate with Partnerships

    When it comes to business partnerships, communication is the key. PRM solutions enable you not only to manage partners’ data but also to communicate with them seamlessly. Using PRM’s exact communication tools and capabilities, you can:

    • Contact individual partners.
    • Send direct messages.
    • Make banner announcements.
    • Set up automated emails.

    D. Provide Partners with Resources and Training

    A partner management PRM platform enables you to create a centralized resource center for all partners. Hence, rather than sending the same assets to individual partners, you have a central library to help them.

    Here you can:

    • Answer frequently asked questions.
    • Provide any documentation explaining the features of your program.
    • Place digital assets.
    • Host sales collaterals.
    • Launch training materials and courses.
    • Integrate channel marketing software to help partners generate co-branded materials.
    • Integrate learning management system.
    • Give your partners learning certifications.

    Hence, if a partner needs help or wants to know more about your company’s data, he/she can self-serve these resources.

    E. Track Partner-referred Leads and Customers

    One of the crucial roles of a partner relationship management (PRM) portal is to track your partners’ leads and conversions. These conversions can be in different forms such as affiliate links, closed deals, purchases, or referrals.

    Companies launch several forms of partner programs and data tracking varies with types of partner ecosystems.

    • Affiliate links: PRMs generate affiliate links for your partners and track every conversion associated with them.
    • Referrals: PRM helps partners fill lead forms and sync them with your CRM. Hence, your direct sales team can keep a follow-up.
    • Resellers: PRM enables partners to close deals directly in the software. Later, this data can be directly synced with your internal CRM.

    Keep in mind that different PRMs offer and support different partner programs. While purchasing one you have to keep your long-term business strategy in mind. For instance, if you want to run only one program, you will buy a simple PRM system. But if you want to run multiple marketing campaigns all at once, it is better to choose the best PRM tool.

    F. Strong Partner Relationships are Necessary for Business Success

    It is very crucial to keep your partners motivated all the time so that they do not lose enthusiasm for your products. Your PRM tool provides you with multiple opportunities to strengthen your relationship with partners that are key to your burgeoning business.

    You can use PRM solution providers for several interest-building tasks such as:

    • Set up compelling reward structures for your partners.
    • Create reward tiers after reaching a certain revenue threshold.
    • Bonus and incentives for completing certifications or performing better.
    • Set up monthly challenges to help partners achieve certain goals.

    Such types of tasks and offers keep your partners motivated and help them grow at every step of their affiliate journey.

    G. Better Partner Onboarding Process

    Partner onboarding is an initial step of a PRM system. There are many other roles business owners have to take care of and strive for their perfection. If they spend a lot of their time onboarding partners, the rest of the tasks will be compromised.

    With the PRM solution, one can automate the onboarding process so that it is smoothly running in the background. This saves you loads of time and enables you to get creative with your program.

    You can spend most of your time working on other areas such as:

    • Partner relationships: By engaging and communicating more.
    • Perfecting reward structure: Giving incentives that keep partners thrilled.
    • Running experiments: To find better strategies to grow your program.

    V. Best Partner Relationship Management (PRM) Software to Manage Partner Programs at Scale

    Listing of prm software options

    1. Relavate

    Screenshot of the Relavate website homepage

    Relavate is an easy-to-use partner relationship management platform that empowers your referral, resell, and affiliate partners to attract more customers and drive better revenue.

    It facilitates every step of your partnership funnel like:

    • Partner onboarding and management process.
    • Real-time tracking and attribution.
    • Set reward structure and automate payout processes.
    • Deal registration.
    • Deal and lead pipeline management.
    • Marketing automation.

    Pricing: 14-day free trial.

    Three paid plans include:

    • Standard: $29/month suitable for basic partner programs.
    • Pro: $49/month preferable for scaling and mature partner programs.
    • Advanced: $59/month perfect for full-fledged partner programs.


    • Free trial. No credit card is required.
    • Seamless integration with HubSpot, Salesforce, Xero, Quickbooks, Slack, Pipedrive, and Zapier.
    • Automated partner payouts based on the rule set by admins.
    • Easy-to-use interface.
    • Allows admins to define contract terms while partnering.
    • Comprehensive resources and tools to help partners close more deals.

    2. Hubspot

    Screenshot of the Hubspot website homepage

    Hubspot is an all-in-one platform to manage everything about sales, marketing, and customer support. It is a free CRM software to manage and automate all of your business activities:

    • Sales and marketing team.
    • Inbound marketing automation software.
    • Marketing campaign management.
    • Customer service tools.

    Pricing: Hubspot offers subscriptions in different tiers. Free, Starter, Professional, & Enterprise.

    In each tier, you will get access to different tools and features to achieve your goals.


    • Ultimate digital marketing tool to handle all your needs.
    • Amazing UI & UX that is one of the best in the industry.
    • Offers a vast system of integrations to connect with other PRM platforms.
    • Easy-to-follow interface and navigation system.
    • Free version for businesses having budget issues.
    • Free HubSpot academy to educate users.
    • 100% free sign-up without requiring a credit card.


    • Cheaper alternatives are available with the same features.
    • Quite expensive for small businesses.
    • You have to abide by the annual terms of the contract even if you quit early.
    • Effective only if you use it as an all-in-one tool.
    • Charges you for additional technical support.
    • No A/B testing is offered on lower plans.

    3. Impartner

    Screenshot of the Impartner website homepage

    Impartner is a top-notch partner CRM platform that streamlines your business growth through effortless collaboration and communication with partners. It enables end-to-end automated control over the entire partner journey. You can use a full range of powerful collaboration tools, and track every detail to drive partnership growth.

    Pricing: Starting price $2000 per month.


    • Easy to navigate.
    • Easy to edit pages.
    • Works quickly and easily.
    • Free trial available.
    • Extensive library of training videos.
    • It is easy to gain access to content.
    • International language support.
    • Automated rewards management.
    • Seamlessly integrates with the world’s leading platforms like Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, ZOHO, Salesforce, Netsuite, HubSpot, and Pipedrive.
    • Useful support from the Impartner team.
    • Facilitates customized portals for individual partners.


    • Highly competitive pricing.
    • Massive room to automate certain processes.
    • Limited timeframe for partnership journeys.

    4. Salesforce

    Screenshot of the Salesforce website homepage

    Salesforce is one of the best CRM platforms to handle marketing, the salesforce sales cloud, commerce, and IT teamwork. It offers a comprehensive suite of functionalities and tools to enhance your sales, marketing, and customer support services. Salesforce enables a scalable and unified ecosystem through seamless integrations with various sources.

    Pricing: Offers four plans.

    1. Starter: $25 per month
    2. Professional: $80 per month.
    3. Enterprise: $165 per month.
    4. Unlimited:$330 per month.


    • Free 30-day trial available.
    • Cost-effective investment compared to on-premises CRMs.
    • You can access it from any place in the world.
    • You can customize it according to your own problems.
    • Finds you the right technical or consulting partner for any budget and taste.
    • Invaluable searching capabilities work like Google.
    • Easy to implement and painless development.
    • Adapts well to any sort of business or any aspect of the business.
    • Integrates with over 1000 other platforms.


    • No free plan.
    • It entirely relies on a stable and reliable internet connection.
    • Complex and expensive for small businesses.
    • You may have less control over planned downtimes and CRM upgrades.

    5. PartnerStack

    Screenshot of the PartnerStack website homepage

    PartnerStack is a partner relationship management software to help startup programs and B2B SaaS companies scale their business. It simplifies every step of your partnership journey by:

    • Recruiting and empowering every type of partner.
    • Accelerating their growth.
    • Finding you new customers.
    • Boost demand for your products.

    The platform provides each partner access to a dedicated partner portal, where they can see and track their performance, withdraw payments, access resources, and discover new programs.

    Pricing: $5000 for the first year. Personalized plans to address your business goals.


    • Easy-to-navigate dashboard.
    • Excellent customer support.
    • Automated partner payments with a single monthly invoice.
    • Detailed stats and reports to improve your program’s success.
    • No setup fee.
    • Tracks client’s onboarding process.
    • It is easy to see the overall earnings of partners.
    • Easy access to banners and graphics for promotions.


    • No free trial.
    • Lacks direct integrations with CRM.
    • Prices are higher compared to other software.
    • Limited options for international payouts.
    • It is difficult to remove partner programs you are no longer a participant in.
    • Switching between different partner programs can be challenging.

    VI. Do PRMs Work Best for a Specific Kind of Partner Program?

    Nope! PRMs do not individually work for a specific kind of partner program. So if you are selecting one, your choice should not be focused on the type of partner program. Rather, you should be more concerned with the size and complexity of your program.

    Partner relationship management software allows businesses to scale their partnerships by saving loads of time. If not all, most of the manual work is performed by a PRM tool. Better and automated partner onboarding makes it possible for businesses to include tens, hundreds, or thousands of new partners.

    Manually managing such an extensive network of affiliates is not even imaginable. Thanks to the PRM software, all these processes keep on running in the background while letting the admins handle other aspects of partner relationships.

    With a PRM, you can run whichever program you want. It can be reseller programs, affiliate, and referral programs. In each program, you can accommodate relevant types of reseller partners and track the value they add to your program.

    VII. Challenges and Solutions in PRM Software

    Modern partnerships are more than just reselling. Today, several companies excelling in the market are collaborating in an agile way with others. These include services, tech, cloud, and software companies that go for co-selling rather than reselling.

    Now companies prefer to work with partners to:

    • Co-innovate joint solutions.
    • Co-market joint solutions.
    • Co-invest in sales and marketing.
    • Co-selling to get more benefits from joint customers.

    Traditional PRM software can not handle this modern ecosystem of partnerships as they are focused on partners reselling your products. Hence, advancements are required in PRM tools to manage upcoming challenges and bring more benefits.

    Learn more about the challenges and solutions in PRM software to improve your business strategies and better deal with your co-selling partners.

    1. Siloed Partnerships:

    Constantly emerging customer demands have transformed the way partners collaborate. To drive better sales, it is crucial to satisfy your customer needs, which is possible only if all the partners collaborate as peers to serve their customers.

    In a traditional PRM model, PRM software provides you

    • Silos, which means connecting companies one-directionally with each partner.
    • PRM partner portal for each partner where he/she logs in, shares information, and keeps it regularly updated.
    • Partnerships based on old reselling model.
    • No peer-to-peer connection on a single platform.
    • Only reselling channel partners.

    In a modern multi-party ecosystem, PRM software provides you:

    • Participation of all channel partners on one network.
    • A single login connects you with any trusted partner in the program.
    • Opportunity to work as a unified team and build joint solutions.
    • Co-fund, co-market, and co-sell joint products.

    2. Siloed Business Processes:

    What does a PRM model offer you:

    • All the business deals and processes happen within the 4 walls of the company.
    • Partners are left to look after themselves with spreadsheets and emails.

    What a PRM model does not offer to facilitate modern partnerships:

    • No cross-partner workflows.
    • Defined steps, actions, policies, and approvals for your partners to collaborate.
    • No co-innovation, co-marketing, co-investment, and co-selling opportunities.

    3. Difficulty in Data Sharing Among Partners:

    Connecting with partners’ live data is very important for companies. It keeps them updated about live stats and helps to devise better business strategies. For this, admins create and maintain a custom integration for each individual partner. However, with traditional PRM solutions, this integration comes with several challenges.

    What does a traditional PRM model provide you?

    • Custom integration for every partner.
    • Heavy involvement from partner’s IT organizations to build integrations.
    • More partners means adding more integrations.
    • Difficult to maintain as changing APIs breaks the connection.

    However, in a modern partner ecosystem, each partner must securely build one integration and share data with unlimited other partners.

    4. Risk of Accidental Data Exposure:

    PRM integrations to partners’ system is a costly burden on IT that companies want to avoid. PRM software also does not offer co-marketing and co-selling. Therefore, partner channel managers do not use the company’s PRM to track their channel partners’ activities.

    Hence, they are only left with the method to share information using spreadsheets. From here originates the high risk of accidental data breaches. Data is extracted from CRM and shared with partners. Any sort of mistake while creating and sharing these sheets can bring devastating consequences.

    For instance:

    • Sharing the wrong spreadsheet.
    • Including data to the wrong partner.
    • Including competitor’s CRM opportunity data.
    • Mistakes and errors while manually compiling data.

    Hence, a PRM partner portal is prone to data loss, poor reporting, and data quality issues. It must be replaced with a shared object space with security policies and data privacy.

    VIII. Future Trends in Partner Relationship Management System

    In today’s dynamically evolving business landscape, building solid relationships with strategic partners is crucial. PRM offers excellent support in collaboration, communication, and driving growth with partners. However, emerging technology and business needs are revolutionizing the field of PRM with significant transformations.

    1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning:

    With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (MI), PRM systems are integrating these technologies to amplify for partners various personalized experiences. AI-powered systems provide in-depth analysis of market trends and prices to better utilize resources.

    1. Better Collaboration and Communication:

    PRM systems will focus more on enhancing collaboration and communication among partners. They will incorporate better features such as instant messaging, document sharing, and shared workspaces to foster stronger relationships among partners.

    1. Remote Work and Mobile Access:

    With the increasing reliance on mobile phones and remote work, PRM tools are trying to achieve adaptability on mobile applications. This flexibility in partner relation management solutions allows you to have seamless access to partner resources and information on the go. Hence, while working remotely, you can stay connected with your partners and enjoy uninterrupted productivity.

    IX. Conclusion

    Partner relationship management (PRM) software is the need of the hour for boosting your marketing, funding, and selling efforts. It allows you to add more partners to your sales and marketing funnel to divide responsibilities and drive more sales with fewer resources.

    From the beginning of a new partner relationship management till the peak of your business success, a PRM tool helps you at every step. It automates your operations, gives access to real-time stats, and tracks sales activities. Several processes automatically run in the background to save you time for being creative with your partner relationship program.

    Lee R.

    Customer Success Manager

    LinkedIn icon

    A seasoned Customer Success Manager known for his unwavering dedication to ensuring client satisfaction. With a knack for building lasting relationships and a passion for problem-solving, Lee is committed to helping customers thrive.

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