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The Core Capabilities of a Best-In-Class PRM Software Platform – Part 4

The Core Capabilities of a Best-In-Class PRM Software Platform – Part 4

The PRM Software Checklist

In chapters one, two and three, I have talked about the definition and dynamics of a Partner Ecosystem and how to manage them. You should now be aware of the complexity of this landscape and how critical it is to have strategies, programs, tools, and people aligned.

I also discussed the role of partner relationship management (PRM) software and key considerations when selecting the right solution.

State-of-the art PRM software can ultimately provide you with the tools to personalize and customize partner engagement in a truly modular fashion. Such solutions should help you with implementing a structured way to recruit, onboard, enable and manage partners. They also will facilitate payment and expansion of relationships. PRM Software allows you to automate all the points in a partner’s journey and lead to successful relationships and profitability.

However, selecting the right PRM Software can be confusing, so here is a checklist to guide you through this journey.

What you will learn by completing the PRM Software Checklist:

By completing the checklist below, you will get a good understanding of what you need out of a PRM Software solution to meet your partner ecosystem needs.

Not only will you know how to approach a partner relationship management vendor but also understand the full features required for each part of your journey. Ultimately any best-of-breed solution will satisfy all these requirements, providing all the functionality that you need.

Instructions for the PRM Software Checklist:

This is a checklist for you to use to compare a set of PRM vendors. While the different modules listed here align with ZINFI’s Unified Partner Management SaaS platform, you can use this checklist as a guide to pick and choose the applications you need for your partner program management.

Please mark the two columns (Sequence and Priority) for the platform solution(s) that you are evaluating. You will need to think through both the order in which you will launch applications (sequence) and their relative importance (priority).

  • Sequence – Please indicate the order in which you expect to activate applications, with 1 corresponding to the first application, 2 for the next application, and so on.
  • Priority – Please mark this column “High”, “Medium” or “Low” using the chart below:
    • High – Must be launched in the first 30-90 days
    • Medium – 3-6 months out, post-launch
    • Low – 6+ months out, post-launch

PART 1: Partner Relationship Management (PRM)

PART 2: CORE Platform Capabilities

PART 3: EXPAND Modules

PART 4: Affiliate Marketing Management (AMM)

PART 5: Partner Incentives Management (PIM) Modules

Partner Relationship Management (PRM)

PRM software applications tend to be workflow applications, which means you can automate every step of your partner journey and collaborations. The purpose of these applications is to set up hyper-personalized pathways to various groups of partners who can follow a pathway through onboarding and collaborate with you using various workflow applications.

Modules
Module Name Module Descriptions Sequence Priority

Partner Onboarding Management Partner Onboarding Management automates partner recruitment and onboarding processes via step-by-step activities. Based on partner type, engagement, and other variables, you can create different onboarding tracks.

Partner Contracts Management The Partner Contracts Management module enables an organization to dynamically manage and keep track of all the contractual documents that channel partners sign during the various phases of the partner engagement cycle.

Partner Business Plans Management The Partner Business Plans Management module enables an organization to develop business plans by working with internal and external partner stakeholders to ensure plan execution and compliance.

Partner Learning Management The Partner Learning Management module enables an organization to manage channel partner training and certification by various partner tiers and types to grow partner competencies in a systematic way through structured curricula.

Partner Leads Management Partner Leads Management enables lead distribution to your partner base and manages the entire “contacts to contracts” process. It can help engage partner sales reps via round robin, shark tank and other lead management strategies.

Deals Registration Management Deals provides set up for deal registration criteria and workflows for their partner base using Workflow Management and Centralized Interconnection modules. Workflows can be very simple or can cover complex, comprehensive deal registration processes.

Configure Price Quote (CPQ) Management The Configure Price Quote (CPQ) module enables an organization to offer special pricing and quotes approval mechanisms for partner sales reps, channel reps and channel management team members.

Channel Data Management (CDM) The Channel Data Management module enables an organization to access point-of-sales data from distributors and resellers to track performance by region, territory, reseller, and product, and to proactively manage inventory.

CORE Platform Capabilities

Here is a list of core capabilities that every PRM software platform should have. These are basically your administrative tools. When you get a free trial, go under the hood and test drive each of these capabilities to make sure you can configure the platform on the fly.

Modules
Module Name Module Descriptions

Mobile Ready Application The Mobile module comes with a set of mobile apps that are available for both the iOS and Android platforms. Administrators can define what applications are available via mobile app and what users have the access rights via mobile.

Alerts & Notification Management The Alert module aggregates all system alerts via a unified console and allows users to set one or more notification preferences via email, SMS or mobile app. Users can also control the frequency of alerts, including individual or aggregate alerts.

Content Management A Content Management module allows administrators to use drag-and-drop tools to create and manage web and campaign content to build dynamic and personalized portal pages, campaigns, and other content on the fly.

Workflow Management Using a Workflow Management module, administrators can set up different application layouts, approval logics, alerts, reports, and other functions to automate any business workflows. This capability allows organizations to dynamically adapt to rapidly changing business needs.

Partners Profile Management Partners Profile Management granularly manages partner records - accounts, contacts, performance data, etc. Using this module, organizations can segment partners effectively into groups with various parameters for optimized management capabilities.

Identify and Access Management (IAM) With the Identify and Access Management (IAM) module, administrators can dynamically set up and manage users, groups and granular access rights to various portal pages, applications, campaign contents and assets.

Enterprise Change Management Enterprise Change Management keeps track of all changes made to the portal related to groups, users, content, workflows, etc. This is essential for audit purposes but also for reversing changes that have been made unintentionally or intentionally.

Business Intelligence Reports  The Business Intelligence Reports module provides hundreds of default reports as well as tools for creating custom reports. This allows users to understand what is working and what needs improvement in channel performance/ programs at a local and global level.

Centralized Interconnection Management The Centralized Interconnection module allows administrators to seamlessly connect to third-party applications like CRM, LMS, ERP and POS via an easy-to-use connection management and field mapping interface, including SAML 2.0 SSO.

Users & Group Management The Users Management module allows administrators to quickly set up users and assign them to various groups and profiles. Users can be added manually or set up via group upload using Excel or third-party SSO.

EXPAND Modules

Here is a list of applications for your PRM software that you may need to expand the collaboration capabilities of your partner portal. These applications are turnkey, and you should be able to turn them on and configure them on the fly. However, each application should also be connected to broader groups and profiles, so you can provide a hyper-personalized experiences to your partners.

Modules
Module Name Module Descriptions Sequence Priority

Content Library Management Content Library enables channel organizations to share partner-facing documents with various partner users based on status & access rights. Documents can be dynamically published and configured with expiration dates/times based on custom rules.

Co-Branded Assets Management The Co-Branded Assets Management module enables an organization to provide digital assets to channel partners, who can then co-brand these assets and reuse them for various marketing- and sales-related activities.

Products Details Management With the Products module, organizations can upload variety of product-related content for use in both marketing and sales assets and activities. This module can also be used for Configure Price Quote (CPQ) and deal registration.

Communicate To Partners Management The Communicate module comes with a cluster of marketing tools, such as email, microsites, events and social, which can be used to recruit, engage, and enable partners. These tools can be made available to all internal channel team members.

Community & Discussions Management The Community module enables organizations to socially connect—both internally and externally—to facilitate communication and collaboration. This module seamlessly integrates with multiple UCM modules, but it can also work in a standalone fashion.

Partner Locator Management Use Partner Locator to dynamically create a partner directory - making it easy for end users to find and contact partners who offer the right solutions. All leads generated from rule-based searches are fed into the UCM Lead module for distribution to specified users.

Partner Support Management The Support (Help Desk) module gives organizations the tools they need to establish a structured support infrastructure for end users that extends above and beyond traditional product and services support. The module uses an industry-standard ticketing system.

Partner Survey Management The Survey module can be used by anyone from the channel organization to get feedback from their partner base. Survey data can be aggregated via a reporting engine or housed individually within partner records.

Exchange Management With the Exchange module, an organization can list a set of service providers for marketing, sales, and other technical assistance for partners. Partner users can procure these pre-selected third-party vendors and pay for their services using MDF or their own funds.

Projects & Tasks Management Seamless collaboration with internal and external team members on projects and programs is easy with the Project module, which comes with tasks, notebooks, file-sharing, and messaging features.

Affiliate Marketing Management (AMM)

Here is a list of PRM software applications that you will have to evaluate if you have affiliates or consulting partners that do not sell but provide you with leads and promote your brand by driving traffic to your site. These applications can track your affiliates’ activities and incentivize them by paying commissions.

Modules
Module Name Module Descriptions Sequence Priority

Marketplace Management The Marketplace module enables an organization to create a thriving marketplace for its partners to sell its products and services to each other and to end-buyers in a private, invitation-only experience.

Promotion Management The Promotion Management module makes it easy for your affiliate marketing partners to promote content and products by leveraging UTM links and placing them on their website. A UTM links tracker automatically documents which partners are generating which referrals.

Referral Management Enable your affiliate partners to register referrals manually or automatically via link and advertising referrals. Automatically map each referral to a specific commission payment structure for both marketing and sales activities. Set up business rules to route referrals for automatic or manual approval flow.

Payment Management Allow your affiliate partners to set up company and tax information to receive digital payments for their earned commissions. You can also enable partners to claim commissions manually or automatically for payments and run performance analytics.

Partner Relationship Management (PRM)

PRM software applications tend to be workflow applications, which means you can automate every step of your partner journey and collaborations. The purpose of these applications is to set up hyper-personalized pathways to various groups of partners who can follow a pathway through onboarding and collaborate with you using various workflow applications.

Modules
Module Name Module Descriptions Sequence Priority

Partner Onboarding Management Partner Onboarding Management automates partner recruitment and onboarding processes via step-by-step activities. Based on partner type, engagement, and other variables, you can create different onboarding tracks.

Partner Contracts Management The Partner Contracts Management module enables an organization to dynamically manage and keep track of all the contractual documents that channel partners sign during the various phases of the partner engagement cycle.

Partner Business Plans Management The Partner Business Plans Management module enables an organization to develop business plans by working with internal and external partner stakeholders to ensure plan execution and compliance.

Partner Learning Management The Partner Learning Management module enables an organization to manage channel partner training and certification by various partner tiers and types to grow partner competencies in a systematic way through structured curricula.

Partner Leads Management Partner Leads Management enables lead distribution to your partner base and manages the entire “contacts to contracts” process. It can help engage partner sales reps via round robin, shark tank and other lead management strategies.

Deals Registration Management Deals provides set up for deal registration criteria and workflows for their partner base using Workflow Management and Centralized Interconnection modules. Workflows can be very simple or can cover complex, comprehensive deal registration processes.

Configure Price Quote (CPQ) Management The Configure Price Quote (CPQ) module enables an organization to offer special pricing and quotes approval mechanisms for partner sales reps, channel reps and channel management team members.

Channel Data Management (CDM) The Channel Data Management module enables an organization to access point-of-sales data from distributors and resellers to track performance by region, territory, reseller and product, and to proactively manage inventory.

Partner Marketing Management (PMM)

PMM tools are designed to enable your partners market to their end-user base or target prospects with a few clicks. Using these applications you can upload branded assets, and then partners can use them to co-brand with their own logos and launch sophisticated integrated campaigns in a few minutes.

Modules
Module Name Module Descriptions Sequence Priority

Search Marketing Management The Search Marketing Management module provides dynamic linkage between paid ad (Google AdWords, Facebook, etc.) search network and marketing campaigns, and is used for multi-partner inbound integrated lead generation.

Social Syndication Management The Social Syndication Management module enables an organization to syndicate social media content via the channel partner network. Partners can auto stream or manually customize each social feed for instant or delayed posting.

Direct Mail Marketing Management The Direct Mail module allows for set up of co-branded direct mail templates for partner use in the form of post cards, brochures, and other formats. This module can also be connected to national printers for seamless shipping and mailing.

Email Marketing Management The Email Marketing Management module enables an organization to set up multi-touch co-branded emails. These emails create the foundation of various integrated campaigns, whether they lead to microsites, events, syndication or call campaigns.

Microsite & Landing Page Management The Microsite & Landing Page Management module enables an organization to set up co-branded microsites or landing pages. This allows partners to engage their prospects and customers via single-touch or multi-touch digital drip campaigns.

Event Marketing Management Event Marketing Management enables an organization to set up trigger-ready multi-touch “event in a box” campaigns that can be quickly co-branded and customized, allowing channel partners to engage their prospects/customer base.

Web Syndication Management Web Syndication Management enables distribution of product and solution web showcases via a partner’s website. Web syndication amplifies organizational reach and lead generation through a distributed channel partner network.

Multi-Touch (or Single) Campaign Management A Multi-Touch Campaign Management module enables customers and their partners to create to easily define the flow of a multi-tactic, multi-touch campaign and create a multi-touch drip campaign with pre-configured tactics and assets and utilize them in various marketing activities. It has a user interface with drag-and-drop functionality provides an essential tool for creating quick and effective marketing initiatives.

Partner Incentives Management (PIM) Modules

Partnerships evolve around financial business propositions. In the end, whether your partners are transacting or non-transacting, you will have to pay them commissions, funds, rewards and/or rebates. You need to make sure your PRM software can manage incentives programs in a highly dynamic way.

Modules
Module Name Module Descriptions Sequence Priority

Commissions Management Both internal channel teams and external partners can use the Commission model to align with quarterly programs, campaigns and run rate business. Users can set up business logic with a Workflow Management Module

Market Development Funds (MDF) Management Market Development Funds Management enables organizations to allocate MDF and co-op funds to partners. It is also used to help partners apply for program funding and claim compensation through proper proof of execution.

Sales Rewards Management Sales Rewards allows set up of channel sales programs for internal/external users & progress tracking in a unified interface. This module also allows filing of reward claims & stack ranking status.

Rebates Management With Rebates, organizations can set up company rebates based on specified performance targets and business rules. This makes it easy to develop an application process for partners to establish eligibility for rebate programs and for claiming rebates.

What Next?

The output of your checklist should clearly indicate what is important to you. Hopefully, you have also benefited from learning about new functionality that wasn’t on your radar. You should also have a good understanding based on your checklist of how you want to deploy your PRM Software and in what sequence. Finally, you have a solid list of features that you should look for in any best-in-class solution.

We invite you to learn more about Partner Relationship Management by downloading our Best Practices Guide.

ZINFI consultants are always available to answer any questions that you may have. Just Contact Us and we will be in touch immediately.


Author:
Sugata Sanyal

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