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Questions to Ask Prospective PRM Vendors

Explore the key questions you should ask prospective PRM vendors when fielding solutions. Plus, download our free RFP Sheet Template
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Introduction

A partner relationship management (PRM) platform is a critical component of any channel program. In fact, a partner portal will allow you to unlock unparalleled opportunities for scale, while maximizing your team’s abilities.

However, not all tools are created equally. Finding the right tool early will help you set up for long-term success.

Key Features to Look For in a PRM Company

Depending on how you plan to leverage your portal, some of these features may not be as applicable to your program. However, it’s a good idea to seek out a PRM vendor that offers strategic features that support you as you grow.

Content Management

You should create a robust content library for your partner program. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to manage so many assets, each designed for a specific partner type. The right PRM solution will make this as easy as possible with an in-depth content management tool and content library feature.

  • Does this solution offer a content library?
  • Can assets be filtered by audience, type, and topic?
  • Can the content shown be tailored to the partner viewing the assets? Can specific partner types only view content for their vertical?
  • Can international partners be shown assets in their native language?
  • Is it easy for partners to co-brand materials?
  • Is it possible to pin key resources?
  • Can partners quickly share content to social media from the portal?

Gamification

Gamification is an effective way to drive partners to take desired actions. While this may seem like an advanced partner management strategy, it’s valuable for programs of all sizes to consider. No matter how established your channel is, look for a PRM vendor that offers gamification features.

  • Is it possible to award partners for valuable actions taken within the portal?
  • Can you distribute and track points given to partners based on activities such as viewing content, completing learning tracks, logging in, co-branding assets, and more?

Partner Segmentation

Partner segmentation is absolutely critical for programs of any size. Separating partners is essential to effectively manage relationships and show custom content based on an organization’s type, size, location, and more. The PRM vendor you select for your program absolutely must enable partner segmentation, ideally with various traits.

  • Is it possible to group partner based on qualities, such as location, size, type, or tier?
  • Can the portal be customized based on which partner segment is viewing it?
  • Can the portal create a unique experience for each partner based on their organizational traits?

Deal Registration

Deal registration is one of the most monotonous tasks your partners have to complete. With a PRM that streamlines this process, you can increase the number of deals registered, while reducing potential channel conflict.

  • Is it possible for partners to register deals within the platform?
  • Are partners guided on next steps based on their deal registration activities?
  • Do Channel Account Managers (CAMs) receive notifications when new deals are registered?
  • Is it possible to customize deal registration forms to gather all desired information?
  • Are partners able to see how deals are progressing?

Lead Distribution

It can be challenging to review leads from your CRM and distribute them evenly to your partners. A strong PRM solution should automate lead distribution for you and let you monitor progress after handoff.  

  • Is it possible to automatically distribute leads to partners within your ecosystem?
  • Does the platform integrate with your CRM?
  • Can you view how leads are progressing and nudge partners to take proactive steps?

Market Development Funds

Distributing market development funds (MDF) is a great way to drive further partner engagement and encourage co-marketing activities. However, determining who deserves MDF, deciding how much to distribute, and tracking the results can be challenging. A great PRM will streamline this process.

  • Can partners apply for MDF within your partner portal?
  • Is it possible for your team to review and approve requests within the portal?
  • Can you track expenses based on how partners leverage their MDF?
  • Is it possible to limit MDF request access to specific accounts?
  • Is it possible to reward partners with MDF based on pre-determined behaviors?

Partner Journey Automation

Your partner journey outlines the path from prospective alliance to revenue generation. With partner journey automation capabilities, your PRM can help nurture organizations to take the next step toward closing deals, no matter where they are in the process.

  • Is it possible to develop a partner journey within your PRM?
  • Can you automatically nudge partners to take next steps?
  • Is it possible to customize outreach and triggers based on certain actions taken by partners?
  • Can you re-engage partners after a certain period of inactivity?

Channel Sales Insights

"Allbound’s analytics have allowed us to closely monitor which partners are consuming content and completing the training and onboarding we create. We’re also able to identify which content is most engaged with (battlecards, product catalog, etc), which helps us determine where we should spend our time creating partner collateral." KATELYN GILLER - Channel Partner Manager, Garland Technology

Scouring disparate sources for channel analytics is time-consuming and ineffective. A great PRM solution will compile those insights into a digestible dashboard, while allowing you to customize reports, and share analytics with partners.

  • Is it possible to review channel analytics within your PRM dashboard, such as deals registered, revenue generated, MDF usage, and more?
  • Can you automatically generate reports and dashboards?
  • Can partners view their analytics within the portal?
  • Is it possible to track how partners engage with content?
  • Can you leverage metrics for QBR planning?

Learning Tracks

Streamline your partner onboarding and enablement with training built into your partner portal. Your chosen vendor should design the PRM technology to include learning tracks customized to your partner type, location, and size, as well as various learning formats, such as videos and quizzes.

  • Can partners self-service with learning modules?
  • Is it possible to automate onboarding and enablement?
  • Can you nudge partners to take the next step in a learning module?
  • Is it possible to send reminders to partners who don’t complete learning tracks in a set time period?
  • Is it possible to offer various learning formats, like videos?
  • Can you incorporate quizzes to test your partners’ learning?

Security Measures

Your portal software hosts critical partner data, which needs to be protected adequately. As a result, it’s critical to ask any potential PRM vendor a few questions to understand the security measures they take.

  • Where is data stored?
  • Who has access to protected data?
  • Is data stored in compliance with GDPR regulations?
  • Is your organization SOC2 Type 2 compiant?
  • What protective measures are in place to protect against cyber threats? Have there been any cyber threats impacting user data in the last 5 years?

Ongoing Support From Your PRM Vendor

It’s likely that your team will need more than just initial onboarding when it comes to a PRM. Be sure to inquire about what levels of onboarding support are provided and when the PRM vendor would charge for engaging with your team.

  • What level of onboarding support is provided? How long are onboarding resources accessible?
  • Will there be a dedicated team member fielding requests for the account?
  • Will I be billed for support hours?
  • How is going support provided? What languages is support available in?
  • How is downtime handled? What level of uptime is guaranteed?

Why Allbound – a Leading PRM Company


"Allbound ticked all the boxes and requirements – deal registration, visibility yo partner pipeline, ability to share content in a concentrated manner, learning capabilities, and grouping content.” SION RETZKIN - Head of Channel Enablement, EMEA & APAC at Pentera

Allbound boasts all of these features and more, with users praising the platform for changing their partner program for the better. Partner programs of all maturity levels leverage Allbound to organize their content, communicate with partners, analyze results, and drive revenue.

Free RFP (Request for Proposal) Template

You know you need to improve the way you manage your partners. You need a modern portal with a great partner interface, a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solution for tracking leads, and a solution to automate some of the repetitive tasks. This will enable you and your team to focus on building better relationships with your partners, rather than being drowned by admin work. However, sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know, and building a laundry list of what you might need is hard.

Our checklist provides you with the starting point for your own requirements document which you can take and shape. Remember that even as you vet PRM vendors, you can add and remove items as you fine-tune your requirements and see product demonstrations.  

This does not need to be an onerous task but one of interesting exploration as you decide on your solution of choice. Here are some tips to help you on the way:

1. Capture Key Goals

Read the “About” tab on the Requirements Template and ensure you have identified and captured your key goals. Articulating what you want to achieve will make the process easier and hopefully stop you from being distracted by gizmos that might possibly be useful at some vague point in the future.

2. Review the Requirements Template

Classify each item into two camps; The must-have and the would be nice to have. All the items in the “must-have” list, should map directly to your goals.

3. Teamwork

Now share your thoughts with the team and seek their input. Talk to everyone who works with your partners as they will have useful insight into what is a necessity versus what would be nice to have.

4. Interview Partners

Using a 3rd party for this can be useful as your partners are likely to be far more candid with an independent person, especially if the results are to be shared in aggregate. A good series of one-to-one interviews with your partners can reveal what are their barriers to working more closely with you or closing more revenue. This can help justify the investment in new systems and automation.

5. Invite Suppliers

Send your Requirements Document to potential suppliers and invite replies, demonstrations, and quotes. Place a weighting on each feature, by vendor, to build up a picture of which vendor will best help you to achieve your goals.

6. Take up References

Once you have a shortlist, take up references. Talk to existing customers of your preferred PRM vendor to ensure their experience matches your initial perception.

We are confident at Allbound that we add value to our customers and their partners, with a portal and PRM, covering all the core requirements and automating tasks to improve efficiency. Feel free to use our template to see how we stack up against other PRM companies.  

The template covers these broad headings to give you clear insight into what you need to impact you and your partners:

  • Portal and Content Management
  • Opportunity and Lead Management
  • Rewards and Incentives
  • Co-marketing
  • Reporting
  • User Experience
  • Usability
  • Support
  • Pricing

Download our RFP template to streamline your PRM vendor selection process, and ensure you pick the right provider for your program’s needs.

Meet the Speakers

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