Next-Gen PRM
The Top 5 reasons your PRM has low adoption rates and how to solve them

A PRM (Partner Relationship Management) software is often the cornerstone of many successful partner programs. This software platform facilitates the management, tracking, and education of your partner ecosystem, eliminating the need for laborious manual tasks. If you scrutinize any flourishing partner program, you'll likely spot a PRM playing an integral role within that system.

Yet, there's an intriguing paradox in the realm of PRMs. Despite their critical importance, analyst firm Canalys reports that the average global adoption rate for PRM solutions stands merely at about 30%. It seems somewhat contradictory that while a PRM is essential to a partner program, not all partners leverage your PRM.

In this blog post, we will dissect the five primary reasons why your PRM struggles to find traction within your partner ecosystem. Furthermore, we will propose strategies that can help bolster your overall PRM adoption rate.

So, let's get started…

Reason 1: One Size Fits All Approach

The first reason, as to why your partners are not going in and using your PRM correlates to the fact that all partners are different. What this means is that depending on what type of partners they are and what they care about they are going to want to access and do different things inside your PRM.

Lets use as an example of a reseller partner who is part of your partner program, who is focused primarily on taking your product at a wholesale rate, wrapping margin around it and then going to market with your solution. In this scenario, the reseller cares primarily about how to position your product, in addition to where to go to register a deal as and when there is market interest.

On the other hand you may have a technology or integration partner who cares about the technical aspects of how your solution and theirs play together and what it means for your customers. It is therefore redundant, to put training in front of a reseller that talks about technical specifications.

One of the key reasons that adoption is low in your PRM is because you have a one size fits all partner journey inside of your PRM, full of things that aren't applicable to a certain subsection of your partners.

One of the key reasons that adoption is low in your PRM is because you have a one size fits all partner journey inside of your PRM, full of things that aren't applicable to a certain subsection of your partners.

How to solve for this

Addressing this challenge requires a thoughtful segmentation of your partners, followed by the creation of customized partner journeys within your PRM that acknowledge the unique characteristics of each partner type.

Take the reseller, for instance. Their interaction with your PRM should be designed such that upon sign up, they receive specific training materials related to product positioning and lead registration – information directly relevant to them.

Subsequently, they could be integrated into an enablement newsletter cycle, keeping them updated with fresh customer case studies and product advancements. This continuous update empowers them to position your product accurately and effectively.

Thankfully, with solutions like Pronto, this process is simplified. The next-gen PRM from Pronto enables you to do exactly this with remarkable ease. While onboarding a partner, simply select their partner type and immerse them into a personalized PRM experience that includes many of the features mentioned above.

Reason 2: Information Overload Leads To Confusion

The next reason why partners might not be using your partner portal could simply be attributed to confusion.

Consider your primary user, typically the sales teams, who are already dealing with jam-packed schedules and a myriad of responsibilities. The last thing they need is to be overwhelmed by an information-saturated portal that could potentially lead them to abandon the platform and never return.

One of the significant reasons behind low PRM adoption rates is the overwhelming abundance of features, often leading to a sense of overload for partner sales teams.

If their objectives are relatively straightforward, like accessing product training or registering a deal, navigating through a labyrinth of features to locate the essentials can be frustrating. This inherent complexity in many PRMs leads to confusion, disorientation, and eventually, disengagement for many partner sales teams.

One of the significant reasons behind low PRM adoption rates is the overwhelming abundance of features, often leading to a sense of overload for partner sales teams.

How to solve for this

There are several strategies to overcome the complexity issue within your PRM.

Firstly, it's essential to streamline the content within your PRM. Avoid using it as a dumping ground for an array of assets, some of which may become outdated or irrelevant over time. Instead, aim to run a lean partner portal with only the highest quality, most pertinent materials. By reducing the volume of content, you make it easier for sales teams to find what they need swiftly, thus enhancing their overall experience and incentivizing return visits.

The ultimate goal is to create a clean, simple portal where your partner sales teams can perform their necessary tasks efficiently and leave feeling satisfied. 

If every interaction with your PRM is positive for your partner sales teams, they are likely to return, without the fear of being overwhelmed by a flood of irrelevant information.

Reason 3: Separate portal

Here's the issue, partner sales teams are not frequent users of PRMs largely because PRMs are absent from their routine tasks.

Picturize an average day of your partners’ Account Executive (AE). Their routine predominantly consists of juggling sales calls, recording this information in their CRM, and interacting with colleagues via their preferred instant messaging tool.

Do you spot the problem in the aforementioned routine?

PRMs are excluded from this daily workflow. PRMs are positioned outside of this workflow, residing in a separate portal with distinct login credentials. This disconnect is a critical factor contributing to the mere 30% adoption rate of PRMs.

To truly resonate with partner sales teams, you need to integrate seamlessly into their everyday activities rather than existing as an external component.

PRMs are excluded the daily workflows of partner sales teams’, residing in a separate portal with distinct login credentials. This disconnect is a critical factor contributing to the mere 30% adoption rate of PRMs.

How to solve for this

The solution to this issue is straightforward: incorporate your PRM within the tools that your partners use frequently.

What does this entail?

As mentioned earlier, focus on integrating your PRM with the tools often used by partner sales teams to enhance the overall PRM adoption rates. Pronto has embraced this approach, developing integrations with both CRM and instant messaging tools. This allows for a PRM solution that can be easily accessed within the very tools that sales teams prefer to use.

The first integration, embedded within CRMs, introduces a widget within your partners' CRM systems. This widget can be utilized by partner sales teams to register deals directly. This functionality is bound to augment adoption rates as it allows sales teams to progress from discussions within their CRMs to deal registration in one seamless motion.

This streamlines the process for sales teams by eliminating the requirement to input a deal and document a conversation in their internal CRM, followed by a separate login to the PRM system to register the deal.

Moreover, thanks to Pronto's instant messaging integrations, crucial communication details like deal updates can be dispatched to these platforms. This ensures the likelihood of these updates being seen and interacted with by the relevant teams.

Reason 4: Lack of deal collaboration functionality

Deal closures or Sales are the crux of any partnership - they're of paramount importance to partner managers, as it's typically the key metric they're assessed on, and equally significant for partner sellers due to the associated commissions.

This brings us to another reason why PRM adoption rates are often low - the process of deal registration and overall collaboration can be particularly arduous through PRMs. In a conventional PRM system, a partner seller would log in to register a lead for a potential deal and then exit the system. The partner manager would then step in, evaluate the deal, look for any account conflicts, and eventually approve or reject the deal.

Following this, the partner sales representative would normally receive an email notification from the Partner Account Manager (PAM) or a system-generated email informing them of the deal's status. The onus is then on the sales representative to periodically check the deal status. Furthermore, if the deal is approved, the sales representative is expected to coordinate with the PAM or their sales team outside of the PRM system to strategize on how to proceed with the specific deal.

Here's the reality: partner sales teams don't have the bandwidth to go through this tedious process. Not only does the PRM system make the initial lead registration complex, but it also requires the partner sales teams to monitor the deal's progress and plan the follow-up. This burdensome process can lead to frustration and over time, could result in partner sales teams bypassing the PRM system altogether, opting instead to directly approach the PAM with a deal for them to register.

Partner sales teams don't have the bandwidth to go through tedious deal approval process, monitor deal progress, and plan the follow-up. This leads to frustration and over time results in partner sales teams bypassing the PRM system altogether.

How to solve for this

To resolve this, the goal should be to eliminate as many steps as possible from the partner sales team's workflow. Reverting back to an earlier point, one effective strategy is to facilitate deal registration and updates within the tools they're already utilizing daily.

Pronto's next-generation PRM addresses this issue by incorporating a widget into each sales representative's CRM. This allows them to register deals directly within their CRM and keep track of its progress seamlessly.

Moreover, with Pronto's additional functionality, which involves integration with instant messaging apps, collaboration becomes more streamlined. 

Instead of laborious back-and-forth emails with the partner account manager, notifications through the instant messaging apps can streamline communication and collaboration.

Reason 5: Lack of training and enablement 

The final reason as to why your PRM adoption might be low, is perhaps one of the simplest ones to solve.

Train your partners on how to use your portal.

It might seem like a simple one, but many partner teams simply grant a log in, and then leave their partners to it. Especially in larger partner programs where there are many partners, oftentimes, the onboarding on how to use your PRM, is simply a series of automated emails.

If you have ever brought any type of complex software you will quickly realize that this is inadequate and can lead to a ton of frustration. Without knowing how they are supposed to use your PRM, partner sales teams are likely to get frustrated and not want to use it again.

Without knowing how Partners are supposed to use your PRM, partner sales teams are likely to get frustrated and not want to use it again.

How to solve for this

Now, I know once your program reaches a certain scale it can be hard to do but there are ways to scale the training of how to use your PRM across your partners 

Use tools like Sendspark to record short videos walking through your PRM portal and any relevant features, and then send it as a follow up to your partner and their sales team. It's simple.

For larger partners, run training, but for your long tail of smalle partners work hard to strip the complexity out of your PRM by showing them how to use it. Mention many features, mention the sales team not caring about half the stuff, mention about no direction of where they need to go to do certain things, mention multiple portals.

Luckily for you, using Pronto makes the whole PRM experience easy for your partners, using templated journeys for each partner type you can pre select what is going to be seen and engaged with for each partner, bringing simplicity and specificity to their PRM experience.

In conclusion

To conclude, PRMs are, and will continue to be a core part of partner programs. They are needed to bring order to the madness that partner programs often bring. However, partner managers need to become better and encourage adoption of their PRM solutions so that their investment in the software is worthwhile.

As we have talked about in this blog post, reasons that partners dislike PRMs range from being too complex all the way to not receiving sufficient training to make them effective.

Luckily for the partnerships space and the partner managers in it, Pronto has created a next gen PRM which takes many of these issues into consideration, and meets them head on.  With its seamless integrations with popular workplace tools and its capacity to customize the PRM experience for each partner, Pronto is the ideal choice if you're seeking a PRM solution that will be adored by your partners.

The Author
Swaroop Kolli
Founder, CEO, and Board Member
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