PRM Scores High Marks

Sales organizations are seeing strong return on investment from partner relationship management (PRM) initiatives, according to a recent Gartner research study. The study polled 343 North American sales organizations that had implemented sales applications, asking if the company felt it had received demonstrable ROI from the deployments. PRM scored the highest for sales deployments, with 66 percent of sales respondents saying they had received demonstrable ROI. The second-highest rating was incentive compensation management systems, with 55 percent of respondents claiming verifiable ROI from the deployment of the application. "The fundamental reason that PRM has provided strong, tangible ROI is because most of the applications developed for partners and distributors involve self-service and order management, as opposed to the traditional system of calling into a contact center," Robert DeSisto, vice president and research director for Gartner and author of the report, says of the results. "With self-service comes a reduction in call time and in turn a reduction in headcount in call centers, which can be easily measured." DeSisto adds that most PRM applications allow for better lead management among indirect sales departments. "Companies can now get the right sales lead to the right partner at the right time," he says, "which is also easier to track, and those leads can be easily connected to revenue increases and placed into an ROI calculation. Though PRM initiatives resulted in the highest levels of ROI, DeSisto says that some applications, like sales forecasting solutions, are very valuable, but do not show any tangible return on the money spent to implement them. "These systems are highly valuable and provide visibility of the sales environment for a company, but how do you place a numeric value on an accurate sales forecast?" DeSisto says. Although PRM and forecasting solutions may be working well for sales organizations, DeSisto says that some applications are failing to show ROI at all in some instances. "One major failure is when organizations implement an opportunity management system on its own, with no support behind the system," he says. "In many cases the sales representatives will not enter the data needed to make these types of applications effective, so that the visibility promised is never reached and those opportunities go untouched."
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