• August 1, 2006
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Tech Solution: Partner Relationship Management Tools

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Dealers, agents, VARs, wholesalers, and distributors are the matchmakers of business--AMR Research estimates that 70 percent of companies today earn most of their revenue through these indirect channels. Partner relationship management (PRM) tools automate complex, difficult operations between sellers and their indirect channels before, during, and after the sale. Usually accessed through a Web portal, PRM software takes costs out of the processes, improves the quality of information flow, and allows measurement and analysis of channel partnerships.

Product: BlueRoads Channel Management Suite

Delivery Model: Web-based

Price: Pricing for BlueRoads PRM module, as part of the channel management suite, starts at $15,000 a year.

Business Benefits: The module centralizes partner profiles and operational data. This enables companies to model their partner network, determine channel coverage overlaps and gaps, manage channel program memberships, and monitor partner commitments and performance.

Functionality: Channel Management Suite enables partners to register via a self-service Web interface and select the product and channel program components that are best suited to their business requirements. The interface depicts a complete view of the partner network, including contact information, partner tier structures, and industry and product expertise. BlueRoads PRM also updates profiles based on partner accomplishments such as opportunities closed and revenue generated. Channel managers can create new channel programs and manage program membership by associating partners with programs.

Contact: BlueRoads at 650-349-8500; email at info@blueroads.com; or visit www.blueroads.com

Product: NetSuite CRM+

Delivery Model: Web-based

Price: NetSuite CRM+ starts at $129 per user, per month.

Business Benefits: The PRM component in NetSuite's CRM+ suite allows a company's sales organization to control campaigns, lead management, and order processing. Companies can also track sales activities and view forecasts on partner channels. Based on the level of their access, partners can view customer records and inventory, manage pipelines more effectively, and enter leads and process orders.

Functionality: Joint pipeline and opportunity management uses real-time dashboards so partners can view leads, which are assigned by rules and territories, or track separately multiple leads within the same company. To tie partner relationship management into marketing, NetSuite provides promotional discounts through channels as one-time-use discount, or limited time offers. Companies can support their partners' marketing efforts by monitoring and optimizing channel programs. Last, real-time inventory access lets partners view inventories and back-ordered items so they can track them through the entire fulfillment process.

Contact: NetSuite at 650-627-1000; email at info@netsuite.com; or visit www.netsuite.com

Product: Siebel Partner Relationship Management

Delivery Model: installed software

Price: Pricing was not available at press time.

Business Benefits: Siebel PRM is designed to support the entire partner management life cycle, from program management to business process collaboration. The solution comprises Siebel Partner Portal, Siebel Partner Manager, and Siebel Partner Analytics. By leveraging these tools, channel managers can coordinate selling, servicing, and marketing activities with their partners.

Functionality: Closed-loop lead and opportunity management capabilities enable leads to be automatically delivered to partners based on routing criteria such as partner skills and certification levels. Sell-side capabilities integrate sales processes, such as leads and opportunities, with transactional e-commerce capabilities. For service, Siebel PRM reduces support and call center costs by automatically delivering service requests to the right partners based on skills, location, service hours, and service loads. It also allows partners to file and track service requests on the customer's behalf.

Contact: Siebel at 800-366-5818; or visit www.siebel.com

Contact Editorial Assistant Colin Beasty at cbeasty@destinationCRM.com

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