Understanding what your organization needs today, and twelve months from now is not easy. Hopefully, this helps.

The age-old question, should we “build or buy” is undoubtedly one of the first ones that need to be answered when your company decides to invest in channel technology. It is natural, and perfectly understandable to assume that given your army of developers your team could put something together in a sprint or two, but not so fast, it is not that easy.

Given the plentiful options available being provided by organizations like Vartopia who have invested years, and millions of dollars building PRM solutions it does not make much sense to try and build your own. For argument’s sake, let us assume the buy route is the way you are going to go. How do you decide what you need, a simple partner portal, or a full-blown PRM Software?

The answer to this question is driven by a few factors such as your growth rate, the types of partners you are planning to have, and the resources you foresee having to support the technology.

What are the differences between PRM Software and Partner Portal Software?

Partner Relationship Management (PRM software):

Partner Relationship Management (PRM software) encompasses a wide range of tools that all revolve around channel sales, marketing, and operations. PRM software typically includes features that address process gaps, operational inefficiencies and help companies execute their business processes as it relates to going to market through partners. Partner Portals are typically just one component of a wider range of functionality bundled into PRM software.

PRM Software includes a database component to help organize all your partner accounts and contacts. PRM also usually includes a deal registration component, lead distribution, to and through partner marketing automation as well as enablement/training components. PRM software can be used as your channel’s source of truth when access to your organization’s CRM is hidden behind layers of red tape.

Partner Portal Software:

Partner Portal Software on the other hand, it is much more focused on one single area of your partner’s interactions with you, and your organization. For the most part, it can be assumed that your partners will be largely the ones interacting with the partner portal. Partners will come here to access all your relevant marketing information, sales playbooks, and links out to other tools like deal registration software, LMS, CMS, and potentially demo environment solutions.

Budget & size of your channel

At the end of the day, deciding on what you need today, based upon the size of your channel and approved budget might be what you are able to get.

Keep in mind, it’s not just the software costs you need to consider. You will need resources internally to help manage it.

PRM Software is typically deployed in full at more of an enterprise-level due to the high costs associated with the complex software, and the resources needed to manage it. At the same time, PRM software does allow an organization to manage every aspect of the channel, and every step of the partner journey as the program matures. The question becomes, if you are ready for the financial investment, are you also ready to support the initiative with internal resources. Cannot have one, without the other.

PRM Software can become a beast of a solution, giving its customers plenty of functionality. Partner portals are concise, and to the point, requiring very little to maintain. Even though the partner portal serves its purpose, and is a staple in a partner program, it is still very limited when compared to PRM software.

Be confident in your decision!

Just because your competitors are choosing to pick one solution over the other, doesn’t mean you need to. Technology implementations are a huge lift, so making sure you pick what you need today, and twelve months from now is important. Not ever channel requires the same set of tools for both vendors and partners. What’s important is to understand and identify the actual needs of your channel, explore future growth plans and then move forward with your implementation.

Once you decide which direction you are going to go, just do it! Track your implementation progress against milestones defined with your vendor of choice, and work towards a goal go-live date. Soft launch with friendly partners before going live to the world!

Whether you choose a PRM Software or partner portal, the platform should act as an information hub and help to bring an even more enhanced experience for your partners. Request a demo today to explore Vartopia’s partner portal today!