Channel Mechanics

How to Build a Business Case for PRM – A C-Suite Perspective

Channel Mechanics

Dave O’Callaghan is Partner and Co-Founder of Vation Ventures. As a former channel chief of both Cisco and VMWare, we very fortunate to have Dave share his expertise with us on the topic of “How to Build a Business Case for PRM.” Dave provided a valuable C-Suite perspective on some of the critical considerations to highlight to your leadership team in order to get the go-ahead to invest in PRM (Partner Relationship Management). Some of his perspectives are summarized in this blog.


How to Build a Business Case for PRM – A C-Suite Perspective


1. Position PRM as Top-of-Funnel

Dave advises talking about the importance of PRM in relation to the funnel stages captured within your CRM. A full-funnel CRM tracks awareness, interest, desire, reward and, often, some customer success. Dave recommends positioning PRM as sitting above this.

“What you truly want is new top-of-funnel for your CRM, and that’s where PRM sits.”

Position PRM as the key system sitting on top of CRM, significantly contributing to partner recruitment, enablement, training, and overall channel effectiveness. It is then clear to your leadership team that the PRM acts as the driver for channel-sourced deals and other top-of-funnel activities.


2. Channel-Sourced is your Number One Metric

When talking about the metrics by which you will measure the ROI of your PRM implementation, Dave advises that the number one metric that all ELTs (Executive Leadership Teams) care the most about is partner-sourced deals.

“Delivering on those metrics says (to the ELT): we’ve found the right partners, we’ve enabled the right partners, we’re now in the quote to cash system, they are now automated through the PRM into the CRM.”

Being able to demonstrate channel-sourced revenue will give you a lot of credibility with the leadership team, raising not only the value of your partner ecosystem but also the importance of PRM.

 “That’s where the juice comes from in the top of funnel”.




3. Talk about the Impact on Customer Satisfaction

One of the primary objectives of implementing a PRM, is to improve the partner experience, but when talking to your leadership team, don’t forget to talk about the impact it can have on your customers too.

“What I’ve found is when PRM is instituted very well, the NPS score from customers, when a partner is involved, is higher than when its sold direct. With that single statistic you have the ability to gain investment for PRM.”


4. Set Realistic Expectations

When positioning for the ROI on your PRM, it’s important to set realistic expectations. Manage expectations around the timeframes for PRM’s impact on sales cycles.

“You can’t really change the average selling time for deals by your company. If it takes six months from opportunity to close for your direct sales force, it is probably going to take your channel partners the same amount of time. Make sure you add on that amount of time to whatever you tell your executives.”

Before committing to an ROI, factor in the time to stand-up the PRM system and the time it will take for partners to start engaging with you. Think about the success metrics you could report on as leading indicators, in other words, the “green shoots”. For example, partner engagement, numbers of deals registered and so on.

“Account for the front-end work, the green shoots, and then the average sales cycle that you’re probably not going to accelerate more than your direct business.”




5. Articulate the Risk of Non-Investment

While it is important to articulate the ROI you expect from your PRM investment, it is just as important to underscore the inherent risk of non-investment. Dave advises to explain the necessity of adopting a systematic approach to improve visibility of channel performance within your company. Also, highlight the role that PRM can play in ensuring more effective collaboration across various departments and teams. Without this investment, there is an increased risk of misinformation, overlapping efforts, and missed opportunities, which could result in costly mistakes. The message is that failure to invest in a PRM poses a substantial risk to business operations. It is a fundamental investment for accurate indirect revenue data, streamlined internal coordination, and effective partner management.

“I’ve been in rooms where someone says, “well I think the partner sourced was 35%”, another says, “I think its zero”, and somebody else says another number– everybody has different data. Put the systems in place, and have one single source of truth.”


To Conclude

In summary, positioning PRM as a top-of-funnel driver and highlighting channel-sourced deals as a key metric, will strengthen your business case. Manage expectations and emphasize the risk of non-investment. PRM is not only an investment in partner management but a strategic investment for accurate revenue and pipeline data, streamlined operations, and business resilience.


To learn more about building the business case for PRM, watch the webinar or download our whitepaper on How to Build the Business Case for PRM“.




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