First-generation Partner Relationship Management systems were stand-alone systems requiring complex and costly integration with existing CRM and ERP systems in order to function. As the first dedicated tools for channel lead management and customer acquisition, these early PRM solutions were constrained by their design as a stand-alone system in isolation of the core business process systems. Companies and their channels struggled with required integration between the internal CRM, back-office, and silo-ed PRM systems.
In early 2003 NetSuite led the second-generation PRM revolution, providing a leap forward for collaborative customer management with joint lead, opportunity management and service management in a combined CRM/PRM product. More importantly, the arms length relationship with partners was removed. Selling partners were now rightfully treated as an extension of the company they were representing-they could access leads, track opportunities, find product pricing promotions, and check support cases of their clients all simply by logging on to the Web and their partner self-service portal. The channel was now an equal partner in serving a vendors customers.
Todays new PRM+ release brings the integration of PRM and CRM together with the back-office transactional system critical to seamless partner management and partner business processes. Customer facing CRM and PRM processes extend through the back office for seamless sales management and order fulfillment, inventory availability, returns processing, and-critical to every channel relationship-partner incentive compensation management.
NetSuite is on a mission to correct the misguided course of customer relationship management that other CRM vendors have charted and too many companies have followed-theyve built and sold PRM as a silo separate from core CRM and back-office operations, said Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite. NetSuite is setting the correct course with PRM, CRM and the back-office facilitating a seamless business process. By listening to customers-and their sales teams inside and in the channel, NetSuite has anticipated the next wave of market dynamics. PRM+ prepares companies to manage distributed networks of direct and in-direct teams selling to and serving customers.
NetSuite Is the Golden Spike That Joins PRM with CRM Seamlessly
Lets face it: theres a lot of conflict and competition among teams when selling to and serving customers. Internally, sales and service are many times managed among a team clamoring for credit and commissions. Beyond the four walls, channel conflict often pits direct and partner sales against each other. Both of these dynamics are self-serving and at the detriment of prospects and customers. NetSuite seamlessly blends customer relationship management with partner relationship management to turn once opposing teams into a unified front to best serve their customers. The latest generation of PRM+ from NetSuite adds the ability for partners to enter new orders directly via their self-service portal or easily one-click convert opportunities into quotes and orders with access to real-time inventory availability-giving the vendor organization complete and accurate visibility for sales forecasting, and minimizing any potential channel conflict regarding who is credited for the sale.
Partner Incentive Compensation Management
With any partner channel, a primary challenge is in encouraging partners to provide the vendor organization with information regarding the sales in their pipeline. Now with new partner commission capabilities in NetSuite PRM+, partners have the ultimate incentive to update and manage new orders within their self-service portal. With every order they enter, their projected compensation is updated as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) on their Dashboard. They also have visibility into the commission that has already been approved and is due to them in their next payment. For the vendor organization, partner commissions can be used as a stand-alone feature or in conjunction with employee commissions for direct sales. This means that commission can be calculated and paid to both internal employees and partners on the same sales transaction, if needed. Partner commission can be calculated based on the same parameters as that of employees. For example, commission schedules can be based on sales, quantity sold, profitability, inventory total profit, and more. Incentive compensation schedules can also be structured in multiple tiers and rolled up to handle anything from the most complex to simple commission plans, allowing the vendor organization to track compensation for a variety of partner types, including everything from resellers to referral partners to royalty payments.
PRM+: A Win-Win All Around
The vendor companies that extend NetSuite PRM+ to their partners also benefit greatly. They get greater visibility into partner pipelines and forecasts because the opportunities and orders are managed directly in the same system. They eliminate redundant day-to-day partner support as partners can now access much of what they need to know simply by logging into the system. They can determine the effectiveness of joint marketing campaigns. And best of all, the company providing the partner access doesn't have to do anything special to enable this access. There's no complex data to be imported or exported, no tricky XML Web services to be written. All that's required is using a simple point and click GUI to define what data and application functionality a specific partner has rights to view and edit. Then the partners are online leveraging all the advanced CRM and back-office functions integrated in NetSuite. With better tools for both vendors and partners, the ultimate benefactor is the customer.
Pricing and Availability
PRM+ is available now in NetSuite and NetSuite CRM+. Partner commission is available in the Incentive Compensation module for $299 per month; Advanced Partner Center access is available for $49 per month per partner.