Passive income is easily the most widely revered source of cash.

Making money while you sleep? It’s a no-brainer.

Even better is having someone else make money on your behalf.

Strategic collaboration through reseller programs is a direct source of growth within SaaS startups, with those who partner growing 5% faster than those who go it alone.

Partner relationship management (PRM) involves the best practices in terms of systems and operations to aid partners who support a company’s sales. An important factor towards onboarding, training, and selling, PRM is a crucial variable for success.

Partner Programs

Partner programs can be of various kinds depending on your business and goals.

Most partner programs are developed in order to find sales solutions. When companies partner with outside channels, they get access to more leads and customers. Typically, this looks like a commission or credit for channel partners upon the referral of leads to the company.

Alternatively, some companies nurture a partner relationship with marketing development teams. They outsource the marketing section of the business to help grow revenue while maintaining a “hands-off” approach. Marketing development partners manage key channels, including:

  • paid ad campaigns
  • message automation
  • social media
  • content marketing & SEO

When you’re successful in effectively managing partner relationships, selling will feel like automation! If you create the right strategies and implement best practices, the whole process is highly scalable and repeatable. With detailed and structured steps in place, you can always guarantee returns of X from Y.

But partner relationships need to be nurtured and developed inside a partner program in order to ensure a smooth onboarding and sales process. If there are barriers to this process, it may not be as efficient as it could be. Therefore, PRM seeks to build a strategy towards communication and collaboration to improve performance.


While PRM is partner relationship management, CRM refers to customer relationship management.

So are these two similar?

No, they aren’t. In fact, the techniques you’ll use for partner relationship management will typically contrast with customer relationship management. This is because PRM focuses on business-to-business (B2B) management, whereas CRM refers to the business-to-customer (B2C) relationship.

In both cases, you are managing the relationship between your company and a source of revenue, but partners are internal while customers are external. Therefore, keeping these relationships separate is important in order to make both parties feel valued.

PRM also requires more communication and a collaborative mindset. Partners who feel involved in the plans and future of a company are more likely to be aligned and working towards its success. Plus, PRM software is a functional database to aid all parties in making sales and creating win-win situations.

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PRM Best Practices

The best practices in partner relationship management involve finding solutions that create maximum efficiency within the partnership. This might focus on the tools and processes being used or how your company works with data. Either way, it’s about discovering and supporting what solutions work to help increase sales.

Partner Knowledge

To start with, it’s important to know your partners and their service. While every partnership is different, there will be common challenges to manage among the vendors in your partner program. Understanding the key motivations and workflow for these partners can improve the customer journey and highlight where your focus needs to be.

Partner Portal

Access to a cloud-based portal collects and connects your partners in one location, and simplifies the collaboration to a single platform. This type of PRM solution is brilliant for streamlining the training process but also sets boundaries around contact and involvement.

By creating a partner portal, your channel or other partners can work through a consistent system to onboard and gather insights and data on your product. They can also collaborate with managers inside your company to engage more quickly. What’s more, a portal will not impact the relationship between your partner and their customer—it is simply a platform to track ROI.

Deal Registration

Partner sales hinge on deal registration within a resellers’ program. These programs recognize the effort partners put into marketing your product and provide resources in return.

A good deal registration program will grow your lead pipeline while reducing competition and potential channel conflict between partners. Transactions are registered through the program and partnerships can be directly nurtured in order to manage relationships.

Plus, partners can compete with your pricing since they are directly representing your brand. Partners are not penalized for originating outside of your organization.

PRM Examples

The purpose of partner relationship management is to make partners feel valued, prioritized, and aided as they sell on your behalf.


Offering your partners regular and high-quality training is the most important resource. Properly trained sales staff are not only good at selling, but they are also more motivated and enthusiastic, too.


Post training, certificating your partners could be key in terms of your PRM strategy. Certificates ensure that partnerships and training are renewed and offer performance solutions as well. If at the end of the certification period, a partner is not performing, it might be time to focus elsewhere.

Points of Contact

Partners should have access to a number of touchpoints in the form of managers and account holders who they can contact. These resources, and support, are key for resellers and can offer extra insights they may not find within your company’s chosen PRM system. It also means that a genuine relationship is built, enhancing the engagement from your channel partners.

Digital Programs

Partner relationship management is becoming more significant and essential as remote working becomes more common. Digital programs conglomerate each partner in one place and location is no longer a barrier to access. This is also beneficial for companies looking to expand into international destinations.

For many SaaS start-ups, the sales process can be challenging and ‘bootstrapped’ upon launch. But implementing a good PRM system early on sets habits that end up becoming best practices. PRM is one of the most efficient routes to, and the likely cause of, exponential growth.

If you’re looking to stop with the scrappy, and exploring other ways to scale, it might be time to consider R&D finance. No two business paths are the same, and neither are financing solutions. So if you’re ready to learn more about funding, get in touch today.

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Alex Kepka

Alex is a tech-focused funding expert, helping innovative companies grow through innovative funding through her work at Fundsquire. She also has a background in journalism, having written for outlets like Vice and many others in the past on topics ranging from philosophy to economics.