In my previous post, I talked about the marked differences and even overlap between CRM, PRM and CMM systems and how they cause some confusion, but shouldn’t be seen as a negative. Rather, they offer an opportunity to combine core system capabilities in order to achieve the next wave of what we call “channel partner performance management.”

For example, while reporting between CMM and PRM is fundamentally different, it could prove incredibly powerful when viewed as a whole. CMM reporting tends to focus on things like adoption rates, numbers of campaigns offered to partners and executed, campaign results, etc. PRM portals don’t necessarily care about those metrics. Instead, they focus on logins, content usage, deal registration policies, certifications, et al. Taken together, both sets of analytics provide a more in-depth picture of what’s really going on across a partner community than they could alone.

The market is beginning to demand a more unified solution set, which is driving the different systems toward each other. CRM and PRM systems are looking for ways to offer current users CMM capabilities. Zift’s Embedded Access Apps (EAAs) extend the functionality of many of the most popular CRM and PRM systems with seamless integration that delivers CMM functionality directly into the systems partners are already using. Conversely, CMM Platforms, including Zift, are recognizing the need to provide sales tools along with marketing capabilities. They’re closing the sales enablement gap and exploring partnerships with organizations that provide sales training and certification along with CMM.

In my estimation, we’ll continue to see CRM systems and PRM portal vendors first partner with, then merge with CMM as the space continues to consolidate. So, when looking at or choosing vendors, be sure to seek out those that have a proven history of integrations and growth. Also be sure what you choose has an open platform, making it easier to connect the various systems.

Ultimately, choosing which system is best is about where channel organizations are in their journey to implement the next generation of partner enablement capabilities. Portals and CMM platforms both have their place to drive channel success.