CRM Good, PRM Better

Gartner: Partner relationship management projects yielding highest ROI among customer relationship efforts

Stamford, CT — May 1, 2003 — Customer relationship management (CRM) sales deployments have begun to show positive results, and partner relationship management (PRM) implementations have produced the highest return on investment (ROI), according to a recent survey by technology consultancy Gartner.

In December Gartner conducted an e-mail and phone survey of 343 North American sales organizations that had implemented sales applications. The respondents were asked if they had received demonstrable ROI from their deployments.

PRM scored the highest for sales deployments, with 66 percent of sales respondents saying they had received demonstrable ROI. The second highest rating was incentive compensation management systems, with 55 percent of respondents claiming verifiable ROI from the deployment of the application.

"At the heart of businesses efforts that are succeeding in today's increasingly competitive business environment is a recognition of the value of PRM," said Robert DeSisto, vice president and research director for Gartner. "Most businesses that depend on a multi-tier distribution channel with demand-network partners to provide value-added services — such as global distribution, vertical marketing and sales reach, or localized operations and customer support — have come to recognize that those indirect relationships must be properly orchestrated to compete effectively."

According to the survey, respondents said PRM provided improved effectiveness, improved efficiency and lower costs.

"Businesses must evaluate their multi-tiered distribution processes and capabilities with their demand network partners," said DeSisto. "The ultimate goal for manufacturers should be to implement technology that will make it easier for partners to do business with them at a lower cost to serve."

The Gartner report comes on the heels of other studies asserting that CRM implementations are producing returns for enterprises undertaking customer relationship initiatives. For example, iSource Business recently reported on a study by consultancy Aberdeen Group showing that a majority of businesses utilizing CRM products said the technology has yielded demonstrable benefits and produced notable investment returns for them.

Separately, tech research firm META Group has reported that CRM apps will evolve to provide a "near-total" solution by 2005, just as CRM re-emerges as must-have software.