Your CRM Is The Center Of Your Partnering Systems

Last week, I shared the 5 key principles of the Partner Reference Architecture.

Today, I'm going deeper on principle #1: Your CRM is the center of your partnering universe (a.k.a The Partnerverse)

It's the most basic and foundational principle. It starts by asking:

Where should I build my partner program?


There are many vendors who are creating solutions that seem to indicate that the partner program should be established in a 3rd party tool (i.e. a Partner Relationship Management tool or PRM). There are other platforms that serve as aggregator locations - where everyone is supposed to log in and congregate on a remote platform to swap leads and stories.

The key message in this OpEd is this: Keep your Partnership inside your CRM.

Your CRM is the crown jewel of your relationship information - and it also houses all of your sales information. Any 3rd party tool will not have access to this data - and therefore, any correlations you might make between partner activity and sales results can never be made.

We’ll talk more about exchanging data with 3rd party tools in later blog posts. However, the simple and most fundamental rule of partnering is to use your CRM as the center of the partnering universe.

Integrate or perish

You can use 3rd party tools as long as they are connected to your CRM, work with your CRM, and can interface with your CRM. However, if the 3rd party does not allow for seamless integration, and operation in your CRM, you should stop using that tool immediately.

We hear war stories about partnering professionals trying to wrap their CRM around their PRM, or trying to meld an Account Mapping solution into current business processes. If you’re trying to bend your CRM around a 3rd party tool, or if you’re not able to see the 3rd party tool data in your CRM - stop using it.

This is technical debt that you are creating for your partnering team. They will have to ‘swivel chair' between applications, or perform inefficient processes to get data to correlate.

Focus on the task, not the tech

Your job is to create a partnering program that runs efficiently - don’t start out with tools that create technical debt before you’ve even had a chance to scale up.

This does not mean you should abandon 3rd party tools. Use them for what they are good at. Just make sure you can get the business-critical data returned to your CRM for reporting purposes.


In summary - your CRM houses all of your sales information as well as all of your relationship information. You MUST have access to CRM data in conjunction with any 3rd party tool data in order to operate a successful partnering program.

Prefer to listen? Subscribe to our PartnerHacker Audio Articles Podcast. Text-to-speech provided by our partner

You've successfully subscribed to PartnerHacker
Great! Next, complete checkout to get full access to all premium content.
Error! Could not sign up. invalid link.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Error! Could not sign in. Please try again.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.
Error! Stripe checkout failed.
Success! Your billing info is updated.
Error! Billing info update failed.