Relayware Reseller: There's A Huge, Untapped VAR Market For Partner Relationship Management Solutions

As a new crop of technology vendors discovers the potential of ramping up sales through indirect channels, solution providers are discovering opportunities to bring partner relationship management (PRM) products to market.

Relayware, headquartered in Jersey City, N.J., is one vendor in the rapidly emerging PRM space that's selling cloud-based software through its own channel to companies building or fortifying their channels.

"When companies buy from us, it's about driving more revenue. Companies spend millions on Salesforce or [Microsoft] Dynamics for driving their direct revenue, but how do you reach a partner channel that’s continually changing, educate them, provide them the tools to be successful?" said Jim DeSocio, Relayware's chief revenue officer.

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"Most of these partners are selling multiple products from multiple vendors. So how do our clients become top of mind for their partners?" DeSocio told CRN.

To that end, Relayware offers vendors four packs: a partner portal, sales lead generation, marketing, and a partner training system.

Because the cloud has ushered in an era of tremendous agility in product development and deployment, competition in the IT market is heating up more rapidly than ever globally.

Vendors don't have the patience necessary to grow their in-house sales teams; they know they need to scale fast to remain competitive, and partners are the only means to help them do that.

And one partner sees a strong market opportunity.

Gal Biran, CEO of ChannelSmart, a channel development consultancy headquartered in Israel that brings Relayware's solution to market, told CRN that reselling PRM products represents a strong growth business for VARs.

"There's a huge market out there. It's really untapped. Everywhere they've sold [customer relationship management] in the past, they know that company is doing channel business. That's a market with potential," Biran told CRN.

Relayware claims that vendors that leverage its channel-enablement software to onboard partners see 10 times more portal visits, and generate 50 percent more sales.

Those numbers illustrate how critical it is for IT vendors to not only recruit, but also engage their partners, he said.

"Onboarding [for Relayware] isn't just signing a new partner. The onboarding process is constantly trying to get them to engage with our customers, to be trained and certified on their products," DeSocio told CRN.

The more aggressive vendors are in their efforts to onboard partners, the more certifications those partners typically earn and the more interest they develop in selling their solutions, he said.

Many name-brand technology vendors are Relayware customers, including Kaspersky Lab, Nutanix, NETGEAR and RingCentral.

This year, interest in PRM systems started to catch up to that of CRM, sais Biran, of ChannelSmart, and market demand should ramp up in the coming years.

"You can see that the market is now trending into more [of] a mature area, where more customers understand the need for PRM," he added.

For resellers, especially in less mature markets, the challenge remains to educate vendors on the capabilities, and sometimes even existence, of PRM solutions such as Relayware's, Biran said.

But any company working with more than 50 partners, or doing more than $20 million in annual revenue, should consider leveraging a PRM system — a large potential customer base for Relayware partners, he said.

And PRM software is rich with opportunities for VARs to add services beyond what the vendors provide, such as customization, integration and management.

"It's much like CRM. You can't just sell this piece of software hoping everything works fine. More importantly, there's the ongoing stuff," Biran said. "Resellers bring value in always thinking of better ways to utilize the software in the way it really does what PRM should do; [it] enhances the partner relationship and enhances sales through partners."

Relayware, which has been in business for more than a decade, is one of the most flexible and mature products in the category. The solution is highly customizable, and can handle complex demands, like connecting to mobile apps and internal ERP systems, Biran told CRN.

"They're very good at doing complex stuff to support complex channels globally, supporting all partner aspects of sales, marketing, training," he said.