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ChannelWave breaks into the PRM midmarket

Just like in the CRM arena, partner relationship management vendors are looking to the midmarket. Case in point: ChannelWave's newest release.

Partner relationship management (PRM) software maker ChannelWave Software Inc. is moving into the midmarket with a new Web-based offering aimed at companies with under $100 million in revenue.

The ChannelWave Mid-Market Edition features partner program management functionality, including automated partner recruitment, collaborative planning, joint marketing, lead management and forecasting. The package is aimed at the high-tech and telecommunications markets that Cambridge, Mass.-based ChannelWave also caters to in the enterprise space.

ChannelWave CEO Chris Heidelberger said the greatest competition in the midmarket remains homegrown applications. Improved PRM capabilities should allow users to boost channel visibility, increase sales revenues, cut costs, and strengthen partner and end-customer satisfaction, he said.

"Return on investment with PRM differs greatly from other types of CRM," Heidelberger said. "If you're selling 70% to 80% through the channel, you can really drive ROI immediately by improving lead closure in the channel by managing more collaboratively."

The Web-based software offers users and their partners the ability to manage account activity using an online dashboard. Company officials said an entry-level version of the PRM offering is available for a $40,000 implementation fee along with a $60-per-month, per-partner organization charge. ChannelWave said it has already deployed the package at six companies.

To show demand, Heidelberger cited research from Boston-based Aberdeen Group forecasting that midmarket firms will spend $50 billion on business software by the middle of the decade.

According to Karen Smith, research director at Aberdeen, it remains to be seen if PRM will be embraced by midmarket users. However, Smith recognized that the telecommunications and technology industries probably hold as much potential for channel management software as any other vertical markets.

"I don't know if midmarket companies will ever become completely dependent on PRM software, as they tend to pick up the phone to keep partnerships tight," Smith said. "But I think the Web-based delivery model works well, as midmarket companies appear to respond well to innovative ways to deploy or host applications."

Among the factors that Smith sees guiding midmarket companies in their technology buying strategy is vendor viability. With a slew of enterprise customers driving revenue for ChannelWave, it would seem this trend might also help push interest in its midmarket products.


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