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Manufacturing’s Next Competitive Edge? Partnership Data

This post on the power of partnership data for manufacturing companies was originally posted on Industry Today

In today’s business world, the ability to make informed, data-driven decisions has become crucial. This is especially true in manufacturing, where precision and efficiency are not just goals but industry necessities. While many manufacturers use ERP platforms to gather and analyze data, they tend to overlook another crucial technology that could give them deeper visibility into their revenue and sales data: partner relationship management (PRM). PRM platforms offer a way to track and measure data from your extensive network of dealers, resellers, distributors, OEM/ODMs, suppliers, and other partners, offering a wealth of data and untapped potential.

Your power lies in partnerships with dealers, resellers, and distributors

McKinsey describes the shift towards partnerships as the “single largest economic transformation of human history,” projecting that by 2030, partner ecosystems could drive 30% of the global economy.

A robust ecosystem of resellers, distributors, suppliers, and ODMs/OEMs can help you navigate many of today’s most pressing manufacturing challenges. An engaged partner network not only enhances your adaptability and agility in the marketplace, but also increases resilience, helps you build more predictable revenue streams, and enables swift responses to market disruptions.

Yet, despite these benefits, only 31% of CEOs are leveraging partner ecosystems to their full advantage. Partner ecosystem management can get you there, empowering you to make better data-driven decisions regarding your indirect sales, support capabilities, and more.

Better decisions, driven by data

A PRM platform extends the reach of data-driven decision-making beyond the confines of your internal operations to embrace the full breadth of your reseller and distributor networks. This expansion doesn’t merely add volume to the data at hand; it enriches the quality of the insights you can tap into, leading to more effective decision-making.

Manufacturers can leverage data from a PRM platform to achieve benefits like:

  • Deeper market insights: Through the aggregated data from distributors and resellers, manufacturers can gain a deeper understanding of market dynamics, consumer behaviors, marketing campaign performance, and competitive landscapes.
  • Access to end-user feedback: Data from your resellers can unlock patterns in customer preferences and feedback, connecting your team directly with the end-user experience. This feedback loop is invaluable for product refinement, customer service strategies, and more.
  • Resilience against labor shortages: Detailed partner data can reveal where gaps exist in support and service roles that partners could fill. This approach allows manufacturers to address labor shortages strategically by outsourcing certain functions or collaborating on shared service models.
  • Greater risk management and compliance: In highly regulated industries like manufacturing, partner data from a PRM tool can provide critical insights into compliance and risk management. By tracking the compliance status and risk profiles of suppliers and partners, manufacturers can address potential issues before they impact the business.
  • Diversified revenue streams: Insights from partner data can help manufacturers identify new market opportunities, leading to the development of new revenue streams or outreach strategies.

How does this look in practice? As one example, Stanley Black & Decker found that their prospective customers were browsing online for related products, while the data showed that their regional distributors were concentrating their marketing budgets on traditional offline methods like distributing brochures and flyers. This also cut local dealers out of the process. By establishing an AI-powered Google Ads campaign directly on behalf of these local resellers, Stanley Black & Decker met their customers right where they were—and achieved a 49% reduction in cost per lead and a 163% increase in local dealers’ leads because of it. 

By integrating PRM into your greater operational framework, you not only bridge the gap between internal and external data sources but also lay the foundation for a more agile, responsive, and informed decision-making process that accounts for your full supply chain. This comprehensive approach to data empowers manufacturers to navigate the complexities of the global market with unprecedented clarity and confidence.

Investing in your future growth

Oracle notes that leading manufacturers are investing in technology now to help weather future industry challenges, noting that in a Deloitte survey, 60% were investing specifically in data analytics tools.

The potential ROI and benefits of investing in a PRM platform are significant, ranging from improved reseller/distributor engagement and market reach to enhanced operational efficiency. Integrating PRM into the manufacturing industry’s tech stack is not just an investment in technology; it’s an investment in the future of the sector itself.

As manufacturers increasingly look towards a more interconnected and collaborative industry, the role of PRM in harnessing the power of their partner ecosystems will become more critical. By doing so now, manufacturers not only set themselves apart in a competitive industry but also pave the way for a future where data-driven decision-making and partner collaboration are at the heart of success.

About the Author

Mike Kirby is the Sr. Director of Partner Strategy and Growth at Impartner. Kirby is a growth-oriented and results-driven partnerships leader with a talent for cultivating collaborative partnerships that drive partner channel program success. A dynamic sales executive, he has a passion for building high-performing teams based on trust and customer-first culture. Kirby is a KPI-building mastermind, tracking metrics to ensure that objectives are achieved and exceeded. With his proven track record of exceeding quotas, growing sales, and expanding pipelines, Kirby is a leader who has built a reputation as a trailblazer in his field. He is an experienced and well-trained mentor, coach, and recruiter who is effective at building and managing relationships with both B2B and B2C clients. Kirby has extensive leadership and volunteer experience in local business organizations, including United Way of Salt Lake and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Profile Photo of Mike Kirby