TreeHouse rebrands as Impartner, launches new, easier to onboard PRM solution

Impartner believes its new partner relationship management solution will revolutionize PRM the same way Salesforce revolutionized CRM. It is going to market in Europe through a channel sales model, and if that it successful, they will look at doing the same here.

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Dave Taylor, Impartner’s CMO

Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solution provider TreeHouse Interactive has both changed its name and its flagship solution. The company’s new name is Impartner. Its’ new partner portal solution is designed to be easier to use than before, including the ability to be deployed in 30 days.

“We want to take a lot of that complexity and time to deploy out, and make it simple, the same way Salesforce did with CRM,” said Dave Taylor, Impartner’s CMO. “The new name is a way to say we are dumbing the PROCESS down. We wanted to be perceived as a smart modern company. We wanted a name that conveyed to people the value of PRM, that captured that the reason people use the portal was to impart information. The look and feel is very new. The old look, with treehouses and leaves and branches, wasn’t.”

Impartner’s PRM solution provides a web portal for partner management, onboarding, deal registration, and partner performance analytics. It is fully customizable by the vendor who purchases it. While it is designed for any type of company that sells through any kind of indirect channel, to date the market has been almost entirely IT vendors.

“Other companies that sell indirect could certainly use this – like insurance companies that sell through agents, or MLM companies that sell through ‘distributors’ – but the vast majority of our customers have been tech companies, because that’s where PRM has been traditionally,” Taylor said.

He drew an analogy to CRM, and the way tech companies were willing to be early adopters in the name of efficiency, even when the products from companies like Siebel were clunky, before Salesforce revolutionized the segment.

“PRM is in the same spot now as CRM was then,” Taylor said. “The companies that are willing to shoulder the burden of implementing and looking for a competitive edge are willing to be early adopters.”

Taylor said that Impartner is now in a position to play the same role in PRM as Salesforce did in CRM. Ironically, as Treehouse, the company had a SaaS product in that space which predated Salesforce – but without the same success.

“Their first commercially successful product one was a marketing automation tool, cloud hosted, which could do email campaigns, but they were limited because the company then was essentially two programmers in a garage,” he said. “The PRM came only about seven years ago, and spoke to a demand that was in the market even then. A year ago, that demand had grown to the point where they needed to bring in outside investment to grow. These new investors essentially bought the company and are looking to grow with this wave of PRM adoption.”

Taylor was one of those investors. He was working at Seattle-based security vendor Watchguard, whose partner portal, which had been developed in-house, was an acknowledged mess.

“We budgeted cash to fix it, got two weeks into redevelopment planning, and then decided to find a company that did this for a living,” he said. They used Treehouse, and liked the product to the point where Taylor wound up as an investor in the company and coming over to it.

Much of the technology in the new Impartner product is the same as its predecessor, the Treehouse Reseller View product.

“We didn’t rewrite it from the ground up, but we did rewrite the onboarding process,” Taylor said. The result is a three-step Velocity process that allows the portal to be deployed in 30 days. First, the customer sends a link to a wizard. Second, the wizard mails back a template prepopulated with text, which the customer customizes to suit them best. Third, the customer then points the portal to the data repository where their partner information is stored.

The other significant change was the simplification in the available modules.

“Before there were a lot of modules to choose from, to the point where when I was a customer, I was overwhelmed,” he said “Wasn’t there ONE marketing bundle? Did I have to buy seven marketing modules?”

As a result, in the new product, the modules have been consolidated, with one core product, which contains everything many customers will need, and everything else bundled into six optional packs – a partner locator, co-branded marketing, lead management, training, content, and MDF management.

“We believe this will drive the market from early adopters to mass market adoption,” Taylor said.

From a channel angle, in North America, there isn’t much here at the moment, other than the possibility that a vendor a solution provider works with might pick up the product, but that could change.

“Everything we have done up to now is direct,” Taylor said. “However we are opening up Europe with a partner-based selling model. If this works there, we will implement it here.

“Now that we have modularized the product, and made it simpler to sell as well as to use, I can see this becoming a channel product here as well,” he stated.