CRM Handbook / Partnership Relationship Management (PRM)
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Partnership Relationship Management (PRM)

Page history last edited by Kate Mitchell 8 years, 3 months ago

Developing successful partnerships between universities and external organisations is not an exact science. Although attempts have been made to put a scientific framework around business and community engagement, “serendipity” is a concept that is very familiar to knowledge transfer practitioners and brokers. The process does not tend to follow a standard pattern and it is difficult to establish set procedures to deliver the desired outcome, although CRM and PRM can be put in place to support engagement and maximise the benefits of opportunities that arise.  


Professor Thomas Baaken from the Münster University of Applied Sciences in Germany heads up the Science to Business Marketing Research Centre, which has researched and explored the principles for Partnership Relationship Management in the context of education and business engagement.


A number of years ago he spoke at a symposium for CRM in Higher Education and extolled that there were six Golden Rules in Partnering[1].


Rule 1: Both partners must achieve distinctive benefits/disadvantages through the cooperation and/or partnership. These benefits have to be clearly defined.

Rule 2: A strategic co-operation has to be agreed by contract. There must be at least one standard bearer on each side.

Rule 3: Always go for number one or the market leader or visionaries first.

Rule 4: Act Fast strategic partnerships are developing right now.

Rule 5: Co-operations have to be evaluated and validated again after a certain amount of time (possibly terminated at the start).

Rule 6: The development of a partnership requires a form of individuality in defining the benefits and the procedures by Partner Relationship Management.


Good Practice Example

Sheffield Hallam University is currently working on a business to business work stream in its Faculty of Development and Society to ensure that secured contracts are captured on the system, users are very clear about who their key customers are, the sectors they are working in and what is required of them to make sure they are being proactive. As well as just responding to calls for projects, staff at the university are now aiming to build long term relationships with partners with whom they wish to work.

The University currently works with a wide range of clients in the public and private sector, for example the Department of Work and Pensions and British Airways. As a result of the number and range of relationships the institution has recognised that it needs a clear account management process and systems in place in order for staff to proactively manage relationships.  Without CRM only certain individuals will be aware of whom a certain contact is within a company, CRM eliminates this issue of limited information and makes tacit knowledge explicit so staff can join things up more effectively and efficiently.

Mike Chadwick, Knowledge Transfer Champion, Sheffield Hallam University


  1. Prof Thomas Baaken, Partner Relationship Management, Symposium Customer Relationship Management (CRM)at Universities Tuesday June 26th 2007 Coventry University, UK