Using partner portals to improve partner relationship management

Community for customers, partners and users: Part 5 of 5

Nov 16, 2020
Technology industry Salesforce

The Salesforce Partner Experience Cloud (formerly Partner Community Cloud) has powerful capabilities to create partner portals, particularly for partner relation management (PRM). Great partnerships involve deep sharing of information and cross-collaboration on marketing, client opportunities and client support. Coupled with the need for companies to manage multiple partner types (think distributor, technology partner, etc.) and automate their partnership (think new partner acquisition, onboarding, deal registration and support), Salesforce’s Partner Experience Cloud is a critical piece for companies to scale and improve the quality of their partner operations.

Many companies want to:

  • Empower their partners, which is a win-win when customers can increase their sales and marketing research through partners
  • Attract more partners and onboard them successfully and efficiently
  • Support their partners and joint customers, because when partners have the information and tools to better support customers, it means your joint customers are more successful and attaining more value
  • Focus more time on relationships and growth, not on the mechanics

The Salesforce Partner Experience Cloud enables your partner users to log in to Salesforce, and collaborate and access data that you have made available only to them. In the Salesforce PRM solution, you can:

  • Extend Salesforce so that partners can, with a high degree of security, collaborate with you
  • Recruit, onboard and educate partners (including managing training and certifications)
  • Manage your channel sales with programs, tiers, business plans and partner scorecards
  • Manage lead distribution, deal registration and quoting for channel sales
  • Streamline channel marketing with marketing development funds (MDF), marketing campaigns and co-branded email communications
  • Provide a rich, personalized and mobile-ready experience to drive partner productivity
  • Manage, track and forecast partner sales alongside your direct sales in your Salesforce organization

The Salesforce PRM platform is purpose-built with nearly all of this functionality built right out of the box—it just needs to be configured. In weeks, you can have a PRM solution in place that is automatically integrated data- and process-wise. It is almost never too early to build the foundation so that you have a centralized, scalable platform that everyone can work from rather than disparate processes that get much harder to organize later.

The great thing about cloud solutions, in general, is that there is an incredibly wide array of capabilities built right into the platform, which can be turned on as you need them.

These capabilities may be launched on day one or rolled out over time once the foundation is in place:

  • A resource center for partners to get all of the marketing and technology support they need in one easy to find place
  • Deal registration capabilities so that partners can register, get credit for and collaborate on deals
  • Forecasts that give you the whole picture so that you get a 360-view of partner-sourced/related customers
  • Partner support processes so that they can get both deal support and technical support
  • Partner recruitment – from partner marketing to attract new partners through partner onboarding (including e-signatures, uploading of logo/materials, etc.), which can automate the entire process and be highly professional
  • Partner marketing that can be built out further to manage more specific programs like joint campaigns and MDF fund requests and management for joint marketing activities
  • Systems that can be fully integrated from data integrations, application integration for provisioning to single-sign-on so that applications can work seamlessly together
  • Professional templates that can get you up and running quickly, and if necessary, pages and flow that can be customized to create a unique branded look and feel and UI experience

We often see Phase I as getting the basic partner apparatus in place: getting a branded partner portal set up and a mechanism for partner prospects to flow from interest to signed partner. Deal registration often is in Phase I but could be closely followed up so that deal collaboration can be optimized and pipeline to be managed.

Phase II often involves getting partner support—both on deal support and partner or customer technical support. This phase usually involves getting case management integrated and knowledge bases set up. Phase III may include building out a form of learning management system capability and automating partner marketing management and scale through joint campaigns and MDF management. Other capabilities can revolve around partner commission management, technology partnership collaboration and more. The sky is the limit on centralizing partner functions to take advantage of automation, scale and data visibility. There are many resources online that show how many companies are using Salesforce PRM to grow their business, and we are always happy to help discuss what your first or subsequent phase can be.