How to establish a successful partner portal
Make your partner portal work (for your partners)
“I spent all that time, money and effort on a new channel portal, and the partners don’t use it!”
The righteous indignation of a spurned vendor. But was the complaint justified? When you’re planning a partner portal, try to put yourself in the partners’ shoes.
It’s not always easy to establish what you need from a portal and how your journey with a vendor should be reflected. But a little forethought can help keep your channel happy, your portal busy, and the deals flowing.
Make it accessible
Your portal should have all the convenience of a one-stop shop. So start with Single Sign On (SSO) – just one log-in to remember. Next, making it easy to find and download the latest resources – how-to videos, brochures, a knowledge base or training programs – will ensure your partners can get to what they need, when they need it.
Make it relevant
Your portal should cater for the full reseller lifecycle, from on-boarding new partners, to assisting your established top performers. Everything about your portal is there to help your partners sell. The more you can do to build deeper, stronger partner commitment to your brand and solutions, the better.
Make it mobile
Think how you work today. Chained to a desk and a PC? Neither are your partners.
Your portal has to work on laptops, tablets and smartphones – wherever, whenever. And not just ‘sort-of work’, either. Whatever they can do in the office, partners should be able to do in the coffee shop or on the customer’s site.
Make it quick
If partners struggle to locate what they want, they won’t bother looking again. It may sound obvious, but don’t bury valuable nuggets ten clicks deep.
Make it targeted
Wherever possible, offer your partner portal and its content in local languages. And don’t lump all partners together.
Instead, acknowledge them for their status, tier and industry; their revenue contribution; the amount and type of training they’ve undertaken; their growth, and their forecasts; to name but a few factors. That way, the portal may be for everyone, but their section is theirs alone.
Make it individual
Again, this is basic stuff, but it’s crucial you know where each partner is in their journey. And that you make it clear to them that you know.
So go at the partners’ pace. Introduce next steps at a speed matching the partner’s level of need and interest. It’s easier than it might seem to tailor content to individual usage, engagement, and activity levels. “How to work with us” need only be a short tutorial, but for a new user or a new partner, it’s a shining welcome beacon.
Make it rewarding.
You know what you want your partners to do. And it all seems very logical to you. But ask yourself, “What’s in it for the partners?” If you can’t find an immediate answer, think again.
Make it compelling.
The most badly designed portal with constantly updated content is better than the most beautifully designed portal that rarely changes.
And remember: we consume online content in bite-size chunks. Cut the words. Make it easily navigable. Provide clear links to new and popular content. And keep the updates coming.
Make it personal
Your portal should feel like a second home. So enable users to personalise their settings – anything from a custom start-up page to an automatic notification of new content.
Make it competitive.
Who doesn’t want to know where they stand? Who doesn’t like to see their name in lights?
Use partner tiers, leader boards and achievement notifications to demonstrate that you have rewarded and recognised the achievements of your best-selling partners.
Make that recognition a carrot for new or under-performing partners. And don’t forget to nudge everyone towards the next level up!
Your feedback is positively encouraged! And don’t miss the next post in this series, Social Selling, coming soon.