According to a PRM report from Forrester Research, partner portal utilization is often low and eBusiness and channel strategy professionals need to understand inhibitors to adoption and key actions to boost partner engagement since partner engagement directly correlates to loyalty and productivity. As a result, channel teams are turning to new methods and modern systems of engagement, like Salesforce Community Cloud, to cultivate partner loyalty.
One of the biggest inhibitors of partner engagement is overwhelming partners with a multitude of places (i.e. portals) and ways to communicate and engage. Tools like Salesforce Content help you organize, share, search and manage documents with your partners within a community. We love its powerful search capabilities that allows you to do a keyword search inside of the document text, in addition to the title and description. The majority of our customers are building a custom interface for Salesforce Content to make it easier for partners to find what they are looking for. We recommend trying to stay native whenever it makes sense, but in this case, we’ve found that customizing Salesforce Content not only improves your partners’ experience, but it opens up the ability to build some value added features that Salesforce does not offer out-of-the-box with Community Cloud.
Here are five of our favorite add-on features to Salesforce Content:
#1 – Measure Engagement
We hear from Partner Account Managers (PAMs) all the time that they want to identify their most engaged partners. Tracking which of your partners are viewing the most content is a great way to measure engagement. Salesforce natively tracks which users have downloaded content; this is helpful for channel marketing to see which content that partners are downloading, but it doesn’t tell the entire story. What it lacks is information on who is viewing files, as certain files (e.g deal registration guidelines) may be viewed more than any other document, but they are rarely downloaded as the partner can get the information they need from previewing document in their browser, and thus never download it. To give Partner Account Managers insight into which of their partners are taking most advantage of partner enablement materials, we have built a way to track and report on which partners have viewed and downloaded documents inside of the partner community.
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#2 – Recently Viewed Documents
Allow partners to see recently viewed documents to enable them to quickly find what they were looking at last time they logged in. If you are tracking which documents that your partners are viewing, you can show them what they have recently viewed. Salesforce offers a Recently Viewed Items widget available in the left sidebar; however, this shows all recently viewed items (such as leads, opportunities) not only files, and the documents you viewed two weeks ago are likely to quickly fall off that list. Having a dedicated Recently Viewed Documents page enables partners to quickly find what they last looked at, saving them time and frustration in obtaining the sales tools they need to close deals.
#3 – Recommended Content
Show partners related content in case what they are currently looking at does not exactly meet their needs. This is a great way to help partners learn about other enablement materials that they may not have been aware of. We see this kind of feature all over the consumer world (anyone who has ever shopped on Amazon is very familiar with this feature), but see it far less often in business systems.
#4 – Suggested Sales Enablement Materials
Show partners relevant sales enablement materials upon registering a deal in your partner community. Most partners are asked to fill out common fields like industry or product family. Often, sales enablement materials are created for for specific verticals or product suites that companies offer. Upon submitting the deal registration, you could show them not only their deal registration number but also some sales enablement materials that might be of use during the sales cycle based upon the industry or product family they selected the deal is related to. For example, if you are chasing a deal in the healthcare industry, you could show them all case studies related to that vertical to help them close the deal.
#5 – Featured Content on the Welcome Page
Put featured content on your home page to highlight the documents that you think are most important for partners to know about. This is a great way for partners to discover new sales materials upon logging into the community. They may have not come in looking for the latest sales deck, but they may discover it upon glancing over your home page.
These are just a few ideas for how to take Salesforce Content to the next level in your community. If you have other ideas, please add them as comments to this blog. We would love to hear about them!