Partner enablement is one of the key business drivers that prompts businesses to invest in Partner Communities. This is not surprising; to grow your channel successfully, you want to give your partners the best information and tools to enable them to represent and sell your brand. However, partner portal adoption is low and most people only login to register deals, according to a new report by Forrester on Boosting Channel Partner Engagement. We’ll discuss why in this blog and look at what you can do to avoid these common pitfalls.
Here are three ways to increase adoption and better enable your partners for success:
#1 – Maximize Your Community’s Home Page
According to Forrester, too many companies have portals that show generic content to all partners, meaning that users see a lot of content that is irrelevant to them, and thus they tune out. The first thing that your partners see upon entering your community is the home page; therefore, it is your most prime real estate to communicate with your partners the key things that they need to know about your company and their partnership with you. Leverage the home page to feature information that is both relevant and of importance according to the partner employee’s role, the program their company is enrolled in (partner type and tier) and their geographic location. You can also use your home page to inform your partners of key news and resources available to them, or to highlight their performance as a partner so they know what they need to do to get to the next level in the program.
#2 – Integrate Salesforce Knowledge
The Forrester report shows that if you have multiple websites where partners must go to manage their business with you, they will only go to one or two of them on a regular basis. This supports what we hear from our customers – partners are clamoring for a single place to manage their business with you. To achieve this, more and more of our customers are using Salesforce to publish news and share videos with their partners (think of it like a private blog) rather than assuming partners will go to other sites to find this information. We’re a big fan of using Salesforce Knowledge to achieve this due to its powerful rich text editor and how easily it can be easily translated. You can share it through a custom News & Updates tab and/or post a widget to the Community home page.
#3 – Use Salesforce Content for Document Sharing
As mentioned earlier, showing all partners the same information is bad for adoption according to Forrester. Salesforce Content makes it easy to target which of your partners can see which documents, ensuring that partners only see things that are relevant to them. Forrester also states that poor user experience can be a barrier to adoption; while we like the way that Salesforce Content allows you to drill down into search results, it lacks a landing page to make it easy for your partners to see at a glance what kinds of materials you are making available to them. For this reason, almost every partner community we have built in the last two years has a custom landing page for content to make it easy for partners to browse content. Each company that we have built this for has taken a slightly different approach the user experience of their landing page, largely based upon the way they market their products, and they type and volume of documents they have available to partners. Be sure to read five other ways to optimize Salesforce Content for your partners in my previous blog.
Remember, your channel marketing team may have created excellent partner enablement materials, but they are useless if partners cannot easily find and consume them!