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Success Story: Constant Contact & the Power of Partners #DF15


Constant Contact is an industry leader in small business marketing solutions (e.g. email, promotions, surveys, events, etc). Starting in 2013, Perficient helped Constant Contact migrate off of the Salesforce Partner Portal and migrate onto the Community Cloud platform. They spoke about that experience last year at Dreamforce; if you didn’t catch it then, watch it nowconstant-contact-share-logo

Since that initial project, we have continued to work with them on strategic projects to help them grow their channel business. As the lead architect on Constant Contact’s partner community, there are a few things that I can tell you about Constant Contact from my experience working with them:

  1. They are passionate about helping small businesses succeed, both customers and partners. Constant Contact partners with over 10K marketing consultants who refer customers to them and provide much needed marketing consulting services to the 650K+ small business that Constant Contact works with.
  2. While the business they work with are small, they think big. I have appreciated working with them for their strategic vision for how to enable, engage and measure their partners. They have come up with ideas that I’ve seen no one else pursue and it’s working.
  3. The reason they have been so successful in rolling out this community is due to the close partnership between IT and the channel team. Speaking at today’s session are the dynamic duo, Joe Burke (Director, CRM Systems) and Matisha Ladiwala (Director of Indirect and International Channels), whose close collaboration on all partner community initiatives have ensured the success of their projects. This partnership is key to a successful partner community implementation.

Today’s sessions covered how to leverage your partners to scale your channel business. Constant Contact began passing leads to partners on a small scale prior to rolling out their partner community, but needed a tool to be able to successfully scale the program. They first created a one-stop shop for partners so they had a single URL to login to with a single username and password to manage their business with Constant Contact. They also wanted to provide a 360 degree view of partners for account managers, who used to have to rely on multiple spreadsheets to get that data.

Why they picked Salesforce for their Partner Community:

  1. Consistent with our CRM Platform
  2. In-house expertise
  3. Availability of consulting partners (“We’ve had good luck with Perficient” – Joe Burke. Thanks, Joe!)
  4. Scalable & secure
  5. Ability to directly configure and customize

There are three channels for sharing leads inside the partner community:

  1. Lead Sharing – when customers sign up for a free trial, they can be passed to a partner to help convert into a customer. As part of this, the partner has the opportunity to sell their services to the customer that will help make them more successful with Constant Contacts tools.
  2. Marketplace – customers who are looking for partners to work with can come to the marketplace and find partners who they want to work with.
  3. Service Customers – customers sign up for software packaged with services, that are fulfilled by partners, allowing Constant Contact to quickly scale their business.

Constant Contact first trains and certifies partners from inside the Partner Community to ensure they are qualified to manage leads and provide services to their customers. If partners haven’t yet taken the training, partners will see a marketing message to share the benefits of the program and explain what a partner needs to do to be eligible to receive leads.


If they are enrolled in the program, they can see their leads and services customers, manage their tasks and login to their customer’s Constant Contact accounts to create campaigns.


Success Stats:

  • 650,000 logins since launching the community in mid-2014.
  • They learned that their lower tier partners are more engaged than they previously thought.
  • 140% increase in the number of engaged partners since launching
  • 35% increase in the number of master certified partners
  • 30% increase in the number of customers being brought in by partners

Lessons learned on the road to success:

  • Manage scope
  • Don’t comprise on UI/UX
  • Ensure alignment of IT and the Business
  • Empower and work as a cross functional team (created multiple work streams and assigned ownership of different areas to appropriate SMEs)
  • Communicate and manage expecations (of partners, as well as internal teams)

Speaking alongside Constant Contact was Dexter + Chaney, a Seattle based software developer that offers an ERP for construction companies. For the last seven years, they have been selling through the channel. Their direct sales force are all located in Seattle, so are easy to manage. However, like many companies who sell through the channel, struggled with pipeline visibility. When they started bringing partners onboard, they first started using Salesforce2Salesforce connector but it didn’t work well for lead passing; there was no visibility into what was happening until orders came in the door.

They kept getting orders from partners that were generated through other tools (on other paper, with the pricing); to stop this, they first rolled out Steel Brick (a quoting tool built on the platform) first to direct and then indirect reps. To grant partners access to Steel Brick, they rolled out a Partner Community, which cleared up the pipeline visibility issues they had. They do not require them to use Salesforce as a CRM  (e.g partners do not have to log calls against leads), but they do require that all quotes must be generated inside the partner community for them to accept the order. Half-way through the sales cycle, the quotes come in (they have a 9 month sales cycle).

During the Q&A at the end, a question was asked about the new Community Builder templates and when we can expect to see templates for partner communities. Salesforce mentioned that people can expect to see partner-focused templates coming out in the next few releases (Spring ’16 and beyond – safe harbor).

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