Yesterday Salesforce announced the launch of Lightning Partner Communities, delivering a best-in-class digital experience for companies looking to accelerate channel sales from their partner ecosystem. Empowering your partners, resellers, and channel teams with new collaborative tools has become imperative to driving growth for successful partner programs today. However, many companies still struggle with disconnected business systems, processes, and a standardized means of communicating with their partners. As a result, partners become disengaged and channel sales likely suffer.
If you’re in the market for a new partner portal to help accelerate channel sales or to provide a more flexible and dynamic partner experience, here are 5 reasons why (and features) you’ll fall in love Salesforce’s new Lightning Partner Communities.
- Community Builder Templates – The future of Lightning Partner Communities is all about the templates! In a recent Community Cloud blog I wrote, I talked about the numerous advantages of building a community using the Community Builder Templates. For channel teams managing a partner portal, ease-of-use and empowering the business to manage the community (instead of going to IT for small changes) is one of the top business drivers for investing in Lightning Partner Communities.
- Lightning Components – Beyond the templates themselves, Salesforce’s investment in Lightning continues with the use of Lightning Components for communities. The drag-and-drop capabilities of Lightning Components allows your channel team or community manager to configure or update a community without the assistance of a developer. In short, using both the Community Builder Templates and Lightning Components, you can significantly cut down the time to design and stand up your partner community. In a recent Lightning Partner Community we built for a high-tech company, we shaved off 2-3 weeks of development time using Salesforce’s native components to design their community experience. That development time equated to considerable cost savings that could be allocated to other Salesforce initiatives.
- Mobile Responsive – One of the biggest requests or complaints we hear from our Salesforce customers looking to build a partner community, is the need for a mobile responsive solution that allows their partners to have access to all the information, materials and experts they need to manage their business on the go. Not having a user experience that’s optimized for mobile devices is one of the biggest downfalls of many legacy partner portals. Because the Community Builder Templates are fully responsive out-of-the-box, it’s easy to provide a rich experience that can be viewed on any mobile device.
- Community Translations – If you have a global partner program like Equinix does, and there’s a need to display content in your partners’ native language(s), another advantage of using the Community Builder Templates is the ability to quickly translate your community using the Translation Workbench. Equinix had evaluated using Visualforce inside of Community Cloud, but the cost to move their prior standalone partner portal into a Visualforce-based community would have been very costly and time-consuming to do. With the Summer ’16 release, we approached them with a more cost-effective solution using the Community Builder Templates to accelerate speed-to-market, which included localizing community content in six different languages.
- CPQ for Partner Communities – There are many perks to having your community centered around your business processes and your CRM. In addition to the connection to accounts, leads and opportunities, you can now enable your partners to work alongside your sales team with quotes to customers. Salesforce CPQ for Communities offers self-service price quotes giving your partners a one-stop-shop for everything they need to close business for you.
We’re not just excited because of what could be done, we’re excited by all of this due to what we have already done and continue to see be successful for our clients. Prior to this formal announcement from Salesforce, we delivered two template-driven Lightning Partner Communities, one for a long-time customer of ours who had a partner community built on Force.com that we built originally for them in 2013, right after the original launch of Community Cloud, and wanted to move to an easier-to-maintain, mobile-responsive solution, and other for Equinix, who was on a legacy standalone application. They were dealing with third-party integrations and the inability to scale their existing portal solution. If any of this resonates with you and you’re looking for more information on getting started with Lightning Communities, consider downloading our guide to channeling the power of partners with Salesforce.