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Improve Your Partner Community: Applying Feedback

In yesterday’s blog post, we discussed gathering feedback from your partners in order to improve your partner community user experience. Now, in light of Salesforce announcing a preview of the new Partner Central Community in the Summer ’17 release, let’s dive into the data and come up with some solutions on how to address common pain points.

“When I need to download the latest white papers on products, they are always in different spots – there’s no consistency!”

What this says about your community
: Navigation isn’t clear; content is too buried or there’s no pattern to where content lives
Solution: You want your partners to access information efficiently by providing them intuitive navigation that requires minimal clicks. Review what pages are most visited and make sure those are easily accessible from the homepage or with minimal clicks from the navigation. You can often find places to simplify navigation into just a few main categories (Sales, Marketing, Resources, Training, etc.) and make sure the content under each of those is appropriate for the subject matter.

“I keep seeing content and downloads that are for partners in the US, but I’m one of a few partners in France, and I can’t seem to find French information easily.”

What this says about your community
: Your content is not tailored to the right audience and/or you haven’t developed the content for your partner types/regions/languages.
Solution: Review all your downloadable collateral and announcements and categorize them based on partner type, tier, region, language – however you bucket your partners. Utilizing Salesforce Content and public groups is a great way to organize your content and surface it to a set of users. In addition, you can also use page variations in Lightning Communities to show different page content to different profiles.

“It takes me forever to enter in a deal. I am always missing fields and it’s such a long, meticulous process.”

What this says about your community
: Forms are too complicated and the field structure is lacking organization.
Solution: Your partners fill out forms constantly during the day – why not make it an easy experience? First, keep it brief: ask for only the information you need to accomplish the goal (MDF reimbursement, register a deal, etc.). Make your partners’ lives even easier by pre-populating information through the Account/Contact record or It’s worth checking out our article on deal registration best practices for more details, too.

“It would be nice to see a front-and-center view of how my deals are progressing.”

What this says about your community
: Quick visuals and dashboards are missing from landing pages; partners have to wade through reports and list views to analyze their progress.
Solution: Lightning Communities can surface dashboards to your partners so they can see, at a glance, how their deals are measuring up, or view thier progress on moving up to the next partner tier. This is a great way to add visual interest to the mass of list views and reports that come along with partner communities. Your partners can quickly see how they’re doing and where there is room for improvement. This kind of quickly accessible information is what keeps the partners coming back.

“It’s never really clear when or where to contact support when I have an issue I can’t resolve otherwise.”

What this says about your community
: Methods of contacting support are buried and/or confusing to the user.
Solution: This one is tricky since it’s essentially based on the support team you have, but you’re improving your partner site to make for a better experience for them, right? Just by tackling some of your partners’ pain points, you’ll help lower your case load. That said, there are several ways you can make it easier for your partners to contact you: make your support hours and phone number obvious, introduce Live Agent for instant communication (and built-in deflection methods), or add buttons to page templates directing them to a contact or case creation page. Even simply cleaning up your Knowledge articles can help partners find the information they need so they don’t need to contact you at all!

All in all, making improvements to your partner community based on your partners’ feedback will make for a better user experience for them, and will make your support team’s life easier with less cases created and phone calls answered. Perficient has built many partner communities with a diverse set of requirements and business processes (Equinix as an example), and the end product we provide is always met with great customer satisfaction.  Are you ready to improve your partner community? Consider downloading this Partner Community guide.

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Laurel Jones, Senior Business Consultant, UI/UX Design

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