Salesforce.com is no stranger to releasing industry-specific solutions, from financial services to healthcare. And their dual-focus on industries and communities this year makes perfect sense. After all, solutions built with an understanding of business process and industry-specific methodology are typically at the top of the list for implementation.
In fact, Sundog has taken the same approach with partnerDRIVEN – our manufacturing solution that extends the core functionality of the Salesforce platform with customized functionality and business processes for manufacturers with partner or dealer networks. (Keep reading to see how it takes advantage of the functionality of Sales Cloud PRM and prepares for even more in coming releases, too.)
Sales Cloud PRM: What’s New & Improved
First things first: what does Sales Cloud PRM deliver? It features:
- New Lightning-Enabled community template with branding control
- New functionality for user experience and management
- The return of a component that’s been missing, since the conversion from portals to communities … the Lead Inbox!
Partner Central: What It Is
Now available in Community Builder, the Partner Central template is the foundation for all functionality that Salesforce is rolling out for partner communities. The updated user interface that the Lightning Experience brings also makes it possible to use Lightning Components in a partner community.
The template incorporates the:
- New Global Search with type-ahead functionality
- Notification Bell indicating feed notifications from groups, records or users
- Celebrated (tell me I’m not alone!) return of the Lead Inbox
Those who’ve been around Salesforce for a while will remember the good ol’ Portal days of having a Home Page Component for leads. This feature mysteriously went away with the release of communities, but it makes its return as a Lightning Component that can display a queue or assigned leads for the Partner Community user. Management of the leads got easier, too, with the addition of Mass Actions in list views for community users. Bundle these new features with partnerDRIVEN Lead Routing, and you’ve got one robust partner lead management system!
The Introduction of Channel Marketing Automation
A really exciting first step toward distributed marketing capabilities between clouds in the Salesforce platform comes with the introduction of Channel Marketing Automation. Partner Community users can now add customers to campaigns that are executed by corporate marketing. I’d expect to see additional functionality in future releases of both Marketing Cloud and Sales Cloud PRM. Coupling this functionality with partnerDRIVEN marketing packages and Market Development Funds (MDF) provides a smooth mechanism for a complete partner marketing program.
What Customers Want: Branded Communities
We often hear from our clients that they want their partner community experience to mirror the branding of their corporate website.
We are one step closer to that being a reality for many implementations with the introduction of Lightning CMS Connect. Currently only available for Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) in Summer ‘17, I’ve heard mention of three additional CMS platform integrations to come. Disclaimer: Salesforce notes this release is a beta version of CMS Connect. But I highly doubt CMS Connect will die on the vine, based on the clamoring in the marketplace and partner ecosystem for content management in communities.
What’s Ahead in the Winter Release
Sales Cloud PRM in Summer ‘17 should be considered a baseline to build PRM for high tech and manufacturing, and we see many opportunities to do just that. The Summer release does not contain all the functionality currently available in the Customer Service (Napili) template, but Salesforce indicates parity between them in the Winter release. With that in mind, we recommend a feature comparison to make an informed decision based upon your use case and timeline for implementation. partnerDRIVEN supports the Napili template and will be available with Winter ‘17 when Salesforce allows for packaging Partner Central.
Have questions about Sales Cloud PRM? Or want to see a personalized demo of how partnerDRIVEN works in action – and takes it even further? Reach out to our team anytime. We’d love to hear from you.