Businesses today are more complex and move faster than ever. In order to keep up with the rapid pace of business, across every industry we are seeing companies rely on vast partner ecosystems to drive sales and explore new markets. A strong network of partners can help you grow your business in many ways. Partners can help you scale and maximize your existing business lines by extending the footprint of your sales force. Partners can help you enter new markets, regions and industries to grow in areas where your company might not be familiar. And partners can provide a new channel for selling new products.
A thriving channel partner relationship can mean a competitive advantage for any business that is looking to grow. But managing these partner relationships is anything but simple. When critical information exists in fragmented systems, you lose productivity and some of the power that comes from your collaboration.
What do profitable partnerships have that struggling partnerships don’t? In short, Partner Community enables companies to manage the entire end-to-end partner lifecycle, from onboarding to selling to diving into analytics.
Here are ten traits that make great partnerships run smoothly.
1. New sales reps can onboard smoothly
Minimize onboarding time and maximize selling time with an easy way for new partners to get up to speed on your products, pricing structures, selling processes all within a single portal.
2. Educational and training materials are easy to access
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to enabling new partners to sell like one of your own sales reps. Success requires that partners can educate themselves with training modules and get certified in all of the appropriate areas so partners can become evangelists for your product or solution. When training materials aren’t in a central location, partners spend more time trying to find the educational resources and have less time to learn.
3. Partnership goals and KPIs are jointly set between the two companies
Without a blueprint for your channel partnership, you could hire a great channel team, recruit partners, and spend a great deal of time selling, but yield only minimum returns. Open communication within a community enables partners to maximize returns by aligning the channel sales strategy together.
4. Both companies CRMs are synchronized to make co-selling seamless
With a community as a crucial piece of the core-selling process, lead data from partners is integrated and synchronized with your CRM. Partners can collaborate on lead approval, management, and distribution in a way that is transparent and fair, minimizing conflict.
5. Marketing budgets are managed transparently
With Partner Community you can distribute marketing development funds and budget for campaigns to specific partners and track co-marketing ROI. Marketing teams stay in lockstep so they can share challenges, successes, and drive successful campaigns.
6. Salespeople have an easy way to contact product experts
Each member of the community has an individual profile that lists their roles and expertise. If a partner needs to contact an expert to ask a question or help them close the deal, they can do so right within the community, on the opportunity, with just one click.
7. Access to a content marketing hub with everything partners need to close a deal
When done right, content marketing can be a huge advantage for a sales team to address prospect pain points and message the product or solution in the best way possible. But how do partners find all the amazing e-books, whitepapers, and blog posts that can help them close the deal? When content marketing assets are accessible within the community, salespeople have a one-stop-shop for experts, pipeline numbers, and content.
8. Seamless access to key analytics
With Wave Analytics for Community Cloud, you can give your partners the insights they need to drive sales. With the right numbers located in the context of the rest of the community, you can collaborate more effectively because every partner is always working with the most up-to-date numbers.
9. Personalized privacy settings make everyone feel secure
Keep security top-of-mind with privacy settings that ensure that the right person can view the right information (and only that information). These privacy settings can be controlled on a person-by-person basis, or what content is displayed based on partner tiering and types.
10. Mobile-first partners never miss a beat
No matter where they are, partners can access Partner Community from their mobile devices and contact experts, view files, or ask questions — anything they need to provide a quote or close the deal. The Salesforce1 Mobile App lets you can take your community with you wherever you go, so you can collaborate, share information, and close deals from anywhere.
A partner community creates a bridge between two companies, combining joint business planning, shared resources, shared pipeline, shared analytics, and more, all in one easily accessible, fully mobile location. With the right tools, you can create a one-stop-shop for everything your partners need throughout their day-to-day — whether they’re out on the road meeting with customers, just getting started, or need to identify an expert, fast.
To read more about how Partner Community can optimize your channel business, download the free e-book: How to Transform Your Channel Business with Seamless Partner Management.