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Boost Sales with Connected Partner Portals

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the value of a partner portal.
  • Identify how to support partner marketing efforts.

Introduction

The most overlooked area of partner management is marketing. Businesses and their channel partners have historically argued over who is responsible for demand generation. Businesses argue partners should take a lead by tapping into their preexisting relationships. Partners argue that businesses should take the lead to educate the marketplace about their offerings. In practice, both businesses and partners have respective roles in building demand. 

Prepare to Support Partner Marketing Efforts

Surprisingly, half of partners do not have a marketing plan, and 44% don’t seek outside sources for marketing strategy and support. They’re essentially on a marketing island. Businesses should be prepared to support partner marketing needs, ensuring the right message makes it to the end consumer. To do this effectively, they must devise a strategy to market to and through their partners. 

To-partner marketing is the art of helping your partners understand the value of your products or services. Partners must understand why selling your product is worth their time. This can be accomplished by effectively communicating the role your partners will fill to fulfill the opportunity in the marketplace. Be prepared to answer how selling your product fits into their portfolio and the level of effort required to sell.

Through-partner marketing is the art of empowering partners to communicate the value of your products or services to the end customer. One of the greatest challenges for any CMO is to ensure customers are receiving the same message through each route to market. In order to keep partners on brand and on message, it is imperative that businesses templatize as much as possible. This includes email campaigns that can be easily customized, collateral that can be easily co-branded, or development funds that can be easily requested. 

Content Journeys and Communication Help Build Partner Loyalty

Partners often find themselves lost and overwhelmed trying to find the marketing collateral they need in a partner portal. This inevitably deters them from taking the time to find the resources they need, ultimately hurting their ability to market and sell.

Their top complaints:

  • 39.1%—No time to search through multiple partner portals for information
  • 34.2%—It’s easier to just ask my sales rep to find what I need and send it to me
  • 34.2%—There’s too much information/not well-organized
  • 25.2%—I can’t find information that is specific to my unique needs
  • 21.1%—Have a difficult time finding the information I need
  • 12.0%—The information is out of date
  • 10.1%—The tools that would be most helpful to me are not available
  • 10.5%—Other

Businesses with a robust channel ecosystem think of partners like customers. They create partner journey maps to identify how partners sell and use data to identify where partners need the most help. Based on the findings, successful businesses create content journey maps to proactively help partners close deals.

For example, if businesses can collect and analyze data about partner behaviors from their partner portal, they can identify trends, such as which resources partners access most often. Vendors can use this data to automatically recommend resources to partners.

Real-time support is just as important to help partners find what they need and build loyalty in the channel. Again, thinking of partners like customers leads most businesses to realize they need to deliver multichannel support. To meet these needs, businesses are investing in support functionality like chat bots, live chat, knowledge articles, and social services, to name a few. 

Perhaps the most overlooked form of support is search. Most of us are conditioned to do a search when we have a question thanks to Google. Similarly, the first thing partners do is to use your search when trying to find the information they need. Thus, it is imperative to use an AI-powered, federated search that includes robust learning to rank algorithms to ensure the most useful content is displayed first. 

If companies can provide the marketing tools and resources partners need in a streamlined portal, they can help partners find the collateral they need to progress deals and sell more. By creating an easy, tailored digital experience for partners that includes access to real-time coaching, companies become more than vendors—they become trusted advisors.

Wrap-Up

No matter what type of partnership you are looking to create, the only way to win mindshare is to: 

  • Personalize the partner experience.
  • Reimagine partner training and onboarding.
  • Expand channel sales online.
  • Boost marketing with a connected partner portal.

Resources

retargeting