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Engage with Your Partners

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
  • Describe some typical use cases for a partner community.
  • Define measurable goals for a partner community.
  • List Sales Cloud features that you can use to help your partners.

Lira Financial’s Partner Problem

Lira Financial is growing fast. In just a year, it has expanded its operations in Boulder by 50 percent. Although the sales folks who work at HQ are fabulous, the company doesn’t have enough of them to follow up on every lead. So it’s not making as much money as is possible. And that’s a problem that Lira wants to fix with a robust partner network.

Even so, potential partners aren’t really lining up to work with Lira, because the company’s processes are notoriously complex. For its own sales, service, and marketing needs, Lira has made a substantial investment in Salesforce, but for external resellers, things are a mess. Partners have to make phone calls to confirm all quotes, track data in a mix of Excel and Google spreadsheets, and remember too many distinct logins for archaic systems. To add insult to injury, partners can’t access any of the tools they need on a mobile device.

Who wants to deal with that? Definitely not the busy resellers, who maintain partnerships with lots of companies, not just Lira.

So Lira Financial’s partner problem is also a growth problem, and Sarayu is extra motivated to fix it.

Use Community Cloud to Build Robust Partner Relationships

Initially, Sarayu was eyeing Community Cloud for its potential to help customers. But when she chatted with Lira VP of Channel Sales Michelle Peterson, she quickly realized how the product helps partners too.

Michelle wants partners to sell faster, sell smarter, and collaborate more effectively with channel account managers. To that end, she sets up a meeting with Lira’s biggest partners and asks: How can we help you sell better? The answers are uniform across the board.

Partners want access to:

  • Streamlined onboarding
  • Qualified leads
  • Opportunity management
  • Deal registration
  • Easy and quick quoting

Sarayu’s team uses the Partner Central template to set up the company’s new partner community. The template makes it easy for Lira to offer its partners the best of Salesforce, and add extra features just for them. For example, the Partner Central template includes lead distribution and deal registration, so Lira’s partners can be super productive.

Partner central template

How do lead distribution and deal registration help partners and Lira? We’re glad you asked. Lead distribution lets Lira capture leads from their marketing campaigns and website, and pass all the leads to qualified channel partners. This is especially true in those geographic areas where Lira doesn’t have its own sales team. Channel partners, in turn, jump-start their selling process with a trusted source of viable leads.

With deal registration, partners can register their deals, both planned and in progress, and Lira is always in-the-know about a deal’s status.

Lira’s VP of Sales Moira Orellana has heard her internal sales teams and partners complaining about how hard it is to create good quotes. Everyone is losing time and money on quote-related overhead, so she decides to explore Salesforce CPQ. Even though it’s not included with Community Cloud licenses, Moira knows it’s worth the investment since it helps all sales teams win deals. She even checks out the Salesforce CPQ Basics module on Trailhead to learn more about the product. This enables the sales team to generate branded and customized proposals and contracts with a few clicks, rather than dozens of phone calls and hundreds of clicks. This is an incredible boost to the team’s morale and productivity.

And the last (but most certainly, not least) demand made by partners is for better onboarding. Let’s be honest: It’s unfair for Lira partners to have to compete with the awesome onboarding setup Lira has for its internal sales teams. So the Lira sales onboarding team agrees to make up-to-date product information and sales collateral specific to a reseller’s location available in the partner community. For example, when Lira resellers in Europe log in, they see pertinent, localized information about tax laws and pricing, making their onboarding specific to their needs. They also get localized training for certification purposes, and a list of nearby certification testing centers.

Setting criteria for an audience in Europe

Let’s see what this looks like when we put it all together, and check out what Jose Lucio, a channel partner in Guatemala, experiences when logging in to Lira’s partner community. First off, he sees a homepage that’s designed for channel partners in Central and South America (value-added resellers have their own specific homepage). Jose notices some new content (all in Spanish) on how to improve sales in his area. He then sees a list of leads assigned to him in Guatemala and neighboring Belize. When Jose qualifies one of these leads, Salesforce automatically creates account and contact records in Lira’s org.

Jose creates an opportunity record for the lead and sees Lira’s sales process right on the record, so he can track where he is in the opportunity at any moment. He sends an email to the account’s main contact straight from the opportunity, without having to hunt down any email addresses. And the first interaction is automatically logged in to Salesforce.

Other partners around the globe have seamless experiences just like Jose’s. Now partners are eager to continue collaborating with Lira.

The Partner Community’s Definition of Success

Measurable results. That’s what Sarayu, Michelle, and Moira are looking for. But how do they know they’ve succeeded?

Thankfully, they have a lot of numbers to work with. Here’s where things stood before they set up the partner community.
  • Lack of partner engagement
  • Moderate levels of deal registration
  • Yearly sales: $100 million

At the end of the first year of the partner community implementation, the numbers far exceeded expectations.

  • A 46% increase in partner engagement
  • A 33% increase in deal registration
  • Yearly sales: $143 million (an uptick of 43%)

Sarayu, Michelle, and Moira knew anecdotally that partners liked to work with companies that make things easier for them. But they had no idea how that preference would translate into faster deals and added revenue. They exchange kudos and hearty pats on the back, and move on to the next group in need of a community: employees.