Engage with Your Partners
Lira Financial is growing fast. In just a year, it 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 it could. 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 made a substantial investment in Salesforce, but things are a bit of a mess for external resellers. 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 make things worse, 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 besides Lira.
So Lira Financial’s partner problem is also a growth problem, and Sarayu is extra motivated to fix it.
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
- Marketing campaigns and funds
- Qualified leads
- Deal registration
- Opportunity management
- Easy and quick quoting
Sarayu’s team takes the feedback and decides to set up a partner portal using the Partner Central template. 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.
How do lead distribution and deal registration help partners and Lira? We’re glad you asked. Lead distribution lets Lira capture leads from its marketing campaigns and website, then 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, accelerate their selling process with a trusted source of viable leads.
With deal registration, partners can register their deals, both planned and in progress, so Lira is always knowledgeable about a deal’s status.
Lira’s VP of Sales Moira Orellana knows that both internal sales teams and partners struggle with outdated quoting processes. That’s why Moira explores Salesforce CPQ, beginning with the Salesforce CPQ Basics module on Trailhead. CPQ enables Moira's sales teams to generate branded, customized proposals and contracts with a few clicks, rather than dozens of phone calls and hundreds of clicks. Moira knows it’s worth the investment to extend CPQ out to partners, too. Higher partner productivity and more deals won? Yes, please!
By using Distributed Marketing, Lira provides prepackaged campaigns to its partners to help them drive demand—while also protecting the Lira brand by keeping everyone on the same message. Some partners request market development funds (MDF) or cooperative (co-op) funds from Lira to execute their own campaigns. Partners can request, track, and access approved MDF and co-op marketing funds all within Lira's partner portal.
The final 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 portal. For example, when Lira resellers in Europe login, 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.
Let’s see what this looks like when we put it all together. Check out what Jose Lucio, a channel partner in Guatemala, experiences when logging in to Lira’s partner portal. First, he sees a homepage personalized for his partner type and location: value-added resellers in Central and South America. Jose notices some new content—all in Spanish—on improving 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 experiences as seamless as Jose’s. Now partners are eager to continue collaborating with Lira.
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 portal.
- 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 were thrilled to see how that preference also translated into faster deals and added revenue. Everyone wins!
Lira’s experimentation with Community Cloud is starting to pay big dividends. So far, implementing experiences in the form of communities and portals has been a successful endeavor. At the same time, all the various teams involved in implementation are eager to make them even better. With that aim, they’re keeping a close eye on all their metrics and engagement and they’re always coming up with ideas to improve the audience experience.