One size does not fit all.
And when implementing the ideal partner portal for your organization, this adage is paramount.
Not all companies operate the same, employ the same sales strategies or marketing techniques, or thrive in harmonious employee culture alignment. Layered in between objectives, needs, and budgets are technology stacks to connect the people with the process.
The goal of finding that ‘right fit’ often starts through swiping right and learning from what to avoid.
All kidding aside, a bad date is recoverable, but implementing the WRONG channel sales tool has lasting impacts. Be prepared and go into this relationship knowing what to expect.
Ten most common challenges when implementing a channel sales tool:
1) Non-existent or outdated content.
Takeaway: What’s on the inside matters; a platform with the wrong content, is a platform with low utilization.
Ensure that your content is relevant and current to the needs and roles of your channel partners. Do NOT just mass upload every piece of content into the platform and fail to refresh assets. The best systems update content regardless of where the content lives in the system.
2) Unorganized content.
Takeaway: If it’s hard to find; it will hardly be used.
Simply put, apply an intuitive organization to content and make it easily accessible within your channel sales tool. Create a mechanism for users to find and sort materials based on their specific needs.
3) No partner personas or thought to the partner experience.
Takeaway: Partners ARE people; think about their user experience.
To create a world-class user experience within your channel sales tool, you need to understand your partner’s motivations and hurdles. Only with these insights can you structure playbooks and trainings to address their most pressing needs.
4) Confusion on system administrator/point of contact.
Takeaway: Who will be running the system day to day from an administrator role.
Yes, there will be many departments involved, but usually one person will lead the team or delegate content deployment, strategy, integrations, onboarding, and training. Make sure to maintain the rapport and needs of that point of contact, who will also convey feedback from the team.
5) Lack of historical KPIs and metrics.
Takeaway: To get to your destination, you need a roadmap shaped by the right KPIs.
Data is great but, if you’re unable to transfer it into actual insight, it’s useless. Channel sales tools provide real-time business intelligence that is both accessible and actionable. Define which metrics matter the most for your organization, outlined in our article 5 KPIs That All Channel Managers Should Track.
6) Fully-loaded system.
Takeaway: Patience. Build from what is mission critical first as a foundation, keep it simple.
There will always be time to add functionality and integrate. Drive engagement with the basics first and build in additional functionality over time. A PRM like Allbound provides a scalable platform in which you can expand your content library and capabilities without significant reconfiguration.
7) Failure to properly market your software to your partners.
Takeaway: “If you build it they will come…” doesn’t parlay into software.
Partners will need to understand the how the system benefits them to use. Educate and notify your partners of updates or mandatory functions.
8) Disengaged partners/reps
Takeaway: Talent matters.
Technology doesn’t equate to engaged partners/reps. Ensure your reps are engaged first and then demonstrate how the technology makes their jobs easier.
9) Solution doesn’t match the need.
Takeaway: If the process matters, have the functionality available.
If the need is training and development or certification, make sure your solution can both accommodate such functionality AND track their success.