Launching a new channel program can be a daunting task. When formalizing your channel program and adopting a portal for the first time, or switching solutions, some of the questions you may be asking yourself are:
- How do I know if my partners will use our Portal or PRM?
- Our partners work with hundreds of vendors; why would they come to our portal?
- Everyone is busy. Will a partner log in to various portals for different partners?
- How long does it take to register deals within the software?
If you sell through partners, your biggest challenge is standing out and ensuring partners want to work with you. They have choices, so you need to ensure that you are easy to work with, otherwise, you have lost the game before it even started. Here are items you need to consider to increase portal adoption:
“How easy are you to work with?”
Working with partners is a sales cycle and a process like any other and if you miss out on a stage or forget to follow up, you are doomed to fail. To insure against this, you need to automate the background processes. This doesn’t mean you no longer interact with partners, far from it, it means you have more time to interact with your partners because you and your team are no longer spending your days doing the dull repetitive follow-up and tracking.
Making sure partners want to work with you isn’t just about your technology, as there are plenty more shiny fish in the sea, but it is about the program, the promotion, and how easy it is to transact, track, and grow a business together. Much of this can be managed through a portal and/or PRM solution but fundamental to this success is measuring Partner Adoption.
“Partner adoption needs to be created, nudged, nurtured, and measured.”
It is no good to just point partners to a portal and expect they will visit. Partner adoption needs to be created, nudged, nurtured, and measured so you can track where partners are on the sales cycle or if they are stumbling along too slowly. Like any sales cycle, there are stages and processes through recruitment, nurture, enablement, readiness, and activation. Adoption doesn’t just mean to accept but to embrace and so how do you measure if they are fully embracing you?
Any partner adoption metric needs both objective and subjective components. You need performance metrics, but also where they are on their training journeys, what collaterals are they using, and of course; have they registered their deals? It is important to have a scorecard and plan of action to notify and nudge partners if they are not meeting targets.
This way you can quickly catch them before they go off the boil – like any sales process. Most importantly, it needs to be fun and easy for partners to progress.
We listen to vendors and partners alike, and they both need a single source of information that is super easy to use with clear visibility into initiatives and success. This approach will deliver value to both the vendor and the partners, who love to see a good portal (as trust me, they see a lot of bad ones).
Provide a clear understanding of success
A holistic view of all my key metrics with clear visibility of joint opportunities, good signposting and searching for content and everything all in one place.
Giving partners what they need shows a commitment to them that they will respect. And it frees up your team to provide the value-add service and focus on building a meaningful relationship with partners.
We like to put our money where our mouth is and so we publish our metrics. These are the real figures from our customers that demonstrate the value of what good can look like.