Building Communities to Optimize the Partner Experience

[fa icon="calendar"] May 24, 2017 9:23:00 AM / by Chris Becwar

Chris Becwar

Engaging partners through community building - Traditional PRM has helped to assess the problem of managing complicated partner relationships.

However, traditional PRM applications only take care of the basics. Traditional (legacy) PRM software is not very customizable and only delivers static content. It can be used to manage simple transactional tasks such as partner registration and lead assignment but fails in being more open and flexible between a company and their sales partners.

This is why developing communities in your partner experience portal can help you assess which partner community features will work best with each different channel partner organization. Webinfinity sees this problem and is working to create a platform that supports a more conversational, open relationship between a company and its channel partners.

What’s Changed?

When PRM software was brand new, it was considered state-of-the-art. So, what has changed? The ease of access to information, the evolution of business practices, improved customer education, and increased competition has completely changed the dynamic between vendors and their partners. More vendors are emerging as barriers to entry become lessened; however, there are fewer sales channel partners for these vendors due to an increase in mergers, acquisitions, and liquidations. A successful partner portal now is not only dependent on giving partners the assets and information they need, but it is essential to engage sales partners. And to best do this, you must create more partner communities.

Improved Communication and Collaboration Through Partner Communities

No matter who your partners are and how you’re working together, it is likely that the tools they use do not live up to their needs in today’s competitive partner sales landscape. So, to improve your PRM legacy systems, you can introduce partner communities. There are four main community capabilities I find most applicable aligned with four common partner relationship situations:

  1. Partners who are more cooperative than competitiveCreate open or closed communities where people can share best practices between various partners. This will help partners establish themselves with your business more quickly and engage more deeply with your business.
  2. Organizations with a larger partner environment to satisfy partner requirements. For these larger organizations, communities are a good way to isolate, identify, resolve partner problems, and satisfy their needs. This community support of a partner can help them grow new business and relieve administrative burden through the offering of more resources and efficient processes.
  3. Organizations that have partners who may also be competitive with one another. In this situation, partner communities are generally more isolated. It looks much like a traditional portal but with less open community features such as a peer forum for Q&A.
  4. Organizations that have partners who each play unique roles within a client’s ecosystem. Communities can be used in this scenario to help identify end-user needs. This will help all partners identify new business based on association with the other partners. All partners can come together to help provide the proper products or services that are necessary for the end-client’s success.
A community strategy works best when it is mutually beneficial. You must ensure that your community helps bring you and your partners closer to your goals. Partners are always looking for a faster time to value, better ability to bring in new business, and an effective way for solving complex issues. If you help your partners, it will help your bottom-line. Webinfinity combines the best of traditional PRM and the new community-involved partner experience to give you the best partner portal possible. Talk to us today to hear more about how Webinfinity can help your partner experience!

Topics: PRM, Partner Portals, Channel, Partner Ecosystem, Partner Communities

Chris Becwar

Written by Chris Becwar

Chris is a Channel and Marketing veteran with expertise in SaaS platforms & indirect routes to market, advising top channel programs on strategy & trends.