Over the years we have worked with partner programs of all sizes and configurations, and have been asked how to accomplish a multitude of things within our Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solution. Through hundreds of successful PRM installations, we have proven what works and, often most importantly, what doesn’t.
Usually, the destructive practices that get adopted are started with the best intentions of streamlining the process and decreasing the burden on both channel managers and partners. Instead, they often create havoc and ultimately create an untenable mess that bogs down the success of your program. More work for you? Maybe at first. But in the long run, avoiding these 6 channel program practices will save you time, money and lots of headaches:
- Auto Approve Partners
Auto-approval is a big no-no in the PRM world. It is a recipe for disaster and the number one way competitors get access to your program. Partner portals house sensitive non-public information about products and services, along with other important sales and opportunity data. The last thing you want is to allow just anyone access. You should have a vetting process in place to make sure prospective partners match up with your program goals. At a minimum, you should be checking for a legitimate email domain and company.
- Register Deals Without Login
A key benefit of providing Deal Registration to your partners is to give them the ability to register, manage, and view the deals they are working. If you want partners to register leads with you without logging in, you don’t need PRM…you need a lead form. A formal Deal Registration process provides partners transparency and builds trust. Do it the right way and your partners and your channel managers will thank you.
- Integrate with your Partner’s CRM
Integrating with one CRM system, like Salesforce.com, can be challenging enough, but integrating two CRM system is a nightmare. We get it, in theory integrating with your partner’s CRM sounds like it will save everyone time and make things easier. However, the security and data challenges that it brings will even make your partners skeptical.
- Multiple Leads, One Opportunity
Time and time again we get asked to create one opportunity for multiple Deal Registrations from different partners. Attaching multiple partners to an opportunity is creates data integrity and visibility issues and is a bad idea! Each of the partners attached to the opportunity could be modifying the opportunity data. Yikes! Only one partner can close the deal, that’s why the Deal Registration process is set up the way it is. You only want to convert one of lead into an opportunity, which is why partner Deal Registrations come in as leads. You can then select the lead that will be converted to an opportunity when the time is right. This allows the conversion to happen within your CRM, aligning with your sales process. The best part? With Channeltivity, the partners don’t need to know that their Deal Registration was even converted.
- Account Look Up
We get it, we would love to let your partners look up accounts within your system and tie them to opportunities. That’s why Channeltivity allows partners to select companies and contacts they have registered in the past. However, it is virtually impossible to allow partners visibility into the accounts within your CRM system and only show them the subset of accounts that belong to them. It is all or nothing. Providing partners access to all your accounts is a terrible idea. It’s a Pandora’s box you don’t want to open. Do you want your partners to have access to ALL your customers and their info? We didn’t think so.
- Custom Design
If we had a dollar for every time we heard “I want my portal to look exactly like my website” we would have a lot of dollars. If you have a lot of money and time you can have your custom branded portal, but this isn’t something your partners care about. We know branding and consistency is important, and that is why we carry your colors and logo into your portal. This makes it easy for you to make updates when your branding is updated without investing in a portal rebrand too. Better to spend that money on partner acquisition, partner training, MDF or other programs that will impact partner and program success. Remember, partners care about ease of use, not branding. Want more on this topic? See our blog post: ‘Your Partner Portal is Not a Website’
We know you’ve got this. Implement processes and programs that maximize the benefits of your portal and full PRM solution. Keep it easy to use (for you and your partners), maintain transparency for your partners, and keep the competitive trolls out of your portal.