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Relayware Partner Relationship Management

Do You Have a Plan for Creating a High-Performance Partner Portal?

Posted on April 22, 2014 by Chris Bucholtz

Last week, Jim Somers, Tim Harmon and I presented a webinar on the topic of partner portals, (If you want to hear it, you can, free of registration, by going right here.)  The topic was “10 Ways Your Portal Is Sabotaging Your Partner Program,” and we didn’t just call out portal failings – we also pointed out fixes that can take portals to the next level.

Portals seem boring at first. Part of that is because most portals simply aren’t good at what they’re supposed to do. They’re not supposed to be static billboards for content, or places to post a partner newsletter every quarter. They’re supposed to be a dynamic, constantly-evolving resource for your partners. If you can’t get beyond the vision of the portal as just another website, just pull the plug on it and save your money. If you can get beyond that limited vision and can imagine a portal living up to its potential – but don’t know how to get there – listen to the webinar.

Tim was really insightful in putting this webinar together. He was an advocate for the position that, from the vendor’s point of view, the portal must be a one-stop source of fully-automated self-service support for all partners. When portals don’t work, you get what he saw at one company: 70 percent of the channel program’s time devoted to answering calls from partners. That may work for a small channel program, but think about a program like Microsoft’s, with nearly 650,000 partners. How much would it cost to answer questions on the phone, compared to having a portal that allows partners to answer their own questions?

We cover the basics in the webinar, but we also talk about the things that create high-performance portals. One of this is personalization. Thanks to profiling, you know about each partner. That gives you the ability to deliver a set of content unique to each partner based on their needs and their characteristics every time they visit. There are also ways you can turn the portal into a partner destination so partners keep coming back – meaning more engagement and mindshare for you and less for competing vendors. Simple ways, too – Tim suggested a ticker on the front page of the portal that delivers pertinent news headlines, making your portal the place partners come for news about their industry.

The webinar’s chock-full of simple, easy suggestions like this, and examples of things Relayware customers have done to boost the performance of their portals. We started planning for this webinar joking about how boring portals were, and found that there was a lot more than an hour’s worth of valuable and interesting material we could share. Give it a listen and then look at your portal – is it doing everything it can do to become a one-stop self-service resource for your partners, or is it actually harming your channel program?

For further tips on collaborating and communicating with your partners through a portal- check out our accompanying whitepaper- High Performance Partner Portals