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Home|Nintex Blog|Best practices for managing partner pipeline: optimizing the partner experience

Best practices for managing partner pipeline: optimizing the partner experience

Too often, organizations aren’t prioritizing partner experience. They’re tracking key information in spreadsheets and email, which is frustrating for partners and doesn’t provide pipeline visibility for anyone.

One key to managing the partner business well is making it as easy as possible for partners to track their activities, register deals, and access the resources they need to sell. Do you know what your partner experience is like?

To create the best possible partner experience, put the right systems in place for partners to access marketing materials and training resources, track activities, and register deals.

The more seamless you can make these processes, the faster you’ll grow your partner program and generate substantial revenue through this channel.

Partner portals: a one-stop-shop for partner activity

The partner portal can provide a centralized hub to access resources and track activities. By providing your partners with an outstanding user experience and easy access to their needs, you accelerate and illuminate their business and yours.

Using CRM with partners is a start, but most of these systems aren’t designed for the unique needs of a partner program. You’ll need to drill down several levels to access information; the data is too siloed and doesn’t tell you what you need to know.

A partner portal, where partners log in to access helpful resources and track their activity, provides a single location to see what all of your partners are working on.

What to track in partner portals

A mature partner program requires organizing partners into meaningful differentiated groups (affiliate, referral, reseller, integrator, app developer, etc.), understanding the needs of each, and what agreements are in place. In addition, you can leverage partner portals to provide a central location for business enablement and acceleration, anticipating what partners need to be successful.

Beyond tracking that information, you need to understand what types of marketing and selling activities partners are conducting so you can help them succeed. You also need to know what deals they’re registering so you can effectively manage pipeline and forecast. Make sure you track all communications you’re having with them, too.

Make deal registration seamless

Deal registration is critical for pipeline visibility and accurate forecasting. That said, you need to make it as easy as possible for partners to register deals.

Deal registration is also critical for avoiding conflicts. Partners count on the fact that you won’t compete with them on deals in the marketplace. Supporting them on the deals they’re working helps them be more successful in engagements, which will generate more revenue for you in the long run.

Increase pipeline visibility

Providing partners with an easy way to register deals helps you gain greater visibility into your pipeline.

Let’s say you have 50 partners each working on a $500K deal. That’s 25 million in the pipeline that goes unaccounted for without a place to track it.

Deal registration gives you complete visibility into your pipeline and helps you manage resources. Having this data also helps you better understand your sales cycles and mature your partner program. Once you close deals, you can take a retrospective look to better understand what led to that outcome, too.

Track partner activity in dashboards and simplify access to MDF

To better understand what partners are doing to sell your product, you need a place to see what they’re working on. One place to start is by integrating tracked activities with your CRM to create dashboards that show what partners have done in the past and what they have in queue. Increased pipeline visibility translates to increased revenue visibility.

Ideally, dashboards should provide daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly insights on what’s happening with the partner business.

The ability to easily request market development funds (MDF) is also important to partners. So, give them a streamlined way to submit an opportunity for joint marketing for approval. And then let them track their request in the portal, too. Preventing administrative back and forth frees up their time for selling and improves their overall experience.

A partner portal customized to your unique needs

As an alliances leader, you understand that there are many partner management software solutions you can choose from.

Some have the features mentioned above, but they likely aren’t customized to your unique needs, or they don’t easily connect to CRM. Too many solutions are often costly to purchase or implement, consuming time and money you could be putting towards supporting your team and partners.

Or, if you wanted to customize a solution, it would require a significant amount of code to customize or even connect to CRM. And all of this would take more time than you have to get it to market.

Skuid can help

A strong partner experience makes it easier for your partners to bring you more deals and increase channel revenue.

Salesforce Experience Cloud is a great platform to build your partner portal but it’s missing a couple of key components: the ability to build unique functionality for your partners and the customization you need for your user interface. That’s where Skuid SFX comes in.

Partner portals built with Skuid SFX and Salesforce Experience Cloud improve the partner experience by giving you a fully customized, one-stop-shop to track partner activity, manage communications and resources, and interact with your partners in a seamless way that integrates with your CRM:

  • Remove friction in the deal registration process.
  • Make requesting MDF easy for your partners.
  • Gain visibility into the pipeline for better forecasting and management of resources.

Additionally, building with Skuid is fast. You can stand up a partner portal in roughly two weeks—an inexpensive entry point for a solution that’s linked to your CRM.

A Skuid-powered partner portal

Recently, a global technology company providing sensor, software, and autonomous solutions needed a better way to engage partners—especially those it gained through a recent acquisition. The organization needed to mobilize a variety of partners across its sales and business processes. With Skuid, it’s taking a phased approach to building a modern partner portal that serves and enables all types of partners.

This new portal will include:

  • Ways for partners to track all activities.
  • A seamless deal registration process that doesn’t require users to navigate away from the homepage.
  • A carousel to draw attention to key resources like upcoming events, new product information, and certifications.
  • Access to product training materials.
  • Integration with an app providing selling guidance.
  • Capabilities for referral processes and MDF.
  • And more

Providing a one-stop shop for partners will simplify pipeline management and forecasting. Most importantly, when partner experience is at the forefront of every design discussion, that ensures partners will actually adopt the portal, successfully navigate your program, and generate more revenue for your company.

Want to learn how a partner portal could work for your program? Get a demo.

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