Step 1: Get partners’ salespeople to the portal
Tools and resources facilitating your product sales (e.g. by assisting in price calculation) naturally encourage partners’ salespeople to use portals more often. Bearing this in mind, provide your portal with useful sales functions and let the partner sales teams access it directly without a vendor manager’s participation. In addition to higher sales, the portal’s capability can help you enrich your market knowledge as discussed below.
Step 2: Use it to source customer data
Extra efforts from partner salespeople should bring them extra rewards. Only this way you can motivate them to add a new task to their daily plan. The following are some possible incentives to make them contribute with data on leads and opportunities.
Lead protection. With well-organized lead management, partners can ensure that they won’t compete with each other to sell your products to the same customers. At the same time you can gain access to their customer data for a more informed market analysis on your side.
In-built sales functionality, such as calculators and tools for customizing offers. Apart from assistance in closing deals, such tools pinpoint lead-related information to be stored in your database for later processing and analysis.
Discounts and rebates for registered opportunities will add a financial motivator to share market information by completing special forms.
Step 3: Organize research on lost / won opportunities
A clear understanding of your market is impossible without knowing the lost and won customers. However, this information is even harder to obtain than that on leads, as you have to motivate a partner to allocate some time for your surveys. Therefore survey participation should be as easy and rewarding as possible to engage more partners.
Firstly, come up with a survey form with minimum fields (questions of utmost importance only) and available just in one click. The less effort is required from the respondent, the more forms will be completed.
Secondly, use a transparent bonus system for timely and accurate information. This way you not only raise the data quality but also motivate partners to share more information.
Finally, manage data exchange, which means making partners feel the value of the information they provide. For instance, you can generate valuable reports based on the accumulated data and share them with the partner’s staff. Moreover, with advanced functionality at hand, you can analyze reasons for losing leads and even provide your guidelines for winning customers.
A clear market understanding is worth fighting for, and your partner portal can become your digital weapon in this battle. Just make sure you reach partner salespeople via the portal and encourage them to share their experience from the field.