“…this idea that if we build it, they will come. And they don’t. We get to look back every year for decades now at what the adoption rates are of different technologies and stuff, and they just don’t. And by the way, when you take the adoption, you actually take the logins and take away the people that are forced to come to your portal to claim money to do a deal registration or to do actual things necessary to maintain their business, the amount of people that walk into your library and go to the Dewey Decimal System and just browse around your portal is zero, literally zero, nobody has the time. – Jay McBain from the podcast Partner Portals Live, Partner Hacker.
Partner Hacker is a relatively new podcast, and the quote was taken from a conversation between Jay McBain Chief Analyst Canalys, Chip Rodgers Chief Marketing Officer Workspan, Rick Van Den Bosch Founder CEO Channext, and Jimmy Hatzell Director of Marketing Quickpass. The dialogue is among the most relevant I have heard. I highly recommend checking it out.
The question this group discussed is if there is a need for full partner marketing portals and if they should be owned, rented, leased, or maybe it’s a combination. Jay delivers an important point around the need for vendors to qualify to who information is delivered in order to keep it private if needed. But, organizations need to improve how the partners are drawn into the destination that delivers the relevant content. Keeping the above comment in context, his point was that a field of dreams program doesn’t drive engagement. Vendors need to draw in the partner by offering gateways from destinations at which the partners are actually spending time.
Chip Rogers introduces the following concept:
“…how do we all work together, but still have security and still be able to lock down. Like when I’m working with you and I have trust in you, I want to make sure that that is a trusted relationship. But I also want to work with, you know, 10 other people, and they also want to work with other people and manage those trust relationships while you’re able to work with everybody. So I think that’s the architectural that needs to happen…”
To ensure we keep this in context, he is talking about how to create a more collaborative environment, and what that requires. He is not disputing Jay, he is discussing an architecture of a platform where the partner can receive secure information but also engage with others.
What is most interesting to me, is that through this podcast they define the use case around the challenges of what a vendor needs for their partners. But, less time is focused on partner requirements. Partner useability seems to be the primary challenge all systems have. As Jay says, if you take away the musts-dos to get paid, the usage of these systems is very little to none.
It is not that a partner or a seller doesn’t want or need the marketing support, it is that they don’t have the time to deploy the campaigns, and the usability of the application tends to not be focused on them.
Here are examples of how we address needs:
Partner Need and Use Case:
Need: Easy to use solution that can work in line with their workflow.
Use case: Content is updated every Monday so that it works in line with their weekly planning.
Need: Content that is automatically customized and posted.
Use Case: One-time set-up that provides the needed customized fields.
Use case: Workflow new opportunities sent to the seller weekly.
Need: Stay educated and informed.
Use case: Access to content weekly or on-demand that creates a learning track.
Vendor need and use case
Need: Provide messaging to partners regularly.
Use case: Weekly expected emails with targeted messaging to partners about content.
Use case: Educational materials delivered to partners and triggered based on completion of learning track.
Need: Content only for a select audience.
Use case: Partners need to provide qualifying information to receive a content stream.
The podcast really dove into the challenges of the vendor and partner worlds, and as it continues to evolve we will continue to learn more about these challenges.