As we become an increasingly more digital society, with an answer to every question just one click away, it’s no wonder the majority of your customers prefer to self-serve. But your customers aren’t the only ones looking for information. If your company offers products or services via alliance partners, system integrators, resellers, dealers or distributors, you ought to be thinking about your channel partner strategy and how you can achieve self-service success on your partner community as well.
Your partners’ success is your success. An effective partner community has the potential to strengthen brand advocacy, it encourages partners to create their own knowledge articles and share best practices, and accelerates sales. Given that your partners have direct access to customers through your product or service, your partner community can also become a goldmine for valuable customer feedback that can inform your product development team on how to better meet the needs of your customers.
If you’re seeking to enable your partners to self-serve and get the most from your Salesforce Community, here are 3 things you need to know:
Search is the key to partner self-service success
Your partners are looking for information, so your content still plays a critical role in your partner experience, but if it can’t be found it’s useless. In order to empower your partners to self-serve, you need to provide a search experience that unifies your sales, marketing, training and enablement content, from across all your repositories, into a single easy-to-access hub. You’ll want to make sure all relevant content is available to your partners from your community site, including but not limited to:
- Sales enablement content
- Marketing assets
- Partnership agreement documentation
- Product information
- Training resources
- Event assets
- Lead management support
- Deal registration information
- Opportunity status updates
- Pricing sheets
By leveraging unified and secured AI-powered search, you can help your partners easily search across all of the content that can help them self-serve, whatever it is and wherever it resides. Whether it’s a videos on your YouTube channel, a SharePoint presentation, or KM articles in a legacy database, your partners should be able to easily find it right on your Salesforce Partner Community. This will enable them to generate more engagement, more referrals and more sales–without ever needing to pick up the phone.
2. Your Partners expect relevant, personalized experiences
Your partners are knowledgeable about your products and services, and they expect you to know just as much about their personal profiles. You should know who your partners are and provide relevant, personalized experiences based on different tiers, types, roles, personas and history.
For example, based on what a partner is searching for and their profile, you can proactively recommend relevant content like trainings, certifications or upcoming events. In order to deliver those personalized experiences at scale, without having to constantly update and hardcode specific assets, you need AI. Machine learning will look at all the interactions from all your Partner Portal users, and learn from their behavior to automatically fine-tune experiences for future users. Better yet, an AI-powered search solution will understand your partner’s context, compares it with others who have similar profiles, evaluates what has helped them to successfully self-serve and proactively recommends which content they will need next.
Watch how machine learning works in the context of self-service success.
3. One-to-one partner enablement does not scale
Spending time with every single partner is not going to do you or them any favors. They need to operate quickly and efficiently and in order to do so, they can’t be chasing one of your team members down for information. On the flip side, with an optimized partner community, your team can focus on other areas of the business, and on making one-to-many enablement better. Shifting your focus from one-to-one partner enablement, to creating a helpful and vibrant community will take an initial investment of resources but will save you time and money tenfold in the not-so-distant future. In order to do so, make sure you have the right search analytics in place to understand what your partners are looking for. This will help you understand where you have content gaps, and will help you focus and prioritize your content and partner enablement strategy.
Furthermore, every partner community should be optimized for mobile and tablet use. Like sales, alliance and channel manages are road warriors who need quick and easy access to content without powering up the laptop to look for that perfect pitch deck.
Salesforce Community Cloud & Coveo in action on BRP’s Partner Community
BRP, global leader in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and marketing of powersports vehicles was in need of a platform for its dealers across the globe to efficiently find and share information. BRP was already using AI-Powered Search from Coveo to power its day-to-day customer support operations and was looking to offer the same self-service capabilities to its dealers. Its dealer community is now the go-to hub for answers. Dealers turn to the community for service department information, technical requests, to discover which parts are needed to fix certain vehicles, warranty questions, various policies and procedures and more. Its dealer portal is powered by Salesforce and Lithium. Coveo, was added as “the brain”, pulling information from the knowledgebase and case management systems to provide the right information at the right time, ensuring self-service success dealers. Coveo’s usage analytics helps BRP to see how its dealer network works on a daily basis, assess seasonality of its products and queries, and ultimately create better products based on the needs of its customers.
If you’re interested in driving self-service success on your partner or dealer community, learn more about what BRP is doing to see significant and measurable results, and how your organization can do the same.