How to Improve Channel Partner Performance with an Effective Partner Portal

Businesses who rely mainly on channel/indirect sales can make optimum use of a partner portal. These systems not only help the parent company find an ideal partner to sell one’s product/service, but also help monitor, manage, optimize and enhance their services. Post the cloud computing revolution, partner portals  have not only become 100% cloud based but also evolved for smartphones and tablets. Integration with the social media management department is but a natural transition.

5 key benefits of partner portals
In a nutshell, an effective partner portal can help integrate, improve and enhance its operations, customer relationships and marketing strategies. The advantages include:
1. Transparency for critical updates
2. Hand holding to ensure optimized performance
3. Ensure positive customer experience
4. 360 degree view of customers to all stakeholders
5. Real time graphs on performance of partners

Partner Portal for BFSI
In the BFSI sector,  relationships with partners are often as crucial as internal communication or customer relations. Therefore, the role of partner portals in this sector is often vital. For example, a financial institution will need real time data channels - banks, the domestic and international stock market, etc. How does one have an effective system in place without the risk of human error? Partner portals provide the ideal opportunity for such players to access actionable data that allows the perfect management of these crucial exchanges. Similarly, banks too can benefit from the secure and hassle free storage of data that a CRM solution's partner portal offer.

Partner Portals in the travel and tourism industry
The travel and tourism sector is one of the fastest evolving sectors in terms of technology. Firms have, in recent years, woken up to the massive potential that CRMs and partner portals have in this industry. Integrating travel portals with CRMs has worked quite effectively in the sector. However, the future is likely to see a higher degree of adaptation for partner portal solutions in the industry as larger firms often struggle to cope with their large network of hospitality chains, transport chains, travel agents, tour operators and event specialists. This industry has witnessed a steady growth over the decades and there are almost zero macroeconomic factors that can cause a slowdown.

Partner Portals for retail, manufacturing and distribution
In sectors such as manufacturing, vendor and partner relations play a direct role in the productivity of an organisation. A retailer who has loose back end integration will struggle to hold on to its market and similarly distributors need channels to run smoothly and effectively at all times. Partner portals that cater to these industries not just help in the integration process of the internal and external vendors/ resellers, but also help streamline the processes. As information travels from one partner to another or from the parent firm to the partners and vice-versa, these state of the art partner management solutions ensure a safe and secure interactive platform with an simple, user friendly interface that is aligned with the brand of the parent organisation.

Ensuring successful partner portal implementation
If you are a small business looking for organic growth, a partner portal could be the right choice to ensure effective collaborations and improve sales. However, before the implementation of this partner management automation solution, it is important for you to clearly communicate with your stakeholders, vendors and resellers. The purpose of the communication is to identify the gaps that may have caused loss of revenue or strained relationships in the past. A key factor to consider is how much customer  information should be visible to partners, this can be controlled by carefully customizing user interfaces to display only relevant fields and configuring filters for lead/ customer related information. Also, internal communication holds the key to effective implementation of such systems. Partners need to be aware of the nitty-gritties of the new software interface and also learn to strategize better with the data that they are provided. Insights provided through the newly integrated data should be actionable for the higher management, the sales and marketing teams as well as the base of the operations.

The simplicity of new age partner portals makes it easy for companies to keep a tab on vendors and their own cash flow better. Invoice generation, pricing details, signed agreements, customer history, loyalty marketing data and disputes can all be accommodated in an integrated manner, if the partner portal is within the CRM software. Apart from this, the customizable user layouts and tools offered by most CRM vendors today allow companies to integrate and differentiate according to their unique requirements.

For organisations that intend to stay ahead of competition with the help of stronger customer relationships, partner portals may be the only way ahead. For SMEs, the more effective and cost-efficient the integration of customer and partner relationship management, the higher the chances of carving a niche in the highly competitive global market.