12 Feb Simplify the journey to partner self-service: #1 Sales enablement
by Chris Gardner
The ultimate goal of a partner portal should be the enablement of partners to self-service as much as possible. The more your channel partners can do themselves, the less time your internal resources will have to devote to partner support. This can free up your resources for more critical initiatives or even prevent the need for additional hiring.
However, actually creating a self-service environment requires planning and configuration. Depending on your partner channel, there are several areas to review. At Simplus, our goal is to simplify the journey. To accomplish this, we’ll be covering several areas crucial to partner self-service development in depth over a series of articles. Our first topic is sales enablement.
Problems in the process
If you sell through your channel, providing more self-service capabilities will significantly reduce your need for internal resource time. As a premier Salesforce CPQ partner, one of our most common partner portal use cases is enabling partners to create quotes within a branded community. But when working with our clients, we often see the deal registration to quote acceptance process take from five to twenty days—even more. The delay is mostly down to processes in multiple disparate systems, siloed data, and inefficient system capabilities.
Empowering partners as a solution
We attack these situations by breaking down the partner sales process to identify roadblocks. We find processes that can be eliminated or automated. If additional systems perform tasks that can be accomplished in Salesforce, we migrate them into a single platform. It is not uncommon to remove 25% of the steps in a sales process as part of a Simplus advisory engagement.
By exposing Salesforce CPQ through a portal, partners can create quotes themselves. Using Salesforce CPQ rules and logic, partner approvals can be automated or streamlined. Partner product availability and pricing are easily controlled, including calculations based on partner tier.
Even guided selling can be configured for partners. This can guide them through a selling process and provide suggested products. Depending on the size of your product catalog, or the complexity of your product offerings, this can greatly reduce confusion around the quoting process.
By fully leveraging these tools, we see huge reductions in partner sales process times. One client had an average of 18 days from deal registration to quote acceptance before utilizing Salesforce CPQ in a community. After streamlining their process, that average time went down to just two days. This increased overall quote volume, quotes created per partner, and overall revenue.
Sales enablement is only part of the solution. To fully utilize a partner portal, you’ll need to couple it with well-established support, training, and other features. Check back for the next part in this series to learn more.
Chris is a Salesforce Consultant and Developer with Simplus. He is an experienced leader with a focus on implementation, best practice consulting, and marketing. Chris has over ten years of experience in consulting for small to large businesses. He fosters healthy client relationships from initial engagement through handoff. Chris is skilled in turning client requirements into actionable system designs and following best practices to implement and optimize Salesforce solutions.