A channel partner portal is a web-based application that provides a vendor's established partners (usually distributors, resellers, service providers or other strategic partners) with access to deal registration, marketing resources, pricing and sales information for products and services, as well as technical details and support that are unavailable to other end users.
The partner portal, for example, may list new promotions or discounts for the channel partner, allow the partner to examine service memoranda or connect the partner with an assigned sales support representative for configuration assistance.
The partner portal is typically accessed through the manufacturer's website and requires the use of secure login credentials assigned to the partner. Many partner portals are now accessible through mobile devices.
Purpose of having a channel partner portal
A channel partner portal can play an important role in a vendor's relationship with its community of partners.
For one thing, partner portals typically act as administration hubs, providing channel firms the information and systems needed to establish and grow their businesses with vendors. Administrative resources can include information about the vendor's partner program, deal registration systems, reseller agreement contracts, partner engagement-focused communications and descriptions of the vendor's direct and indirect sales policies (i.e., rules of engagement). Portal users can usually also access sales and marketing materials from a vendor, including customizable digital marketing campaigns and proposals for market development funds (MDF).
In addition to administrative capabilities, channel partner portals are increasingly adding educational tools and programs, such as training and accreditation, to enable partners' technical and sales teams.
Vendors generally evaluate their channel partner portals according to a variety of metrics. Metrics might include portal usage, partner participation in online training and the volume of deal registrations.
Features to include in a partner portal
Apart from giving partners access to important information, channel partner portals can help partners run their business with dynamic features and tools.
- Communication capabilities: Portal users typically value a convenient way of communicating with vendors' partner management teams, such as real-time messaging, via the portal.
- Partner enablement: As mentioned above, portals are increasingly adding educational capabilities like learning management systems and virtual training and certification.
- Lead management systems: Systems can include processes for registering deals, sales lead sharing and lead tracking.
- Sales and marketing tools and resources: Common examples are marketing collateral, MDF proposals and tracking, sales playbooks, quoting systems, and downloadable demo products.
Channel firms today expect their vendors to offer partner portals with information and tools to help them do business. Tools for building partner portals are available through partner relationship management (PRM) software vendors. Many PRM vendors exist with channel partner portal offerings include Salesforce, Impartner, Allbound, Channel Mechanics, Zift Solutions, Mindmatrix, Zinfi and Magentrix.