Facebook for Resellers
What a great week. You have selected the technology vendor that best supports your business strategy, you have signed contracts and it’s now a case of getting the relevant product information out to your engineers.
Your spritely Account Manager at the vendor opens up his laptop, “Now, let me show you our portal where you can get all the relevant information, and log your leads.”
Oh no. Another portal.
But you already work with 25 other vendors, and they already provide you with 25 other portals. Rather than distributing the new logins to your team it’s probably best to keep them to yourself, or give them to one ‘portal holder’ who can provide the information out as needed.
The problem is, that your engineers don’t know what they don’t know, and so very little content gets used and engineers have to find their way by trial and error.
The problem of portal overload is just as prevalent for vendors as it is for resellers. Their marketing team spends hard cash putting together a slick library of current content and marketing tools for you. But because of the low usage further investment doesn’t appear, and the site becomes outdated and stale, meaning even lower usage from resellers.
But hang on… When it comes to your personal relationships, with no programming skill at all, and no financial investment, you have been able to run a fantastic website for your friends, including photos, video and streaming news feeds of relevant content. Facebook has given you the tools that would have previously cost you a huge amount of time and money to develop yourself for free.
How great would that be for a Vendor if you could provide similar functionality for your Resellers.
And how great for Resellers if you could have one site, where you can connect with all 25 vendors, and get the latest, up to date, relevant content. You could also connect with the individuals at those companies, ensuring you had an accurate contact list should you need urgent assistance. You could also connect with your peers who also partner with particular vendors and run user groups from within a single portal.
Welcome to Partnerpedia, a site that I think is leading the way in this area. This is Social Networking for Channels and I think being an early adopter here will help grow your business in comparison to your competitors.
As an individual you set up your personal profile, much as you would on Facebook or LinkedIn. You can also load up a company profile, as you would do on LinkedIn. Where LinkedIn leaves off is where Partnerpedia really starts. As a Vendor you can then add in your partner programmes – perhaps a Referral programme, or a Reseller Programme. You can then add in relevant content for that programme – marketing documents, sales tools etc.
As a Reseller you then have the ability to connect both with individuals, and with Vendors, and make online requests to join their Partner Programmes. Vendors can then approve or decline these online applications.
Any user can upload content, perhaps a blog link, a video, a photo, or a Programme Overview, and they can then decide the security of this – either public for all to see, or just for access by those in private collaboration – perhaps those in their Partner Programmes. It is important to know that security of your material is maintained – you are not losing control by utilising a single site.
As with any Social Networking site – it is only as valuable as the members that use it, and as a Reseller I would recommend that you drive all your vendors to get an Account set up, and to load their expensively created content into the Partner Programmes they create online. You can encourage them by letting them know that Partnerpedia also includes a CRM Lite functionality that includes lead logging and forecasting tools on top of the fact that the Partnerpedia branded site is free to use (if vendors want they can pay to have the site in their own branding as a private portal).
A futher feature that I feel is really useful for all tiers in the channel, to help us win business by working together, is Private Collaborations. A user can set up a Private Collaboration – essentially a shared workspace, and invite others to join, they can then work together on projects, RFP’s, Account Management – or any other use you can think of. What is really great is that it’s not just a document library, but comes with version control, and a calendar of changes, so you know that your users are using the correct documents and they can get notified whenever a change is made by another user. This concept of Resellers and Vendors working together is pretty rare.
I would then recommend you encourage all of your engineers, in fact all of your staff, to set up an account and start connecting with their opposite numbers at all of your vendors. With the rise of remote working and mobile access of the internet, through one site you can give your team access to all the information they ever needed from all of your vendors.
You will still require a ‘portal holder’ to place orders on vendor specific sites, but for the vast majority of your team this is a great improvement to their productivity. As more and more companies and individuals join the site, I am confident Partnerpedia will be a well known name within the Channel industry before long.
Have you joined Partnerpedia? Do you have any comments on what you liked or didn’t like? What other functionality would you like for Resellers to make it really work for you?
Feel free to connect with myself on the site and start collaborating.
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