Most partner programs are overly complex, inaccessible and built around what the company wants the partners to push, not what the partners need to be successful.
It’s time to rethink the online resources companies provide their partners.
Recently, we’ve been playing with a few concepts and it really seems to be working:
1) Lower the barriers to entry. Your partners probably have many vendors they work with. Gating your content is only a minor hurdle for your competitors who want the information, but its a huge hurdle in preventing your partners from accessing the information. Most of your content isn’t top-secret anyway, and for the few pieces that are, consider distributing through email or locking only those resources down.
2) Cull the content. Instead of throwing every potential resource and document on a partner community or Website, focus on just the few items that the partner needs to be successful . . . a few sales tools, links to resources and materials for download. Supplement with a steady stream of email, blog posts and in-person communications.
3) Build for the user story, not for every potential use case. Identify the stories you want your partners to tell and build the program around those stories. Instead of planning for every eventuality, set up a communications channel that can address those unique scenarios as one-offs.
4) Be mobile friendly. Even in the most complex enterprise partner programs I work on, we’re seeing 20% of traffic from mobile devices.
5) Don’t take the relationship for granted. Listen to what the partner wants, deliver with their needs in mind and don’t sacrifice a steady stream of communication for a Website with a lot of “stuff.”