Partner Portals Are Dead

If declining portal engagement is any indicator, partnership programs are in trouble. 

Your partners are playing a new game: their business models have evolved into full-service offerings, and they’re no longer captive to just one or two brands. Instead, they work with a larger group of brands and feel less loyalty toward them individually.

It means they’re dealing with a lot of portals. And frankly, that’s not a great experience for them. 

When partners arrive in most portals, they see everything a brand has to offer—for every partner type—on display. It’s hard for them to know where to look for relevant assets, training, and guidance that’s suitable for their market. 

It’s overwhelming and clunky. Now, multiply that experience by all the brands they partner with: What you end up with is high levels of frustration—and low levels of engagement. 

And that leads to bad outcomes: partners fail to learn your products, react to incentives, register deals, and so on. 


What if your portal had a concierge? 

Faced with overwhelming choices, people desire guidance. Personalizing your portal experience is like providing a concierge experience for your partners. Reducing the clutter to focus on what matters to each partner can make you stand out as the brand they want to do more business with. 

But most companies have too many partners to tailor the experience to every one of them. The good news is that you don’t need to actually personalize the experience to every single partner. Think in terms of types: What do different verticals or regions need? Or do your partners need guidance, assets and training resources segmented by size (like partners with a lot of resources vs. independent ones).


What you should customize in your portal

Training

It’s unlikely all your training modules apply to every partner type. Curating your training offerings will help your partners find the ones relevant to their business—and make them more likely to take them. Consider building certification programs for different markets and industries, too. 


Incentives

One-size-fits-all incentives don’t usually drive the best results. Personalize to different partner types—and to your different goals. 

You’ll get more ROI out of your incentives if you personalize them to your partners’ business models, resources, and existing sales capacity. Segment your partners and only show them the incentives you want them to participate in. 


Marketing

Your partners likely have a lot more marketing capacity than you realize—but they don’t always have the benefit of your perspective. With a more robust marketing capacity, you’ve probably developed deep insight into tactics that deliver results. Providing your partners with that guidance—but tailoring it to their capacity—will help them succeed. 

It also means equipping them with great tools. All your partners should have some flexibility to customize marketing assets. 

Just not to the same extent. 

The right digital asset management (DAM) tool allows you to lock down the things you don’t want people touching (often: logos, intro messaging, boilerplate). But generally, you want your partners to have relevant images they can swap in or out, and key areas they can tailor for their market and business. Think locations, email templates, contact info area, even some messaging spots. 

The tool you use matters. Fielo’s DAM was built around the idea of personalization: you can give your most trusted partners access to more customization options, while limiting access for others. You can do this at the segment level, or toggle options on and off at the individual level. 


Wield a personalized portal experience as your competitive advantage

Most partner portals are underused because they’re not delivering what your partners are looking for. And that’s an opportunity: If you can create a personalized experience with robust tools, you’re well on your way to earning their commitment and best efforts. Win-win.