Partner communities are an extremely important part of business today. Allowing partners to find relevant content in a self-service manner saves time and effort for everyone, but not all partner communities are created equal. Plenty of enterprises mess up their partner communities by falling prey to these pitfalls.

1. Focusing on one-to-one contact

In our increasingly digital era, human contact is a prized commodity for many customers with questions. But in a partner community, focusing on that one-to-one interaction can hinder your success. Unlike the beleaguered customers of banks, credit cards, or internet service providers, your partners don’t want to have to pick up the phone and talk to a person to find the answers they need. They want a self-service portal where they can find the information they want quickly and download it easily. They also want to have access to it on their mobile devices and tablets, because they’re usually out on the road or in a plane preparing for the next presentation, not sitting on their couch in the comfort of their own homes.

Creating a functional partner community does take time and resources, especially upfront. But the savings for the future are well worth that initial investment. Once you have a vibrant and useful partner community, your team members can focus on one-on-one interactions that actually matter, rather than being bogged down by menial search tasks. To take it a step further, leverage companies like Coveo let their artificial intelligence (AI) answer the easy questions so your team can focus on harder, more rewarding functions.

2. Not optimizing your search functions across all of your assets

No matter how brilliant your content is, if your partners can’t find it, it is absolutely useless. And if they need to search in multiple different hubs for sales, marketing, training, or enablement content, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Your search functions need to be optimized across all of your assets in a single hub so that all relevant content is findable, including content stored on third-party repositories like YouTube. All of your relevant content has to be available to your partners, including (but not limited to):

  • Sales enablement content
  • Marketing assets
  • Partnership agreement documentation
  • Product information
  • Training resources
  • Event assets
  • Lead management support
  • Deal registration information
  • Opportunity status updates
  • Pricing sheets

The goal is to help your partners easily search across all of your content, whatever it is and wherever it resides. This will empower them to generate more engagement, more referrals, and more sales, all without ever needing to pick up the phone.

So how do you ensure that your search function covers all your bases? By leveraging a unified and AI-powered search.

3. Not using AI to its full capacity

Artificial intelligence (or AI) can make your partner community a personalized powerhouse, delivering up relevant content quickly and easily for all of your partners, regardless of their backstories, but only if you’re leveraging that AI to its fullest extent.

Here’s the thing: your partners are familiar with your services and your content, but they also expect you to be just as knowledgeable about them. Anything less than a fully-personalized experience will turn them off from your partner community very quickly. You should know who your partners are and provide relevant, personalized experiences based on different tiers, types, roles, personas, and history.

For example, based on what a partner is searching for and their profile, you can proactively recommend relevant content like trainings, certifications, or upcoming events. In order to deliver those personalized experiences at scale, without having to constantly update and hardcode specific assets, you need AI.

Thanks to advancements in machine learning, the right tool will look at all the interactions from all your partner portal users, and learn from their behavior to automatically fine-tune experiences for future users. Better yet, an AI-powered search solution will understand your partner’s context, compare it with others who have similar profiles, evaluate what has helped them to successfully self-serve, and proactively recommend which content they will need next.

At Paladin, we have experience fine-tuning partner communities for our clients’ needs. If you have any questions on how to better utilize your partner community, reach out to one of our experts today.