How to Build a Partner Portal in 30 Days Using Salesforce Communities

Remember when it took many long, painstaking months to build a Web portal for your customers?

A partner portal wasn’t even in the conversation.

All that has changed now with the Salesforce platform. In 2013, Salesforce launched its “Salesforce Communities” product that extends an organization’s CRM database to external users such as customers and partners in a Web portal-like environment.

Now you can streamline channel partner sales and collaborate like never before!

The benefits of Salesforce Communities are indeed compelling. Salesforce Communities is essentially a framework for organizations to rapidly build branded portals that can be customized and optimized for mobile. It’s an affordable path charged in a SaaS model that also doesn’t drain your internal IT resources.

For many Salesforce customers such as Omaha-based Solutionary, an NTT Global Security Company, these portals provide a wealth of benefits. Solutionary is using this type of technology to add a strong competitive differentiator to its partner channel sales program. With the implementation of their partner portal, they can now offer better support to their partners with a library of resources that enable their success, as well as real-time view of opportunities and deal status. >

“The industry we are in is high growth, and there is a lot going on, so I needed to have a competitive advantage,” said Manny Quevedo, Executive Vice President Corporate Development at Solutionary.

“That advantage was the ability for my partners to reach right into my organization and get what they needed. Whether it was pricing, technology recommendations or contract work. Waiting for someone to call back doesn’t work in this economy and doesn’t work certainly in our industry.”

What’s more is that Solutionary built their Partner Portal in only 30 days! Here is how they did it:

1. Optimize existing Salesforce solution.

If you’re not using Salesforce and thinking this all sounds great, now would be the time to start looking at Salesforce as a comprehensive business technology solution. It goes much farther than CRM.

Communities relies on Salesforce as your back-end database so “Supercharging Salesforce” before building out your Communities vision is a must.

2. Enlist an experienced Salesforce Consulting partner.

To deploy an effective solution in only 30 days, you need help from a partner who can do the heavy lifting. Look for a partner with proven experience in Web portal development, mobile enablement and Salesforce process improvement.

The tendency for many clients is to push this effort on to their Web developer or internal IT team but you really need a consultant with a blended skillset of Web development, Salesforce development, mobile optimization and big picture process improvement in order to do this quickly and effectively.

3. Clearly outline your vision and requirements.

You need to define the user behavior and requirements around what you want the UI and UX experience to look like.

  • Develop the process you want your customers and partners to follow.
  • Explore what type of integrations are needed to connect the data beyond Salesforce.
    And, develop the requirements for what your mobile experience will be like.

4. Use the right approach.

Using a Web development approach ensures the styling and experience is branded to your organization.

5. Define your style.

Look at other partner portals you like to get ideas on how you want the style to look and experience to work. Use a proof of concept and realize your portal will require the same constant evolution as your website optimization.

6. Establish a development timeline.

To deploy an effective solution in only 30 days, you must incorporate timelines for implementation, customization, weekly standups, user acceptance testing, and documentation and rollout.

7. Clear your calendar.

Even with the help of a consultant, you will need to be available and an active participant to approve requirements, prototypes and results of UAT.

8. Build a Roadmap.

Not every feature needs to be deployed on the first release. Hold off on “nice to have” features for future releases and realize that Salesforce is continually refining products such as Communities so those features must also be continually supported. Make sure you create the right support team to reflect the addition of Communities within your org.

Considering a Salesforce Community for partners, customers or employees? Contact us now to start creating a detailed project plan and requirements that align with your goals and vision!

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