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Overcome 5 Roadblocks of Partner Digital Experience

blog-reportcard-PDX-two-businessmenAt the 2024 Impartner customer event Multiply, we assessed the PRM/partner portal of attendees in a service called ‘Check your PDX’. My co-worker and I conducted these checks in tandem, back-to-back, in 30-minute segments for six straight hours. It was interesting to see the wide landscape of different partner-facing systems but by the end the meagre snacks and prolonged period in front of the screens had us running for the poolside to talk through our findings. One thing that became obvious was how many vendors face the same PDX roadblocks. From lack of focus to partner program alignment, navigating these roadblocks is essential for optimising collaboration and driving mutual growth.

In our sessions, we evaluated the partner digital experience against industry best practices and emerging trends in automation. Using our custom scorecard for partner experience, we graded the level to which the PRM was: accessible, easy to use, engaging, tailored and seamless. The result was an overall PDX experience grade along with recommendations to increase the impact of their PRM system.


the 5 top roadblocks we witnessed (with strategies to overcome them):

  1. Limited knowledge of the importance of PDX. There was a lack of focus, gravity and budget placed on the partner user’s experience. Automation of channel engagement and digital governance is considered table stakes but the user experience has yet to become a priority. Many attendees we spoke with could show us what the different areas of the portal are meant to do, but they didn’t consider how their partners use them (or why they don’t).
    What you can do now: Read (or forward to your boss) our report on Enhancing the Partner Experience Throughout the Partner Journey to better understand PDX and how it directly impacts the success and revenue of your partner engagements.
  1. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Many attendees who booked a session turned up with self-aware knowledge they had ‘work to do.’ It wasn’t a lack of knowledge stopping them but often the lack of human hours to complete the work needed. We know all too well that everyone is being asked to do more with less and automation doesn’t mean the tools run themselves.
    What you can do now: Make the case to get help from team members, or for hiring a Portal Manager. No headcount? Bring in outside experts to augment your team. (This is the shameless plug where I mention PartnerPath was named Partner of the Year by Impartner.) No budget? Head over to our Resource Centre for webinars, reports and blogs offering advice to make you and your team more efficient and create a list of priorities to make some progress.
  1. Not enough focus on processes. In getting from a ‘C’ to an ‘A’ on our PDX scorecard, it was partner engagement structure and processes (or lack of) that were stopping vendors from achieving better grades. The technology can only do so much if you haven’t created a solid engagement methodology and processes to achieve that engagement. For example, MDF functionality in your PRM is only effective if you have MDF policies, workflows and documentation guiding the partner in using the tool.
    What you can do now: Ensure you know, agree, and document your processes for internal teams and partners alike. Then look for ways to simplify the processes and ready them for automation. If you’re already automating some processes, see if they can be better streamlined within the tools. Log in as a partner and walk through a task while noting any confusing or needlessly complex processes.
  1. Forgetting to use the included functionalities. Basic functionality that some vendors took for granted remained undeployed for others. For example, using segmented content offers more relevance to each user and having automated user journeys guides a new user through the portal. It’s possible to get overwhelmed with everything partner-facing systems can do. Some vendors forget to start small and set up the building blocks of a good experience.
    What you can do now: Rediscover your solution’s functionalities. Are you using everything you are paying for? Effectively? If you are, attend your PRM vendor’s next roadmap session and start planning the next phase of evolution.
  1. No PRM ‘life after launch.’ We spoke with vendors at every stage of channel maturity. Each one had their own priorities as to how they needed the partner-facing systems to support them and their partners but not one of them was questioning the need for those systems. However, they all were holding a list of strategies and goals for their indirect business that were not aligned to the configuration and functionality of their partner-facing systems.
    What you can do now: Ensure you connect a strategically designed Partner Program to your portal to take it from a basic requirement to driving your partnership strategy towards success. Don’t let all the efforts you’ve made creating a great program get overshadowed by poor configuration in the digital platform. The two go hand-in-hand.

The channel tech stack is a rich area of our industry where almost anything is possible (just don’t mention points programs, not yet anyway). Many solutions deliver on speed of implementation and positive, immediate impact but don’t forget the importance of digital experience on the impact of your channel engagements, especially with Millennials and Gen Z sitting in decision-making seats.

Amy-Roberts-2023-120We enjoyed the ‘Check Your PDX’ sessions and got such great feedback on our scorecard that we are extending the offer to you. No matter the platform of your partner portal, book your free 30-minute PDX check with me here. The first step to navigating the roadblocks is identifying them.

Amy Roberts is the EMEA principal and PRM lead at PartnerPath. She is based in York, UK. 

Watch: PRM Tips to Improve Your PDX

Topics: Partnering Tips, PRM

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