At Origami, we worked with more amazing partners in 2021, and there seems to be no end in sight to our partner growth.
Our partners receive a lot of our attention. We provide them with training, marketing and sales support and we’re constantly in contact to discuss everything from vision to features.
Depending on our partner’s business they may give us affiliate referrals and we work directly with customers, collaborate with us on shared customer implementations or implement our no-code SaaS for a customer.
However we work together, each of our partners is important to us and we decided to invest early in 2022 into making their lives even easier.
To introduce our new Partner Portal, we started a project to update configurations in our internal Origami system and hook up our internal system to our website.
This article shares lessons learned about our internal partner program processes, and some avoidable issues we encountered.
Partner Happiness Goals
- Give partners anytime access to progress about their leads
- Make sure partners can give us leads whenever they want
- Give partners real-time visibility to their per-customer and total commission fees
- Speed up commission payments through direct deposits
- Save at least 8 hours / opportunity. Eliminate time spent on emails and reduce calls to discuss opportunity status between us and our Partners
- Improve the shared customer experience by eliminating latency of information sharing with partners by providing anytime access to who we are speaking with and how an opportunity is progressing
- Improve partner happiness by providing them with a sense of control and transparency that comes with anytime opportunity visibility
- Add 20% more partners to each sales representative. Help each of our sales representatives work with more partners by automating communication with partners about leads, opportunities and payment
- Help finance pay partners quickly by storing electronic banking information
- We’ll provide partners with the ability to view the stage of their opportunities any time
- We need to make it quick and easy for partners to give us the name of a lead, and have that name show up in their opportunity tracking view, listed above
- We’ll show partners their commission fees per opportunity, and as a running total, accessible any time
- We’ll provide features for partners to provide us electronic payment details so they can receive commission directly to their preferred account
Our sales representatives work very closely with partners. Here’s a look at our internal view of a Partner.
What Went Wrong
- Admin availability. Impact: 2+ weeks delayed start time and slow iterations on our partner sales process. How we solved this: we gave admin permission to the sales process owner to make changes based on stakeholder feedback.
- Here’s what this looked like: Like any company, we have admins for our Origami system. Unfortunately our admins were busy when we were ready to add a new Partner entity to our system.
- We tried to skip human conversations.
- What happened? The admins thought they’d make changes when they had time so they asked for every single new or changed field type, input values, rules and workflows to be put into a spreadsheet. Even though we all speak the same software language at Origami, the spreadsheet process took many hours to create, and inevitably we needed discussions to decide on layout and on-the-fly options.
What We Learned
- It’s inexpensive to update a partner process that works well in Origami to make it work differently for new use cases, such as our decision to add a new entity for partners. Up until our Partner Portal project, partners were configured in our system as a type of company. While this worked for our internal partner program metrics and processes, it was overly complicated to connect our new Partner Portal to the same company entity once for partner types and many times for customer types.
- Here’s an example: Partner A has 3 contacts in their company, and Partner A gives us 15 affiliate contacts at different companies. We’d have to introduce a hierarchy where Partner companies had sub customer companies and sorting out the contacts and opportunities was more complex than creating a new Partner entity to represent partner companies.
- The impact was that we updated the Opportunities and Contact entities. The impact of this change was : 2+ hours to update legacy Contact and Opportunity data, 2+ hours to update training materials, 30 mins to train on the new process.
- Here’s what we changed on our Contacts entity: The background is that all people are Contacts, whether customer, partner, trial user, newsletter subscriber, prospect (not yet customer), registrar, regulator, investor or any other stakeholder. Contacts are part of how Origami tracks internal and external expectations for our ISO 27001.
- We configured a main contact who will be able to manage other contacts in their company through our Portal.
- We configured a standard password field so our sales team could handle inevitable lost or forgotten Portal passwords.
- We related a prospect contact to the partner entity as well as the company entity that the prospect works at.
- Opportunities also needed to be updated to work with the new Partner entity.
- We configured a workflow to use the Partner’s commission rate on the date the customer signed the contract.
- We configured a new relationship between an opportunity and the new Partner entity, while keeping the relationship to the company entity
- You can never have too many files! Complex Opportunities mean lots of files, and when it comes to Partners, there’s lots of information exchanged to help everyone succeed. Keeping all the files in one spot helps tremendously!
Now that you’ve seen what our internal Partner view looks like, we hope that this gives you some ideas for your partner program.
Good luck and let us know about your partner program at [email protected]!