PRM Best Practice: Providing Service & Support III


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These blogs will provide you with insights and opinions about partner relationship management from a strategic and a best practice perspective. We will also discuss RelayWare’s technologies and software and how they can be applied to help customers with common partner management challenges

Delivering High Quality Service and Support to “Unmanaged ” or Tier 3 Accounts

RelayWare have built and deployed some of the industry’s best and most successful partner portals. We don’t write content – our customers are the best at doing that – but we do advise them on best practice in partner portal design and functionality to offer the best possible online partner service and support. Here are some tips that our customers have found useful:

Portal Accessibility

Browser Testing

Partner portals should be compatible with the four most common browsers: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Chrome and Safari. They will be accessed by mobile devices so compatibility should be ensured with mobile browsers as well.

Text Browser Compatibility

Less of an issue these days but text-based browsers support much more limited functionality and some forms or functionality will not look right or work properly. Make sure that yours do.

Window Size

Many partners will want to access the portal using a laptop, tablet or phone with a correspondingly small screen. The portal’s window size should be flexible and designed to fit well in the most frequently used laptop screen format of 1280 x 1024 pixels and ensure that mobile-friendly versions of your portal are available.

Color Blindness

Portals should be tested under the constraints of a filter designed to emulate color blindness. This very common condition can make many websites very difficult to navigate.


It is essential that partners can easily access the information and tools they need with the minimum number of clicks from the home page. It is critical that the site structure is well thought out and that everything is navigable through no more that 2-3 clicks and is clearly signposted from the home page navigation. We strongly advocate button / icon-driven navigation and this also lends itself well to mobile versions.

Use of Frames

If possible, avoid using frames. Some people have difficulty navigating within frames, either because the frames are confusing or because the software they are using simply cannot read frames. When using frames, always offer meaningful NOFRAMES content for those people who cannot read framed information. Use NOFRAMES properly – “upgrade your browser” is of no help to someone using (through choice or necessity) the most up-to-date version of a browser that simply doesn’t handle frames. The NOFRAMES section should contain meaningful content with links to the other pages in your site, so that they can be accessed without frames.

If you must use Frames, ensure that each frame has a sensible TITLE (in addition to the NAME) which gives a clear indication of the content to be found in that frame.

Portal Functionality


While sitemaps are not of vital importance to a portal site, they do improve the user experience particularly where there are navigation issues.


It is important that a partner can easily mine the wealth of information contained in your portal so a good search function is essential. Incorporate a high performance search engine with both basic and advanced search capability – we use Verity in our sites and be mindful of the presentation of search results.

Contact Us and Contact Information

Make sure that partners have the means to contact you through the portal and provide a means to communicate with specific people, roles or departments. It is very effective to incorporate the names and contact details of those people in your organization – account managers, partner marketing team members, technical support team members and operations people who are actually assigned to the relevant partner. This can be achieved by incorporating their details into partner profiles in your database that sits behind the portal.

‘Remember Me’ Functionality

The portal should contain a remember-me option on the log-in screen to prevents them from having to enter their access details every time they visit the portal. This makes the future login process much quicker and easier and addresses a common complaint that partners have regarding having to remember multiple ID’s and passwords for the plethora of vendor sites they use.

Social Media Sign-In and Profile Share Functionality

The portal should allow partners to log in using their shared social media accounts eg. LinkedIn and Facebook. This makes life easier for them and makes the portal more usable as passwords are unlikely to be forgotten. The portal should also allow the partner to sync their social media profile data with your database to avoid them having to renter it – this also helps to keep data up to date.

Printable Version and Exportable Content

Define and incorporate a specific print-style-sheet to ensure that pages are printed correctly. The printed pages should not contain the portal navigation which is usually not required when printing a portal page. The ability to export content for incorporation within presentations or proposals for example should also be considered.

Next week, we’ll examining the integration of PRM functionality into the portal.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mike Morgan
Mike has over 20 years of ICT, OA and CE channel sales and marketing management experience and is responsible for Relayware's global go-to-market strategy as well as the sales and marketing functions while overseeing the company's operations worldwide. Mike is recognized as one of the industry's leading experts in indirect go-to-market strategy best practice.


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