MSPmentor Blog

Portal Power

The technology world tends to move at a lightning fast pace. Companies, products and services are constantly evolving and shifting gears to stay competitive. I often hear that MSPs, VARs and other solution providers would like vendors to make better efforts to reach out and keep them aware of changes. No one likes to be caught off guard with a product update or miss out on the opportunity to attend free training because of lack of communication.

That’s where Partner Portals can come into play.

Fact: Almost every channel Vendor has a “partner portal” that customers can access.

Fiction: Almost every solution provider uses these portals to their fullest advantage.

Most vendors have dedicated portals that partners can access to get the latest information on the company, monitor devices, create invoices, submit tickets, access marketing collateral and user documents, white papers and more. These portals contain gold nuggets of useful information that can help solution providers in a variety of ways.  The hitch is that sometimes you have to take some time to go and find the information you are looking for.

A common complaint I hear is, “I like the idea of vendor portals, but I use six or seven different vendors and I don’t have time to go to each individual one all the time”. There is some good news on this front. Many channel vendors are working together to make solution providers lives easier.  For example, Datto is currently integrated with channel vendors like Level Platforms, Connectwise and Autotask.  Solution providers have the ability to monitor Datto devices directly from these other portal interfaces.  This can save the solution provider valuable time managing devices and alerts.

There are also creative efforts on the social media side to combat the multiple portal dilemma. ChannelEyes recently launched a site dedicated to streamlining vendor information into one, easy to access place. This site is a secure platform that is used to keep track of vendor news, promotions, and updates. It’s a great tool to help reduce the amount of time solution providers need to spend in each different vendor portal on a daily basis, but shouldn’t replace visiting partner portals completely.

I may be a bit biased, but I feel that vendor portals are powerful resources for solution providers. Portals tend to contain extremely useful resources (for free!) and provide a direct connection to the vendor and the management of the account.

Remember, your vendors want you to succeed and these portals are in place to help you do just that!

Portals can also be your first line of defense when something goes wrong. Datto’s portal contains a “Knowledge Base” where partners can query frequently questions to help troubleshoot support issues. I’m sure Datto is not the only company to offer a service like this for free to its partners, and this can save technicians a ton of time when trying to resolve issues.

So, don’t let your portals get dusty! Go check them out today and learn something new.

And I’m curious - what types of things can vendors do to improve your portal experience?

Shannon Kohn is Marketing & Channel Relations Director at Datto. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship. Read all Datto guest contributions here.

Discuss this Blog Entry 3

Dave Sobel (not verified)
on Apr 23, 2012
Shannon: You're so right, and since coming on with Level Platforms, I've dug into how portals really do offer some value to solution providers, and how underutilized they often are. Solution providers struggle with marketing and sales support, and vendors often offer lots of solutions to help. Where do they offer that? In their portals! Portals often offer communities of people sharing ideas and collaborating on common solutions, including forums and discussion areas that help solution providers link to each other. It's a powerful collaboration platform. We know it's an investment -- but those investments come with a return. (And we're glad to have our integration with you too!) Dave Sobel Director of Partner Community Level Platforms
Shannon Kohn (not verified)
on Apr 25, 2012
Thanks for the comment Dave - you are dead on!
karaloko (not verified)
on Jun 4, 2012
It is very difficult to fight in markenting with really big portals.
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