By Daniel Graff-Radford, CEO, Allbound
A homemade cookie or a bakery treat? A hand-knitted sweater or designer duds? A do-it-yourself home improvement project or hiring a contractor? Let’s be honest: any one of these choices can be awesome. Choosing whether to create something yourself or calling in the professionals completely depends on your needs, skillset, schedule and finances. The same goes for partner platforms. Whether you’re considering a homegrown portal or a cloud-based, next-generation PRM, you’re doing an amazing thing for your channel partners. A partner portal is the best way to onboard, educate and equip them for success. Which type of partner portal is better? That’s completely dependent on your bandwidth, growth projection, budget and what you want from your platform. Here are some things to consider.
The allure of anything custom-built is that it is designed to perfectly fit your needs. A big argument for homegrown portals is that they are tailored solutions. That being said, PRMs are also extremely customizable and offer a vast majority of the tools anyone would ever want or need. They’re also built to meld right in with your branding – even completely matching your website – so partners aren’t even aware they’re using an external system.
Choosing the right set of tools is an important part of platform-building, but you can’t just tape them together and hope for the best. If you’re creating a homegrown solution, you have to be confident your team has the expertise to create a seamless partner experience. A good PRM has ensured its tools are completely synchronized, creating the ease-of-use partners need.
Let’s Talk Timelines
Let’s be honest: adopting any new system requires planning and fine-tuning as it gets off the ground. A homegrown partner portal is most likely going to take a bit more time, patience and elbow grease before it’s built, fully tested and live. There can also be system instability while you iron out kinks. PRMs give you the assurance that the system is already stable and quality-tested, providing the best possible experience for channel partners from the get-go. PRM companies are also experts in getting companies up-and-running and that guidance can significantly shorten your partner onboarding process.
How’s Your Bandwidth?
It’s one thing to put in the manpower to build a new solution. As part of the planning process, you have to allocate resources to the continued maintenance of your partner portal. Does your team truly have room on their plates to keep your portal running top-notch? Will they have that bandwidth in 6 months, a year or five years from now? That’s all going to depend on some factors that are likely relatively unknown, like your future growth, budget and resources. A PRM solution is going to take that maintenance work off your plate, now and for the long-term.
Making Sense of Dollars and Cents
Let’s get to what everyone really wants to hear about: the cost. The fact is that homegrown portals are often cheaper to set up. Just judging the initial sticker price may be a bit misleading, though. There’s a cost to the employee hours that go into creating a portal, maintaining it and to calling in experts to fix it if anything really goes awry. PRMs seem more expensive during a basic comparison of price tags, but they also give you the freedom and confidence of understanding all costs upfront, no uncertainty or surprises involved. When you budget for a homegrown portal, you’ll also have to consider the cost of expansions or revamps as your company grows. That’s where PRMs shine. With Allbound, for instance, we don’t charge per license so your cost never changes. We don’t believe customers should be penalized for growing!
Only You Know What Will Work Best
Whether a homegrown portal or a PRM is the right fit is ultimately something only you can answer. Thinking through all the points above is a big step in helping you come to that decision. Regardless of what you choose, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re doing something incredible for your channel partners.