Managing Your Channel with Salesforce Communities

By Liz Kao, Jon Paz

After your administrator has set up your organization with Salesforce Communities, the channel team can easily access it from the Force.com app menu in the upper-right corner of your Salesforce window. This information provides a high-level overview of how the channel team can now use Salesforce Communities to gain better visibility into their partner relationships.

Enabling partner relationship management

To allow partners to take part in the benefits of communities while still providing certain privileges specific to partners, you have to first turn it on.

To enable partner relationship management, follow these steps, but note: This action is not reversible! Try out this feature in a Developer Edition instance first, or your sandbox if you own Enterprise Edition or higher.

  1. Choose Setup → Build → Customize → Partners → Settings. A page appears to enable partner relationship management (PRM).
  2. Click the Edit button and select the only check box on this page to enable PRM. You’re reminded that this action is not reversible.
  3. Click the Save button. The Convert External User Access Wizard appears. This wizard helps you adjust sharing settings that might allow certain records or folders to be otherwise shared with external users.
  4. Click the Continue button. The three-step wizard begins.
  5. In Steps 1 through 3 of the wizard, see whether any existing sharing rules need to be updated. Consider whether any records may contain information that you don’t want shared with partners.
  6. Click Done when you’re finished, or click Cancel if you don’t have any rules to modify.

Creating partner accounts and contacts

First, you should make sure that all your partners are represented as accounts in Salesforce, with the respective channel managers owning the partner account records. This allows channel managers to monitor and record all activities related to partners in their territory.

To create a new partner account, follow these steps:

  1. Use the Create New drop-down list on the sidebar and select the Account option.
  2. Create the account record.
  3. Click the Manage External Account button and select the Enable as Partner option from the resulting drop-down list.
  4. Associate partner users to this partner account record by adding contacts.
  5. Create a new contact, click the Manage External User button on the contact record, and select Enable Partner User for your partner user to receive his or her login and password notification via email. A New User page appears, allowing you to confirm user details before saving the record and generating a password for the user.

Assigning leads to partners

By assigning leads to partners, channel managers ensure an organized way of seeing what potential business their partners are working on.

Leads may be assigned to partners by manually switching the record ownership, by assigning partner leads to a queue, or by adopting a round-robin method, in which leads are routed evenly to a number of queues. Partners then have access to the queue to grab leads. Additionally, lead assignment rules may be set up by your administrator to automatically assign leads to partner users or partner queues based on certain rules.

To reassign a lead to a partner user, follow these steps:

  1. On the lead record, next to the Lead Owner field, click the Change link. The link is in square brackets. The Change Lead Owner page appears.
  2. From the Owner drop-down list, choose the Partner User option.
  3. Select the partner user to whom you are assigning the lead. This assumes the partner’s profile has been added as a member to the community you want him to join, the community has been published and can be viewable by others, and the partner user is already activated and logged in at least once to the system. If the user is not active, his name will not show up when filtering for partner users.
  4. (Optional) Select the Send Notification Email check box to notify the partner about the lead.
  5. Click Save. The lead record reappears with your ownership change. The new partner owner instantly receives a customizable email if you selected the Send Notification check box, and the lead appears in his Lead Inbox the next time he accesses the Partner Community.

You may also reassign leads in bulk.