Services: Marketing Operations, Strategy
Achieving Lightbend's Partner Marketing Goals with the Allbound PRM Platform
Allbound is a leading PRM (Partner Relationship Management) platform that is designed to make partner marketing and selling a breeze. The Allbound Partner Portal integrates with your CRM to ensure data and processes are aligned and actionable.
Integrating any platform with your CRM should be a thoughtful process where goals, data, and user experience are considered across both platforms. Experienced agencies have lists of best practices they lean on during these integrations. In some cases, it makes sense to look at the solution with a blank slate to determine the best approach.
VSSL was working with our client Lightbend, a technology company, on their Marketing/Sales Operations and Salesforce Administration when Lightbend requested support to re-integrate their Allbound Partner Portal with Salesforce. The first thing VSSL did was develop a thorough understanding of Lightbend's goals and requirements. And then VSSL got to work on how best to achieve them.
In addition to the standard implementation, VSSL provided several customizations for Lightbend and Allbound. Lightbend wanted a way for their sales team and marketing partners to easily share comments and next steps on opportunities, and view the history of that information. This meant the sales team commenting in Salesforce and the partner commenting in Allbound.
Allbound's integration and technical team requested new Lead, Contact, and Account records from their platform be excluded from Salesforce duplication and matching rules. VSSL was able to accommodate everyone's requirements.
“The Lightbend implementation was unique in that we were re-working the integration for an existing customer. This is a bit more challenging as there are extra fields and workflows in both SFDC and the Allbound portal. The VSSL team was fantastic in helping identify which fields were being mapped and making sure they all appeared on the right page layouts in SFDC. With other vendors, we often see at least a week turnaround to have a field created or added to a view. Without VSSL, we would not have been able to meet the customer's timeline! I really look forward to working with them again!”
Lee Wylie, Manager of Customer Implementation
Picture your database from a partner perspective
Excluding Lead, Contact, and Account records generated by Allbound from duplication and matching rules.
In the world of marketing operations and database management, creating duplicate records is formally frowned upon. Maintaining the integrity of your data is a critical aspect of database management — and many would say dealing with duplicate records is one of the biggest challenges. Although the request from Allbound goes against generally accepted database best practices, after reviewing the use case and rationale, it made good sense.
When a user visits your website and fills out a form, this will typically create a new record or update an existing record in your CRM. We use this record to track inbound (website visits, email opens) and outbound (sales calls, marketing emails) activity and track prospects through the sales funnel. When a partner adds a prospect to your CRM there are benefits to having a secondary record. This allows for tracking partner interaction, history, and progression through the funnel. In addition, you are able to track the difference in pipeline progression between your internal sales team and your marketing partners at the individual level and overall.
By using the Allbound ID as a unique identifier, VSSL was able to exclude any records created through the Allbound Portal integration from duplication and matching rules in Salesforce. This allowed partners to submit leads and sync with the Lightbend Salesforce instance. The process of converting leads in Salesforce is the responsibility of the Lightbend Sales team, which allows them to maintain oversight on which partner is credited with opportunities.
Sharing comments across platforms
To solve the comment-sharing requirements, VSSL needed to collaborate closely with the Allbound team to ensure data was being sent and received from the platform regardless of the opportunity stage.
With the Allbound integration team handling the flow of data to and from the PRM platform, VSSL used automation best practices to manipulate the data inside Salesforce.
VSSL knew that the entire sales and pipeline process needed to remain as simple as possible for the user in both the Salesforce and Allbound Portal. Understanding the entire process was critical: the flow of data between platforms, what fields would be updated at each stage, and which party was responsible for the update.
VSSL created a place to record the next step or action needed from the other party (i.e. Partner requests the next step for Lightbend to complete, and vice-versa) for both Partner and Lightbend, with the intention that they be gathered and overwritten with new comments throughout the entire process.
Knowing that the comments would be overwritten as new steps or actions were recorded, a separate log was created to record all changes, between both Partner and Lightbend comments, so tracking the history was simple, accessible, and easy to read through and understand.
The use of Salesforce Automation allowed the comments provided in either Partner or Lightbend's next steps to be copied and recorded in the log, along with the company of the user, providing the request and the timestamp of when the next step or action was recorded. This enabled any user to easily understand the history throughout the pipeline process, without needing to search through change logs or connecting with the sales rep working on the lead.