Are you looking to increase the effectiveness of your channel partner program?
If you want increased productivity, loyalty, engagement, profitability and greater consistency, it’s important to include training as a fundamental part of your strategy.
But what exactly does training bring to the table? How will it help?
In this article, we discuss some of the challenges you may be facing, the role of training and the benefits a partner training program brings to your organisation when it’s well-executed and well-managed.
Common Channel Partner Program Pain Points
Managing channel partners successfully ultimately leads to an increase in sales.
However, the management process can be complicated and time-consuming. Exploring and implementing new ways to improve relationships will lead to further success.
There are several key challenges that organisations often face when managing partners:
- A growing partner channel
- Loss of brand identity
- High support costs associated with a lack of knowledge
- Issues communicating product updates, features and benefits
- Concerns about persistent outsider mentalities
- Lack of regular and consistent communication
Different markets and the partners that serve them have various purposes in the ecosystem.
Each part of the chain complements the other, enabling them to reach the overall organisational goals. With this in mind, it’s crucial to offer the relevant training to the right partner, for example, sales training to those closing the deals and installation training to those fitting your products.
As your business expands, perhaps exporting and opening up to global markets or beginning to work with different types of channel partners, it’s easy to start losing continuity, consistency and brand identity.
By providing consistent messaging throughout your program, regardless of the audience, your brand will be further strengthened and your reputation will be improved.
What are the Benefits of Training Your Channel Partners?
Building training and certification programs that are designed to support the partner throughout the entire development process offer the highest satisfaction rates and maximum revenue.
Partner training programs don’t just equip partners with the necessary information to start selling your product, but also the confidence to include it in their sales opportunities.
A well-executed, well-supported training program supports many areas of your overarching objectives. Just some of the benefits you can expect to see are:
Onboarding marks the start of your new partner relationship and it’s where they will begin their training journey. By offering training that’s been carefully created with the experience of your sales team, you will help the onboarding process run efficiently and cost-effectively. Courses can be taken online, reducing the need for costly travel expenses for both parties.
Enhanced brand identity
Couple that with sales staff and installers who understand your products inside and out and have the certification to prove it, and you’ve got end-users who trust your brand. By offering the correct training to the relevant audiences you can be confident that your partners represent your brand in the right way.
Training offers multiple touchpoints for your partners to engage with you. Maintaining regular contact through training helps nurture the relationship and makes it clear to the partner that you are in it together. Furthermore, training offers the ability to communicate issues, updates and performance expectations quickly and easily, reducing the chance of widespread problems arising.
Introducing a tiered system for your partners, backed up by necessary certification schemes, can help to motivate your partners to take part in the training in return for additional support and promotional activity. Providing badges and certification alone provides partners with a reason to complete your courses as for them it gives proof of knowledge and potentially a competitive advantage.
Decreased support costs
Offering high-quality training significantly reduces the number of support calls your internal team will receive from partners, customers and end-users. Empowering your network with the right information offers the benefit of reducing support costs and also lessens the chance of losing customers to the competition.
Looking after your partners and arming them with everything they need to work with you effectively increases the chance of them remaining loyal. Long-lasting relationships are key to increasing sales as acquiring new partners can be costly and time-consuming.
Increased revenue is one of the most significant benefits you will receive from investing in a partner training program. Offering everything your partners need to effectively promote, market and sell and install your products will result in increased sales and competitive advantage. A partner’s sales team will naturally favour the product from an organisation that cares about its success and works closely with them to help achieve it.
New revenue stream
If you start to sell your courses to partners, especially for certification purposes you can create a new revenue stream that can offset the cost of the training program or even turn a profit. The added benefit of charging for your courses is that they gain value in the eyes of the learner. Courses are much more likely to be completed if there is a definitive cost attached to them.
Solving Partner Program Training Challenges
There’s no doubt that investing in quality training for your channel partners yields some excellent benefits, but training does pose unique challenges that need to be overcome.
Time and resource constraints
Quality training requires time, expertise, and resources, which businesses don’t often have in excess. Allocating knowledgeable team members to provide the training, planning the sessions, producing the deliverables and finding an appropriate location to carry out the training all require time and resources to execute, but a high quality and effective LMS, such as Wahoo Learning’s Partner LMS eliminates the need for any additional internal resources.
Tracking training and ensuring compliance
While you can plan a training program that seems to tick all the boxes, you cannot be sure of its effectiveness unless you can track the results. A robust LMS allows you to easily track the training progress and certification requirements of your partners through reports, tools for custom assessments and automated renewal reminders.
Delivering consistent training to a growing network
Consistency is key to having an effective training program that you can deliver to new partners who join your program, no matter at what stage. To easily ensure everyone is receiving the same standardised training, a centralised, cloud-based platform such as an LMS can be used to store and update training materials accordingly while catering for a global user base.
Training global partners
Most effective partner networks expand beyond borders, across the globe and into markets that might not share the same primary language. Language barriers shouldn’t prevent overseas partners receiving the same level of training however, which is why Wahoo Learning’s LMS features unique translation tools that provide seamless communication and engagement for partners no matter where they are located.
By making it easy for partners to train and do business with you, you provide a compelling proposition that aids in continual growth and greater productivity over time. Partner training provides many benefits that are mutually beneficial, and treating your partners in the same way as your internal teams further strengthens their focus and loyalty over time.
Ready to revolutionise the way you impart product knowledge to your partners? Our blog on how to effectively use eLearning for product training is just what you need. Learn how to create engaging content, choose the right eLearning tools, and measure the success of your training program.