The Challenges of Channel Partner Training (and how to solve them)

29th September 2023

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Training your channel partners, while hugely beneficial, does come with challenges. Over the past two decades, we have worked with numerous organisations and gathered insights on tackling these obstacles. 

Here is a deep dive into some challenges of channel partner training and our proven strategies to solve them.

Common Challenges of Channel Partner Training

1. Partner Engagement 

Keeping partners engaged in training and maintaining engagement throughout the program can be difficult. Their primary commitment is to their own business, and they may see training as a secondary priority. 

Without insight into what will help keep partners engaged,  you risk addressing irrelevant issues or pursuing unaligned outcomes, wasting time, effort and budget.

Solution

Work closely with your sales or partner engagement teams; they possess insights into your partners’ needs. Engage in open discussions about training content, methods and delivery, ensuring the program addresses real challenges.

Online training also connects you with partners you may not have previously engaged with or have a relationship with. It keeps them engaged, increases brand loyalty and unveils new avenues of communication.

Related reading: The Benefits of Channel Partner Engagement

2. Resource Constraints

Some organisations may not have the resources (time, money, personnel) to develop and deliver comprehensive training to all channel partners.

Employing a specific team comes with additional expenses. Then, managing and supporting that team requires more resources. 

For example, on average, at least four staff are required for a program to run smoothly. When you consider salary, taxes and overheads, that is a cost of over £200,000 a year!

Related reading: How to Manage Your Training Program Successfully

Solution

Outsource the support and management services. By partnering with a training company with the skills and expertise to run and manage your program effectively, you reduce the need for internal resources, saving time and money.

3. Geographical Dispersion

Channel partners are often spread across different regions or countries, making it expensive and time-consuming to conduct in-person training sessions.

While in-person training sessions offer the benefits of direct interaction and hands-on experiences, the feasibility of frequently gathering partners from various locations or continuous global travel becomes a daunting task. 

Solution

When dealing with geographically dispersed channel partners, devise a program that can scale across borders and provide translation capabilities. This can all be achieved by providing eLearning as the training method, delivered via a global  Learning Management System (LMS) solution, and leveraging powerful AI-based translation tools that can localise training at no extra cost. 

A comprehensive LMS offers partners flexibility and caters to various time zones and learning styles. 

4. Cultural and Language Barriers

Delivering training across different countries or regions may require translations, and even then, cultural nuances might affect the training’s effectiveness.

Solution

Customise online learning content for different regions using translations and region-specific examples to address language and cultural differences. Additionally, interactive tools like VR or AR can simulate hands-on training experiences, while regional coordinators ensure localised content and support are available. 

5. Consistency

Ensuring consistent training quality and content delivery across all partners can be a challenge, especially when different trainers or training methods are employed.

Solution

Implement a standardised training curriculum with clear guidelines and benchmarks. By deploying an LMS, you can deliver uniform digital content that aligns with brand guidelines. 

For further consistency, you can regularly update and certify learners through a unified program, ensuring they uphold brand and training standards.

6. Logistical Issues

Coordinating schedules, venues (for in-person training), and tech requirements can be cumbersome and time-consuming, especially for large networks of partners.

Solution

Online training is available anytime, anywhere. Using an LMS centralises all training information, allowing partners to self-select training slots that suit their schedules. 

Additionally, when booking live online training sessions, provide a standardised tech checklist well in advance and offer virtual alternatives or on-demand training modules to accommodate those who can’t attend.

7. Customisation 

While uniformity in training is necessary, there’s also a need to customise content to address the specific needs, markets or challenges faced by different partners.

Solution

Adopt a modular training approach, merging a consistent core module with add-ons tailored to specific partner needs, ensuring uniformity while providing flexibility. An LMS can streamline this process by auto-delivering content based on partner profiles.

8. Scalability

As businesses grow, scalability becomes a concern. Rapidly onboarding and training large numbers of channel partners across various locations can become unmanageable, potentially delaying the delivery of vital information and training materials.

Solution

Allow for immediate access to training materials with online learning. Once training material is available via an LMS, expanding audiences can be easily catered for. 

To support onboarding, use automated processes to get partners up and running as quickly as possible, utilising easily adaptable modular content for varying partner needs. 

9. Earning Organisational Buy-In

Gaining organisational support and understanding the value of partner training can be difficult if you want to take training online.

Stakeholders often recognise the importance of product knowledge in sales success. However, the advantages of a training program to enhance partner channel efficacy frequently go unnoticed or are undervalued.

Solution

Pick out the key benefits for each stakeholder and highlight the tangible benefits of partner training for sales revenue and partner relationships.

Related reading: How Training Benefits Your Partner Program

10. Securing Adequate Funding

Allocating a sufficient budget for a top-tier training program can be difficult.

Human Resource (HR) departments tend to control the training budgets, but they are often unwilling to use that budget for training channel partners or customers. 

Sales teams are reluctant to share their budget, and justifying new budgetary allocations from senior management can be challenging, so choices are limited.

Solution

Gain the buy-in from the right people by emphasising the ROI. 

Remember, the training program’s purpose is to increase the effectiveness of the channel. 

There will be a return on this investment, and when done correctly, there is no reason the program can’t pay for itself or even turn a profit.

Related reading: Developing Channel Partner Training Programs on a Tight Budget: Tips and Strategies

Bridging the Challenges of Channel Partner Training Gap

When facing the prospect of developing and deploying a channel partner training program, many organisations are overwhelmed by the time, resources and expertise needed for a successful training program to be deployed. 

By collaborating with Wahoo Learning’s experts, you’ll gain insights from professionals who deeply understand the intricacies of training programs.

We not only grasp how training integrates with broader partner programs but also have the expertise to scale and elevate those programs through tailored training solutions.

Specifically designed to benefit organisations without a dedicated team in place, our comprehensive, flexible and cost-effective outsourced service ticks all the boxes: 

Effortlessly onboard, empower, and enable your partners across the globe, delivering impactful, personalised training anytime, anywhere.

If you’d like to see how we solved CommScope’s channel partner training challenges, you can read our case study for CommScope here.

Get in touch with us today and we’ll show you how we can solve your challenges of channel partner training.

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