Channel partners play a vital role in expanding your customer base and driving revenue growth. However, ensuring that these partners are knowledgeable about your products and services is essential for their success, and ultimately yours. This is where partner training software comes in, offering a convenient and effective way to train your channel partners.
But with so many options available in the market, how do you choose the right partner training software that suits your business needs?
In this blog, we will discuss the key factors to consider when selecting partner training software, as well as the types available.
We will also provide best practices for successful implementation and offer tips on how to get the most out of your chosen software.
So, whether you’re just starting with channel partner training or looking to upgrade your current solution, this blog will help you make an informed decision and achieve your training goals.
What is Partner Training Software?
Partner training software (often referred to as a Learning Management System) is an eLearning platform that hosts and delivers training to an audience online, while providing other useful features like the production of certificates, reporting and sometimes eCommerce. It is designed to help you train your external partners, including your franchise owners, resellers, distributors, agents, and installers, allowing you to plan, deliver, and track the training programs that you develop.
There are three types:
- Open source (which you can modify in bespoke ways for your company’s needs)
- Commercial (which simplifies the process by letting you pay a vendor to use their software)
- Managed (wherein you work with a dedicated training management company to handle all aspects of the partner training software)
Why Choosing the Right Partner Training Software is Important
With the right partner training software, your business will get the following benefits:
By imparting key sales and product knowledge to your partners, you can help further their expertise, allowing them to become more effective sellers. As a direct result, they will be able to close faster, learn how to cross-sell or upsell and provide a tailored service. The more sales they make, the better your overall revenue will be.
Increased customer loyalty
When your partners understand your product or service inside out, trust in your brand is reinforced. When you have partners with high product knowledge working with you, loyal customers are not far behind. They will know how to properly sell your product to their audience and keep their customers happy.
Training your partners shows them your investment in their growth, fostering trust, which is crucial in new and unfamiliar regional markets. Companies that collaborate with their partners have shown twice as much growth compared with competitors.
As you expand your business, training your partners ensures the brand remains consistent across all branches, franchises, or regions. Not only will they be well-versed with the values your brand espouses, but they will also stay up-to-date with the latest changes implemented to your product or service.
Steps to Take Before Selecting Your Partner Training Software
Before you start looking for partner training software, it’s important to identify your specific training needs. Here are some key factors to consider:
1. Understanding your training goals
The first step is to define your training goals. What knowledge or skills do you want your channel partners to acquire? Do you need to train them on new product features, market trends, or sales techniques?
Defining your goals will help you determine the specific content and features you need in your partner training software.
2. Assessing your audience
Knowing your audience is crucial in creating effective training programs. Who are your channel partners, and what is their level of experience and expertise? What are their learning preferences and styles?
Understanding your audience will help you tailor your training content and methods to their needs and ensure better engagement and retention.
3. Determining your budget
Partner training software comes with a wide range of features and price points. It’s important to determine your budget upfront to avoid overspending or missing out on essential features. Keep in mind that investing in the right partner training software can save you money in the long run by increasing partner productivity and revenue.
4. Identifying your preferred training methods
People learn in different ways so it’s important to consider different training methods to cater to a range of learning styles. Do they prefer video tutorials, interactive simulations, or written materials?
Identifying your preferred training methods will help you choose software that offers the right features and formats to achieve your training goals.
Key Features to Look for When Choosing Your Partner Training Software
To reap these benefits, choose your delivery platform with discernment. The right partner training software should have:
1. A Smooth User Experience
When looking for partner training software, ensure it has a beginner-friendly interface. An intuitive dashboard, whether on desktop or mobile, is one less friction point and will encourage your partners to take your course and learn more about your brand.
A well-designed user experience can improve conversion by up to 400%. Invest in an easy-to-use platform early on.
2. Scope to Monetise Training
The ideal partner training software will enable you to scale up and sell your bespoke training courses to your partners. By monetising your training, you can build stronger relationships with your partners, elevate your status as an authority in your field, and allow you to fund more of your training programs in the future. Revenue can even be used to generate regular profit for your company.
Although producing educational content is an expense for any business to spend at the onset, this will only pay dividends in the long run. To improve your channel sales, you can entice your partners with discounts as well as a catalogue of relevant, customisable content that will solve their problems. Ensure the dashboard is hassle-free and lets you plug in your KPIs for analytics and reporting.
3. Reporting and tracking
Data collection helps you see how your partners engage with your training program and allows you to use this data to improve the overall partner program. It can help you determine: Which partners are fully engaged with the program, is poor sales performance linked to poor product knowledge because of a lack of training, and which partners are investing in learning and therefore investing in the program, etc. In addition, data related to performance, course sales, course participation and certification can easily be viewed.
Visualising this data is even more important for effective partner training. These detailed reports will help you make adjustments when you develop new courses or onboard new partners. Look for a partner training software that can get granular with its tracking features so you can tweak your program over time.
4. Flexible pricing
Pricing for any partner training software should come in tiers. This structure makes it accessible to small businesses, allowing companies to scale up to the needs of industry titans while providing the same level of quality for all types of organisations.
The platform should also have additional features available on demand, letting you customise even the entry-level tier. And if there are some features you don’t need, the platform should be able to remove them—or replace them with the ones you do need—to help meet your budget.
5. Customisation options
Your partner training software of choice must let you configure your programmes according to your needs, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this type of training. The same goes for the look and feel of entire courses. Your brand look needs to be maintained across all your training materials as well, including the colours, logo, and other defining visual elements of your organisation.
Look into whether the platform you’re looking at allows for this level of personalisation and whether it can accommodate the changes you envision.
6. Flexible course setup
After you’ve made your materials available, they must be flexible in how your partners can access them. Partner training software should let your partners avail of the courses best suited for them and answer their day-to-day problems.
The platform, therefore, must have a fully searchable course catalogue, self-paced courses, robust quizzes and assessments, downloadable videos, and mechanisms to provide feedback like surveys.
Certification is an effective way to motivate your partners, whether you’re already nurturing the long-term relationships you have or onboarding them for the first time.
Choose partner training software that lets you award certificates and badges with your training programs to reinforce coordination with your partners. It’s even better if the software allows for bespoke, customisable, digitised certification. These proofs of expertise, which partners can post on their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles, can provide them with a competitive edge.
8. Long-term support
The scope of eLearning has changed, especially with the impacts of the pandemic. Look for partner training software that provides support whenever necessary, regardless of your partners’ locations.
Having a team dedicated to managing your training courses frees up your internal resources. A well-supported platform, with continual fixes and feature updates, lets your program avoid any disruption and provides support for even the most technical issues.
9. Organisational hierarchies
In partner training software, organisational hierarchies give levels of access — based on how your and your partner’s businesses are structured— to specific users, teams, and organisations.
This functionality is especially critical when working with channel partners, letting you keep materials compartmentalised. Organisational hierarchies streamline tracking and reporting, keeping you abreast of which partners are engaged with which programs.
Best Practices for Successful Partner Training Software Implementation
Choosing the right partner training software is only the first step. To ensure successful implementation, you need to develop a comprehensive plan that takes into account the following best practices:
1. Creating a training plan
A well-thought-out training plan is crucial to the success of your partner training program. It should include goals, content, delivery methods, and timelines. Make sure to involve your stakeholders in the planning process to ensure alignment and buy-in. Your training plan should also include metrics to track and measure progress and success.
2. Communicating with stakeholders
Communication is key to a successful partner training program. Ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the training goals, timelines, and expectations. Provide regular updates on progress and be responsive to feedback. Effective communication will help build trust and engagement among your channel partners.
3. Providing ongoing support
Partner training is not a one-time event but an ongoing process. Make sure to provide your partners with ongoing support in the form of access to training resources, coaching, and feedback. Regular check-ins and performance reviews can help keep your partners engaged and motivated.
4. Continuously evaluating and improving
Finally, it’s important to continuously evaluate and improve your partner training program. Collect feedback from your channel partners and use data and metrics to identify areas of improvement. Regularly update your training content and methods to ensure relevance and effectiveness.
Incorporating these best practices will help you maximise the benefits of your partner training software and build a successful partner ecosystem.
Partner Training Software that Works for You
The right partner training software should make your course delivery as intuitive as possible. Make sure that the platform you choose lets you create and disseminate training programs that are aligned with your business goals, allowing you to strengthen your relationships with your partners and move the revenue needle for your organisation.
By selecting the right partner training software (or LMS) and creating a strategic implementation plan, you can empower your channel partners to achieve their full potential and drive business growth.
Looking to take your partner training to the next level? Our ultimate buyer’s guide is here to help you choose the right Learning Management System (LMS) for your needs. From key features to pricing models, our guide covers everything you need to know. Download it now to get started on selecting the best LMS for your channel partner training program.