A Guide to Managing Your Channel Partner Training Program

30th April 2024

how to manage your training programme successfully

Table of Contents

A strategic training program requires continuous and consistent management to succeed. Following a step-by-step process will benefit the development of your customers, channel partners and your entire organisation.

Highly effective training program management takes time and care, but standing out against the competition and bringing value to your customers and partners will be worth the effort.

Whether you’re looking to outsource to a team of experts for support or just reviewing your in-house approach, we’re here to guide you with your training program management every step of the way.  

What is Training Program Management?

The strength of your external sales channel is predicated on how well you train them. Yet although the overarching goal–improve performance and sales–is generally the same for in-house and external training, the path to fulfilment differs. 

Channel partners are a special breed. Neither employee nor customer, a training program has to account for specific challenges and needs. Poorly designed and managed programs not only cleave away potential sales but also harm your brand’s reputation.

This is where training program management comes in.

Businesses can turn their external sales network into a powerful competitive edge by taking a deliberate approach to planning, implementing, and revising materials.

Why is Training Program Management Important?

Especially in the early stages of developing your training strategy, formally setting out how you intend to manage your program is crucial to its success. By keeping people engaged and continuously delivering support, your learners will experience real, lasting development, rather than a short-term fix that won’t stand the test of time.

So many training programs fail because they go against the biology of how we learn. Businesses spend months designing a training program, deploying it, and then forgetting about it. Skills gained fade fast because there’s no follow-through on the application. That, and efforts to iterate are far and few in between, especially for external sales channels.

But, what makes training program management so important?

Aligns learning outcomes with business goals

KPIs measure the efficacy of a training program. Yet too often businesses end up focusing on the wrong metrics. Connections get even fuzzier when working with external sales partners, as these are entities that may have a different idea of success. Training program management ensures learning outcomes clearly align with business goals on the supplier and distributor sides.

Sustains engagement rates

One of the main challenges of training external sales partners is keeping them engaged. Unlike in-house employees, ensuring completion isn’t as easy as making courses mandatory. Neither can you prod them as strongly as employees, as these are businesses running on their own time. Distributors and resellers also do not have access to the supplier’s intranet, where most employees find learning courses. Through training program management, businesses can constantly keep courses top of mind for external sales partners.

Turns theory into practice

Brains are often likened to a sponge, yet that’s not quite accurate. For one thing, they’re actually not very absorbent. We forget approximately half of new information within an hour of learning it. Turning knowledge into useful skills requires repetition and application. Effective training programs are able to ensure learners get the hands-on experience they need for lessons to turn into tools they can actually use. 

Keeps scope and tech creep to a minimum

eLearning technology has unlocked near-limitless functions for training. You can code virtually any feature onto your platform, personalise it for your brand, and even integrate next-level tech like augmented or virtual reality. But as with software development of any type, with numerous capabilities comes creep. Organisations use an average of 19 different types of learning technologies. Training program management helps keep the stack streamlined, minimising complexity and making courses more approachable for distributors and resellers.

Allows you to pivot when needed

Many businesses lean towards a cautious, waterfall approach when it comes to training: spend months trying to get everything right, and launch when ready. But external sales isn’t a slow field. Consumer behaviours change quickly. Delays and disruptions along the global supply chain can change how you manage inventory locally. Training programs need to be able to stay agile to remain relevant to the ever-shifting needs of distributors and resellers.

Focus on core business functions

Every growing business is familiar with the pain of spreading itself too thinly. New markets bring new opportunities, but also a new breed of customers to figure out, new marketing strategies to test, and new logistic issues to hurdle. Training program management, by ensuring your external partners are well-equipped to sell your product, allows you to gain a foothold in the local market without siphoning too many resources away from core business functions. It also allows your HR department to focus more on employee engagement 

What Elements Must Training Program Management Include?

Human brains are wired for constant learning. To help us survive, our neural pathways have had to become incredibly efficient at sorting out which information to retain and which to drop.

Managing a program efficiently, therefore, isn’t just ensuring you get to the end of training. There is no end. Rather, you need to establish a closed-loop system that’s conducive to innovation and improvement.

Effective training management must incorporate these key areas:

LMS Administration

Firstly, a learning management system (LMS) is software for creating and delivering training programs. For an LMS to run smoothly, it requires the assistance of competent LMS administrators.

An LMS administrator takes responsibility for the LMS and acts as a point of support day-to-day, as well as monitoring ongoing stability and performance. They will usually be involved in defining user roles, building custom certifications, providing learner feedback, loading content, creating learner pathways and supporting users and learners alike.

The LMS administrator has a key role as this is where collaboration between cross-functional teams occurs. They need to communicate with participating personnel and sustain a solid relationship with all teams and sectors within the organisation, as well as the project manager.

This role also feeds into the program creation and review process, as the administrator will have their finger on the pulse of how exactly the LMS can serve to satisfy the needs of everyone involved.

Related reading: Outsourcing vs In-House – Which is Best for Delivering Your Training Program?

Training Program Updates, Refreshes & New Courses

This is the most critical element to successful training program management. A training course with huge potential can fall flat over time due to a lack of care and attention – constant upkeep is needed to keep course content fresh and relevant. Moreover, if new products and updates are released, updated course content should be created to ensure knowledge is kept up-to-date.

With this process, it’s usually beneficial to utilise the knowledge and expertise of seasoned professionals combined with professional instructional designers, particularly those with experience in designing, training, and managing a program, as their specific knowledge will help you consistently create engaging content that meets the learning objectives.

Good course management doesn’t stop once your program is released – ensuring you’re continuously trying to level up your existing service or pivot to provide even better training will ensure continuous improvement, rather than coming to a standstill with your training.

Learner Support

Another element often overlooked when running a training program is learner support. A successful training program is defined by learner success, which requires continuous support and guidance to thrive.

Providing a fast response support service to your learners will enable them to stay motivated and assured in their training, charging your process with a level of trust that will benefit relationships, communication and connectivity.

Customer Support

Partners and customers require consistent support to make programs run smoothly. These elements include:

  • Assistance with booking
  • Publishing courses
  • Streamlining and updating hierarchies
  • Advice on the best courses to take
  • Advice on optimising the training budget
  • Guidance on learning paths
  • Creating custom reports

eCommerce Management

Budgeting and funding can sometimes be troublesome to secure when planning a training program. To solve this challenge, you can sell your courses online to generate another revenue stream. Of course, this will require a degree of management. Some tasks that need to be covered are processing payments and refunds, creating discount and promotional codes, raising invoices and reporting on revenue.

You also need to think about how these orders are accounted for. Will your finance department have the capacity to manage and report on these relatively small individual orders? If not, you might look to training management outsourcing that will manage this aspect of the eCommerce function on your behalf.

The revenue generated from selling courses either becomes additional profit or can be reinvested to expand your training further (and even enable your program to become self-funded). 

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

Regularly Report & Monitor

Training and development initiatives should always be measured and evaluated so you can assess what’s working and what needs to be adjusted. Tangible results can easily be measured through things such as:

  • Feedback 

Possibly the most important factor, regular feedback is crucial to assessing the success of your training. Conduct surveys or arrange interviews to monitor opinions and the impact of your program continuously.

  • Behaviour

Monitor what has been learned through behaviour assessment and evaluation. Has their learning led to an increase in sales? You can use learning analytics here to collate development data.

  • Business outcomes

This can be measured through your actual business performance, for example, sales, units sold and market share.  

Steps Required to Manage Your Training Program

When tackling your program management, consider the following steps:

1. Prioritise Needs

First things first – identify your training objectives. This will provide you with the strategic direction needed to get started and allow you to produce a coherent plan that breaks down your goals into a manageable and structured order. Use this time to set out your budget and decide what time, costs and resources are required before your program launch.

2. Set Budget

Usually, budget requirements depend on whether you opt for an in-house or outsourced approach to delivering your training. Although it might sound counter-intuitive, seeking out the help of an external company to support your training and development strategy could be the more cost-effective option.

With so many aspects to think of, sticking to a budget can be a problematic task when relying on an in-house team. Outsourcing gives you the security of a set budget that eliminates the risk of overspending. Every cost will be discussed in initial meetings by specialists with experience in what expenses will be required for your particular goals.

3. Delivery Method

Identifying your training program delivery method will form the basis of your entire strategy. This will all depend on your training needs and resource requirements.

Depending on your chosen method, you will need to consider your approach to online learning – will your training be entirely online? Are you going to stick to classroom-based learning? Or would a blended approach suit?

4. Create Courses

Course design is fundamental to the user experience. A course must be engaging to encourage the learner to participate, which will make a difference in the learner’s knowledge retention. 

Learning material has to offer value, especially in cases where courses are being sold, so make sure your courses are executed are engaging, interesting and relevant.

5. Organise Ongoing Administration & Management

Ensure you have the necessary touchpoints in place so your users, customers and learners feel supported throughout the entire process. Consider onboarding, technical, user, strategic, and account support. The people in charge of management will make up the fabric of your program – they’ll be the ones your project managers, customers and learners come to for help and guidance, so you must get the right roles defined before you decide to launch.

Related reading: Everything you need to know about our Managed Learning Services

6. Create a Launch Plan

Before the program launch, think about who will be using your training – what will they find the most useful? Consider the following:

  • At what point will your learners require training – for example, before a customer uses your product or service, or immediately prior, meaning it would need to be available on-demand?
  • Will you use pull tactics that direct your learners to support pages when necessary, or push tactics via hints, tips or videos through emails?
  • Does training need to be integrated into your software or service portal, or should you utilise a separate website?

7. Create an Ongoing Promotion Plan

If you’re planning to sell your courses online to external audiences, it’s vital to have a secure promotion plan in place. Some strategies to consider include:

  • Brand loyalty: Offer discounts or offers to repeat customers or members.
  • Focus on SEO: Improve your search engine ranking to get more traffic to your website displaying your learning services.
  • Trial course: Include a free trial of your program to give users a taste of what they can expect and entice more course sales.
  • Blogs: Creating written content won’t just boost your SEO,  but will also educate prospective users about why they should invest their time and money into your educational tools.

8. Evaluate & Pivot

Allowing time and space for regular updates and reviews of your training program will elevate it to another level. Successful development programs require consistent care and attention to react to ongoing learner needs and changes in development requirements. Let your learning evolve and adapt from the continuous feedback you receive.

Now you have learned how to manage your training program successfully, take your program to the next level with Wahoo Learning’s Managed Learning Services.

Discover how our services can help you achieve your training goals and maximise the impact of your training program. Read ‘Everything You Need to Know About Our Managed Learning Services‘ and take the first step towards success.


Get the latest news

For all the latest news and industry insights simply sign up today - it’s spam free!

Related Posts

You may also enjoy

online exam, choose correct answer in test

How Assessments Can Enhance Your Channel Partner Training Program

Having a bespoke training program in place is essential for channel businesses that want to reach their full potential. But how do you ensure that learners are engaged and taking the information on board?  The effective use of assessments is one of the best strategies you can employ to maximise the ROI of your training program. From maximising learner engagement and tracking knowledge to increasing retention rates and the impact on revenue, there are a wealth of benefits to including assessments in your training program. However, they must be used strategically.

Managing Competitive Pressures to Stay Ahead in a Crowded Marketplace

With manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers, channel businesses have to manage many moving parts, but this becomes even more difficult when the marketplace is saturated with competitors. When dealing with overcrowding, companies need to understand how they can stand out from the crowd.
Surreal landscape with a split road and signpost arrows showing two different courses, left and right direction to choose. Road splits in distinct direction ways. Difficult decision, choice concept.

Resolving Misalignment Between Organisational Objectives and Partner Strategy

Here, we look at how partner strategies and organisational objectives can become misaligned, what impact this has on the businesses, and why it is important to realign your strategy and prevent future deviation.
Indian and caucasian business people shake hands start negotiations with partners at boardroom. Staff cheering best employee of month receive praises, gratitude from boss, worker get promotion concept

Getting Decision Makers Onboard with Wahoo Learning

To help you demonstrate the value of partnering with us, here are some practical tips to help support your business case.
Sales performance management concept. Businessman use laptop to analyze data and sales performance. Strategic Decision Making for Operations Management, increase sales and business growth.

The Most Effective Ways to Monitor Channel Partner Performance

An effective channel partner program brings increased revenue along with many other benefits to your business. But what KPIs can you track to accurately monitor the performance of your channel partners, and what strategies can you employ to manage underperformance?
Survey, poll or questionnaire for user experience or customer satisfaction research. Quality control and feedback concept. Man choosing his opinion with smiley faces on touch screen.

Developing Incentive Programs for Channel Partners To Maximise Performance

A successful channel partner program is mutually beneficial. The more of your products your partners sell, the more revenue you can both generate. However, as distributors and resellers work with many different businesses and products, the challenge is empowering your partners and making your partner proposition standout.  Read the blog to learn more.

free download

Unlock the Power of Channel Partner Training with Our Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide