What is Training Programme Management?

29th December 2021

Project Manager Makes a Presentation for a Young Diverse Creative Team in Meeting Room in an Agency. Colleagues Sit Behind Conference Table and Discuss Business Development, User Interface and Design.

Table of Contents

Caterpillar Inc, the world’s largest supplier of industrial machinery today, didn’t always have a vice-like grip on the top. Reeling from the oil crisis of 1979, the company was losing nearly a million dollars a day. Some believed a venture with competitor Komatsu to be the only way to save it.

But the American manufacturer brought itself back from the brink by doubling down on building what it believed was its best asset: its distribution system. “We are convinced that our single greatest advantage over our competition was and still is our system of distribution and product support,” wrote Donald Fites, the then-CEO of Caterpillar.

Caterpillar’s historic comeback was nearly three decades ago, but the principles behind its success still hold true. Given proper support, your external sales network is the key to new markets, the upholder of your brand’s integrity, and your partners in securing loyalty. But in order to become all of these things, businesses need to provide adequate support and training.

What is Training Programme 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 programme has to account for specific challenges and needs. Poorly designed and managed programmes not only cleave away potential sales but also harm your brand’s reputation.

This is where training programme management comes in. By taking a deliberate approach to planning, implementing, and revising materials, businesses can turn their external sales network into a powerful competitive edge.

The Programme Management Cycle: What Does it Cover?

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.

So many training programmes fail because they go against the biology of how we learn. Businesses spend months designing a training programme, 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.

Managing a programme 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.

For businesses starting fresh, the cycle begins at the design phase. Then you run the programme, during which businesses provide support, monitor progress, and test retention. Data gathered during the course of the programme is then used to decide what’s working and what needs to be dropped. eLearning platforms enable businesses to be much more flexible in their approach, making incremental changes as they go instead of waiting weeks to fix what isn’t working.

Generally, the scope of training management includes the following stages:

  • Design
  • Administration
  • Database management
  • Learner Support
  • Reporting
  • Monitoring
  • eCommerce management 
  • Certification

Why is Training Programme Management Important?

Aligns learning outcomes with business goals

KPIs measure the efficacy of a training programme. 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 programme 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 programme 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 programmes 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 programme 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 programmes 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 programme 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 


Donald Fites predicted that “the global winners are going to be the companies with the best distribution organizations”. Thirty years on amidst a landscape made hypercompetitive by digitalisation, that is now truer than ever. External sales partners hold the key to business growth–but only when equipped with the tools they need to get the job done.

With 20 years of experience providing training for channel partners, we can help you and your vendors turn knowledge into a competitive advantage. Contact us here to get started.


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

training outsourcing companies

Top 5 Reasons To Use Training Outsourcing Companies

From small scale start-ups to fully-fledged enterprises, all companies have training needs. Providing the right learning tools is crucial to enabling company growth, which explains why an increasing number of businesses are choosing to outsource their training.

Channel Sales: A Comprehensive Guide

In this guide, we take a look at channel sales and its many benefits, as well as some elements to consider in your planning. We discuss how to identify when your business might be ready to develop a channel sales strategy, the various strategies and types of channel partners, as well as successful implementation, measurement and motivation for your partners. 

Our Latest and Largest WahooLMS Upgrade to Date

We are pleased to announce the launch of the next iteration of the WahooLMS, a Learning Management System (LMS) platform, specifically designed for training channel sales networks.

8 Ways to Create Effective Channel Partner Training

From your dealers and distributors to your franchisees and resellers, they all keep your supply chain running and help hit your company’s overall goals. Therefore, it’s in your best interests to provide them with the best channel partner training possible. In this blog, we explain what channel partner training is, how it will benefit your business and the key steps to take to build an effective training programme.
Future virtual reality technology for innovative VR warehouse management . Concept of smart technology for industrial revolution and automated logistic control .

The Future of Channel Partner Training

The channel sales landscape is constantly evolving and to meet the growing demands of channel partners, many organisations are turning attention to training as a method of delivering the knowledge that will stand partners in good stead when promoting and selling products. In this blog, we discuss the technology available to deliver training, how training will benefit your partners and internal team and how you can ensure the training you deliver is future-proofed.
how to manage your training programme successfully

How to Manage Your Training Programme Successfully

A strategic training programme requires continuous and consistent management to succeed. Following a step-by-step process will not only benefit the development of your customers and channel partners but your entire organisation.