In many ways, having well-trained partners is a huge predictor of your channel program’s success. When your partners know what they are selling and how your solution helps the customer, they become much more credible and effective at closing business and then ensuring your new customers become a success story. Effective partner training benefits your channel program in countless ways and makes your partners much more effective at doing their job. This results in lower friction and costs to sales improved communication decreased support inquiries and maintenance costs, and higher sales. Executing a training strategy can be challenging, so we’ve assembled a few best practices to get the most results from your training program.
Design a Multi-purpose Training Curriculum
Training materials can be costly to create and require a lot of effort, so you will want to create content that can be used to train both internal staff and channel partners. Broad content eliminates the need to create multiple versions of training content with similar messages. The good news is that your internal staff and channel partners are selling the same products or services and interacting with similar audiences, so there should be a large amount of overlap. A shared training curriculum also creates a common language related to your products or services, meaning that your employees, partners, and customers will have an easier time communicating with each other.
Keep Your Training Materials Concise
The training content for your channel partners should be intentional and assist in selling and supporting your products or services. Your channel partners wear several hats and are more likely to consume short and easy-to-digest training. On the expensive side, interactive courses and video are a great way to deliver engaging training. For video, make sure to include transcripts so your partners can quickly find content. On the other side of the spectrum, having text-only training is cost-effective but the materials may not get utilized because people generally avoid reading lengthy documents, especially when they have limited time. The sweet spot for your specific training program will balance cost and engagement with a mix of text and interactive training materials.
Provide Incentives to Complete Training
The more knowledge your partners have about your products or services, the better they will be at selling for your organization. A formal training and certification program can foster this kind of learning, especially when there are incentives in place to ensure your partners have retained the information provided in training. If your partners get special pricing, access to MDF or rewards, or improved sales support when reaching certain training milestones, this can provide a powerful incentive where everyone wins. Consider using quizzes, tests, and exams to track your partners’ knowledge, maybe even putting a formal certification program in place that provides additional benefits to partners that complete certain training levels.
Easy Access to Partner Training Materials
Partner training is most effective when it is integrated into your existing partner portal. That way, partners are not logging into multiple systems trying to find the right training content. Also, having all your training data in the same place as partner data allows for simplified reporting and faster decision making.
Most full-featured Partner Relationship Management (PRM) solutions offer a built-in Learning Management System (LMS) to handle partner training. Training users from within your partner portal improves your ability to create, promote and automate the delivery of training materials, test and certify knowledge, and track partner progress.
Did you know Channeltivity has a Training & Certification module? The module allows you to easily create and deliver media-rich training, including SCORM content, to your partners right from your secure PRM portal. The Channeltivity team is happy to walk you through a demo of the Training & Certification module.