Key Elements of a Successful Channel Partner Training Program
In today’s lightning-fast business world, both channel sales staff and channel marketers have plenty on their plates. So it can be all too easy for the sales and marketing staff at even the most dedicated partner to skip past your emails informing them that your latest training materials are now available. And that’s unfortunate. Because training is a critical part of making sure that everyone across your channel partner program knows exactly how they need to position your product. With high-quality training, everyone — you, your partners, their clients, the end customer — all benefit.
By keeping in mind these key elements of a successful channel partner training program, you can make sure that your channel partners see your trainings not as obligatory interruptions to speed through on their way to doing business, but as a fundamental foundation for selling your product. In fact, if you structure your training program correctly, you might even find that your channel partners look forward to utilizing your training resources.
Get Face to Face and Get Creative!
Technology is more important than ever to successful channel sales relationships. But that doesn’t mean that remote communications entirely replace the ever-so-critical human element. Bringing together your partners with a launch event for a given channel initiative with some all-day training workshops is a great way to make everyone feel like they’re a part of something bigger. And even if partners compete with each other in different markets, they can talk shop and appreciate what they have to offer each other — perhaps even seeing space for cross-partner collaboration in areas where they’re not competing directly.
But just because something is on site and in person doesn’t mean it is a totally analog experience. You can make creative use of the latest training technologies, multi-user gamified learning platforms, and the like in order to bring those on-site partners even closer together and make their collaborative learning experience even more fulfilling. You can even have a workshop that has people take on group trainings on exactly the software they’ll be using to close their deals for you and foster a little healthy, friendly competition that makes everyone work harder and better — the kind of mindset you want to foster out there in the field.
Get Your Training Materials to Partners the Right Way
Not every training can be on site, of course, and for those training and marketing materials that you need to get into the hands of a partner digitally, it’s critical that you have them laid out in a way that’s intuitive, interactive, and simple to access. Your partners’ busy schedules can make it easy for them to overlook information that they have to dig for.
Having a technological solution in place that can facilitate dynamic online trainings and that brings training-critical files right to the partner, rather than asking the partner to scour the difficult-to-navigate directory structure of a platform looking for them, is key to getting channel partners to interact with the trainings. With the right software, you can not only make training modules easy to find, but you can leverage techniques like gamification to make them fun to do.
Keep Your Trainings, and Your Partners, Up to Date
Your product, market position, and sales strategy can never stop evolving if you want to stay on top — and so, your channel partners should evolve too, and that means staying on top of the ever-improved, ever-changing training. Having a system that offers compelling, fun new trainings both on new endeavors and on changes to what you already have in place will keep your partners on their toes and at their best.
If you think of training as a set-it-and-forget-it mode of education, your partners will do what they need to do to pass a test and then — well, forget it. You want a system in place that stays constantly updated and always interesting. Not to mention one that logs partner performance and reward them to do better and learn more. The right training modules running on the right software will set your partners up to want to never stop learning, never stop training, and keep doing their best on your behalf.
I originally posted this here on January 19, 2017.