Recruiting partners is one thing. Keeping them happy, engaged, and productive is a separate, arguably more important thing. It’s not as simple as giving a reseller the green light and expecting them to start raking in the cash. They need to know what they’re selling, how to sell it, and where they can find the right markets. That’s why it’s crucial to have an effective partner training program.
A partner training program is a system of tools and resources your partners can use to learn about the products they’re expected to sell. A good partner training program will include text documents, how-tos, audio and video lessons, webinars, and even some face-to-face meetings. It should be available through a single partner portal that provides all the training, support, and marketing information your partners need in order to be successful.
Training is just one part of a larger project, enablement is the name of the long term game. In order to enable your partners, you need to have systems and processes in place to do so before you even begin onboarding partners. A good partner portal can help forge the relationships you need while keeping you and your partners’ goals on track.
No matter what your partner portal strategy is, homegrown or PRM, it needs to present content and information in a way that syncs up with your partners’ needs. They should be able to access content anytime, anywhere. Some partners are more independent than others, but it’s your job as the vendor to facilitate whatever work habits and preferences they may have. Allowing them to access training materials on the go, in the office, or at home—online or offline—makes their job easier and encourages them to keep you as a vendor.
If you’re to be successful you need to be evolving—always. Your product, market position, and sales strategy need to be constantly adapting not only to the business environment but also to your own place within it. That means your partner training program needs to be evolving as well.
One way to ensure continual improvement and adaptation is to have a comprehensive set of sales playbooks that mirror real-world job conditions. Immersive, realistic training models prepare partners and help them solve sales situations before they happen. Constant improvement starts and ends with training and education. You want to cultivate a culture of learning and growth not just to enable your partners but to keep your own organization competitive as well. It’s the only way to foster success in the long-term.
PRM software can, and will, take your training and learning programs to the next level. Although, not all partner relationship management tools are the same, and PRM isn’t always a perfect fit for your company. Here’s a quick list of what your partner portal should entail:
1. Simplified onboarding processes – No sales partner wants to spend hours or even days jumping through logistical hoops when they could be spending that time making sales. Getting up to speed and joining your network should be an easy-to-follow process.
2. Course creation and customization – You should be able to create, customize, and share educational courses with your partners to keep them up-to-date. Otherwise, you’re working within a preset framework that doesn’t account for the unique circumstances of each business.
3. Partner certifications – Training certifications and accreditations accomplish a couple of things: They help keep partners engaged, promoting a documented connection to your organization and the larger industry you represent. They also help provide you with key metrics for measuring partner compliance, progress, and performance.
4. Quizzes for sales reps – Similar to a certification program, marketing quizzes can help inform partners and vendors how well individual sales representatives are trained on your product. They can also help engage partners and keep them involved with your organization and market offering.
5. Gamification – Introduce some level of competition, point scoring, or other game mechanics to the partner experience. This helps engage partners while also educating them and enabling them to drive sales.
PRM software with a comprehensive partner training program can help mature your channel marketing strategy, putting you on the same page as the big players. By cultivating an experience that enables partners while also educating them, you give your resellers greater opportunities to forge markets and sell products.