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Partner training

Partner training

Table of Contents

    So, you’ve invested in a solid employee and customer training program. 

    But, is there someone you’re forgetting?

    How about your channel partners? They’re often the face of your product as franchisees or resellers, but they don’t benefit from the in-house employee training you offer. 

    This is why partner training is important. When done right, it can turn your partners into your business advocates and the key to unlocking new markets. 

    This guide breaks down:

    • What partner training is
    • The main benefits of channel partner training
    • The steps you need to follow to train your business partners successfully

    Let’s dive in! 


    What is partner training?

    Partner training is the process of giving your channel partners, such as distributors and resellers, the knowledge they need to successfully use, promote, and sell your products. 

    Through partner training, they’ll get to know the ins and outs of your product or service. This product knowledge can then effectively drive a high level of customer experience.

    A partner training program is an extension of corporate training. But, instead of focusing on customer training, it concentrates on partner relationships.

    This type of training can take place in person or in an e-learning format using a Learning Management System (LMS).

    The end goal of partner training is for your distributors, resellers, or franchisees to have the same product knowledge as your employees. 

    Since partners are not part of your organization, they don’t get access to your employee training. Still, they need the training to sell your product well and cultivate a good customer experience. 

    Investing in partner training programs is a natural solution to this.

    In the next section, we will go over the main benefits channel partner training can offer your organization. 


    5 benefits of partner training

    Nearly 80% of companies use partner channels to generate income, but 65% of CMOs feel unprepared to deal with channel growth.

    Additionally, 25% of partners have cited difficulties with channel programs. 

    So, what do these statistics tell us? Companies rely on their partner network for income and growth, but many don’t invest enough in partner training. 

    Implementing a comprehensive partner enablement program has considerable benefits. We look at the five main ones below.


    1. Define and maintain brand standards

    Everyone who interacts with your customers should live up to your brand standards. This is especially true in franchises, as they are out there doing the bulk of customer service work. 

    If you’re trying to extend your market reach by enlarging your partner network, it’s important not to let brand standards slide. 

    A good partner enablement program helps define and then maintain brand standards, making them uniform across your entire value chain. 

    This way, your resellers or other channel partners will be able to live up to the customer expectations you set in your business strategy. As a result, your consumers enjoy a consistently excellent customer experience.

    Partner training is especially important for new partners as you can set the proper expectations from the beginning—think of it as partner onboarding.

    When it comes to delivering partner training, consider offering on-demand learning materials your partners can revisit at any time. This means they will always have a reference of what you expect when it comes to your brand standards. 

    The best way to do this is by delivering your partner training via an LMS. Top LMSs, such as Docebo, come with a native mobile app so partners always have essential product information at their fingertips.


    2. Enable better performance and sales

    With the right training, your partners can achieve expert-level product knowledge. That means they can now sell your product much more effectively. 

    During this training, your partners will learn about the functionality of what you offer and how they can solve different customer problems. 

    Partner training can (and should) include some sales training emphasizing soft skills to empower your partners to drive sales with ease. 

    After all, most companies rely on partner networks to drive revenue. So it makes a lot of sense to invest in proper channel training to be able to sell your products with confidence. 


    3. Decrease partner support costs

    Partner training can significantly decrease support costs. If your partner network understands the product well, they’ll ask your support team for help less often. 

    In the case of resellers, product training allows them to set better customer expectations. This can decrease the number of tickets for your customer support team. 

    Put simply, your training strategy should decrease the costs of supporting your partner network.

    A great way to do that is to provide comprehensive partner training to any reps, resellers, or franchisees. 

    The more they learn from channel partner training, the less support they’ll need afterward, freeing up your resources for other activities.


    4. Business partners become business advocates

    Ideally, your business partners would devote all their time to you and your products. 

    Of course, in real life, you’re competing with all the other vendors your partners are working with. 

    Is there a way to command more space in this internal market and make yourself a higher priority in the partner network?

    There is—a good partner training program. We already know that better training can lead to better sales. 

    Better sales lead to your partner making more money with you. If working with you starts contributing significantly to their revenue, your partners will be more likely to give you additional resources, such as shelf space and co-marketing activities.  


    5. Increase customer satisfaction and retention

    Customer loyalty is like Rome—you can’t build it in a day!

    As we know, it’s much cheaper to keep a customer than it is to acquire a new one. 

    Your partner training program can contribute to customer satisfaction and retention.

    Remember that your channel partners are the face of your brand to the customers. 

    A good channel partner training program won’t just allow partners to sell better but also to support customers better. 

    Partners that have good knowledge of your product and its use cases can address some common issues customers might have as well as inform them of product features that are often overlooked. 

    This kind of high-quality customer experience pays off in customer retention and a decreased churn rate. 

    Next, how to train your partners effectively in three simple steps.


    3 steps to training your business partners effectively

    Now that you’re sold on the benefits of partner training, what’s next? 

    It’s time to think about designing a channel training program that will take your partner relationships to the next level. 

    Here’s how to effectively train your business partners in three steps.


    Step #1: Set specific partner training goals

    First off, you’ll need a very good assessment of what your partners need. This will provide a roadmap, allowing you to set realistic training goals. Plus, it will help you determine what information you should include in the training.

    Exactly what the training material should include depends on what kind of partner they are. For instance, vendors and franchisees might need general training on how to market your products, while sales reps and distributors will need in-depth product knowledge.

    Setting goals isn’t enough, though. You also need to set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor and analyze performance and success. How will you know if your partner training is a success? What metrics do you need to track?

    Transparency is key. It’s important to align partner networks with any KPIs you set. For example, if your goal for the business quarter is to increase customer retention, you should communicate this during partner training. 

    Only by setting specific goals and then tracking them will you have an effective partner training program. A robust LMS is one of the most effective ways to measure the impact of your training (more on that below).


    Step #2: Use a powerful LMS

    Online training has become the delivery method du jour in corporate education. And it’s hardly surprising. There are clear benefits, such as lower costs and higher learner engagement (who wants to sit through a long lecture when you can take microlearning courses on your mobile?). 

    What’s more, organizations can deliver training to employees, customers, and partners all over the globe.

    On top of being cost-effective and flexible, online training allows organizations to carefully track and monitor the success of their training initiatives. 

    Using a good LMS, such as Docebo, HR and L&D teams can pull detailed reports and share them with relevant stakeholders. As a result, they can accurately calculate the ROI of training programs and the real-time impact on the business.

    Certification features mean that it’s easy to keep track of which partners have completed the training and which haven’t.

    LMSs also feature many engaging learning activities, such as leaderboards and quizzes. 

    These are great ways to keep learners engaged and to foster some healthy competition among your partners.

    With Docebo, you can also harness the power of social learning. Features such as forums or Ask the Expert empower your partners to ask questions and have them answered quickly. 

    By enabling these tools, you can also let your different partners talk and learn from one another. 

    In brief, using an LMS over relying on in-person workshops is cheaper and more effective in the long run. With an LMS, partner training can be a continuous process rather than just a yearly expensive training trip.


    Step #3: Build engaging, branded training content 

    Like any other type of training, channel partner training needs to be engaging. 

    While using an LMS, you can easily create branded training content that will engage your learners. 

    Start with gamification. It’s an excellent way to motivate your partners to learn about your products while making them engaging and fun. 

    For example, with Docebo, you can award partners badges and points for completing training modules. If you want to add some healthy competition, you can also create partner leaderboards and reward the winners with a prize or certificate. 

    Speaking of certificates, offering partner certification is another great method to engage partners. For instance, Amazon offers AWS Partner Accreditation that enables businesses to effectively address customers’ technical needs. 

    Google and Microsoft offer these as well. What they all have in common is that training delivery is online and through engaging and branded training courses. 

    If you really want your partner training to stick, think outside the box. How can you grab (and keep) the attention of busy channel partners? What’s in it for them? 

    Time to recap everything we learned in the next section.


    Now over to you

    Your channel partners are an extension of your brand and your ticket to new markets. So, don’t neglect partner training. 

    Effective partner training drives sales and performance, lowers partner support costs, and maintains brand standards. With so much at stake, there’s no time like the present to roll out a partner enablement program. Trust us; your partners (and customers) will thank you.

    The first step is to choose the right tool for the job. From delivering training materials to measuring results, a powerful LMS, such as Docebo, will drive your training program.

    Want to learn more about digital training? Head over to our glossary of essential industry terms.