How to Enable Partners and Build Stronger Sales Channels Via Your LMS

How to Enable Partners and Build Stronger Sales Channels Via Your LMS


Absorb LMS


In a world where collaboration drives success and the success of a company is often directly linked to the strength of its partnerships, partner enablement is more than just a buzzword — it's a strategic necessity.

Partner enablement involves equipping partners, distributors, and resellers with the resources and knowledge necessary to effectively represent and sell a company's products or services. And with 75 percent of channel partners ranking training content from manufacturers or vendors as being important to them1, any organization that chooses not to provide it does so at their own risk.

Strategies for enhancing partner enablement have gained popularity as organizations recognize the need to strengthen their relationships with external partners to achieve mutual success. Yet 73 percent of the same channel partners who rank training content as important say vendor channel programs are too complex — signaling that many organizations could quickly gain an advantage if they were to simplify the process.

Effective partner training and support can be the key to building robust sales channels and fostering brand advocacy. By investing in the development of partner capabilities, businesses can extend their market reach, improve brand representation, and create a network of empowered advocates who contribute to revenue growth. And Learning Management Systems (LMS) play a vital role in making it all possible.

Partner enablement vs. traditional training

While there are similarities between partner enablement and traditional training, like the need to streamline onboarding and improve communications, there are also unique challenges and opportunities presented by external partners.

Unlike conventional training programs that typically cater to internal staff, extended enterprise learning, which includes partner enablement, focuses on equipping those working outside the organization — like distributors, resellers, and service providers — with the specific knowledge and resources required to effectively represent and sell a company's products or services.

The fundamental difference between the two is that external partners operate within their own organizational structures, each with its own processes, priorities, and decision-making hierarchies. Traditional training methods that are typically designed for an organization’s internal audience often wind up struggling to adapt to the (sometimes vastly) different ways that their various partners approach partner enablement training.

Another key difference stemming from the same internal vs. external structure is the level of control and alignment that comes with implementing a partner enablement training initiative. Where you likely have complete oversight over your own internal teams and can easily tailor training to meet their different needs, learning styles, and abilities, it’s unlikely that you will have the same control when it comes to partner enablement training.

So, while traditional training methods that work for your own internal audience may wind up either boring or overwhelming your partners, effective partner enablement training provides a more adaptable and collaborative approach. Recognizing that partners bring varying levels of expertise and market knowledge.

Top 3 ways that an LMS enhances partner enablement

1.   Scalability: Empowering partners at any scale

One of the standout advantages of using an LMS for partner enablement is the it offers. Whether you're working with a handful of partners or managing an extensive network of distributors and resellers, LMS platforms provide a scalable solution. These systems allow organizations to seamlessly deliver training content to a large and diverse audience, ensuring that every partner receives the necessary knowledge and resources to be successful. And as your partner ecosystem evolves, the LMS can effortlessly adapt, making it a future-proof investment in your partner enablement strategy.

2.   Accessibility: Breaking down geographical barriers

In an increasingly globalized business landscape, partners may be scattered across different time zones and regions. LMS platforms help to bridge the geographical gap, enabling organizations to deliver consistent and standardized training content to partners worldwide. Partners can access learning materials at their convenience, fostering a culture of continuous learning. This accessibility not only enhances the efficiency of partner training but also cultivates a sense of inclusivity, ensuring that every partner, regardless of location, has equal access to vital resources.

Learn how Global eTraining scaled to 154 countries with Absorb LMS

3.   Tracking capabilities: Data-driven insights for informed decisions

The ability to track and measure the effectiveness of training is a game-changer in the realm of partner enablement. An LMS can provide robust tracking capabilities, allowing organizations to monitor partner progress, assess engagement levels, and identify areas for improvement. This data-driven approach empowers organizations to make informed decisions, refine training strategies, and ultimately optimize the effectiveness of their partner enablement programs. Real-time analytics and reporting features offer valuable insights, turning partner training into a dynamic and adaptive process.

Designing effective partner training programs

As much as having an LMS platform to support your partner training program can make the task easier, in order to maximize the impact of partner training, organizations must be sure to design programs that align with both their own business goals and the needs of their partners. This involves careful consideration of content creation, curriculum development, and interactivity.

  • Content creation: Develop content that is not only informative but also engaging. Use a mix of formats such as video, interactive modules, and quizzes to cater to diverse learning preferences.
  • Curriculum development: Tailor training programs to cover the specific products, services, and industry knowledge relevant to partners. A well-structured curriculum ensures that partners gain a comprehensive understanding of what they are selling.
  • Interactivity: Foster engagement through interactive elements. Encourage collaboration among partners, creating a sense of community and shared learning experiences.

How to keep partners engaged and motivated

Partner enablement isn't just about providing information — it's about keeping your partners engaged, motivated, and excited throughout their training journey. There are plenty of ways that businesses look to do this, and some are more effective than others. However, if you’re looking for a foolproof way to foster enthusiasm and commitment among your external partners, you’ll want to consider the three powerful strategies outlined below.

1.   Incentives: Fueling motivation with tangible rewards

Incorporating incentives into your partner training program can significantly boost motivation. Consider introducing performance-based incentives tied to training milestones or sales achievements. These could range from monetary bonuses and discounts on company products to exclusive access to resources or events. By aligning incentives with partner success, organizations create a win-win scenario for everyone, where partners are not only motivated to excel in training but also to drive tangible results for themselves and the company.

Acknowledging and celebrating these achievements can also be a powerful motivator. Establish a system of rewards for reaching training milestones or demonstrating exceptional performance. Recognize partners through public announcements, featured profiles, or exclusive badges within the LMS platform.

2.   Gamification: Making training an engaging experience

Gamification injects an element of fun and competition into the learning experience, transforming mundane training modules into exciting challenges. Integrate gamified elements such as quizzes, leaderboards, and badges into your partner training platform. Recognize and reward partners who complete modules or achieve top scores. The competitive spirit and the sense of accomplishment derived from gamification not only make learning enjoyable but also instill a sense of pride and motivation among partners, driving them to actively participate in their training journey.

3.   Ease of use: Meet your external learners where they are

Learning in the flow of work is a strategy that makes learning more accessible and more effective by integrating it into daily workflows. By delivering learning in the flow of work for partners organizations can manage different types of content to create a unique experience for their external learners, motivating partners in a way that both engages them and delivers for the company’s bottom line.

  • Efficiency: It saves time by providing knowledge and resources when needed, reducing the need for separate training sessions.
  • Continuous improvement: Partners can constantly update their skills and knowledge in real-time, staying up to date with the product and best practices.
  • Engagement: In-flow learning can be more engaging, as it aligns with the learner's immediate needs and interests.
  • Retention: Learning in context tends to improve retention, as learners can immediately apply new knowledge or skills.
  • Relevance: Learning content is directly applicable to current tasks, making it immediately useful and practical.With no interruptions to their workflow, learning happens seamlessly.

Getting personal with channel partner enablement

Whether looking to provide training to distributors, resellers, service providers, or any other partner in your network, it’s always important to recognize that each of them is likely to have their own needs or preferences around how that training should work. Recognizing and addressing these differences are crucial for effective partner enablement, and the personalization and customization capabilities provided by an LMS can make it easier to support them.

Some effective personalization strategies could include:
  • Interactive assessments: Incorporating interactive assessments that evaluate partners' existing knowledge and skills is one of the most useful methods for creating training programs that meet the unique needs of those receiving training. Based on assessment results, it’s possible to personalize the learning journey by recommending additional resources or advanced modules for those who excel and providing additional support for areas that need improvement.
  • Custom learning paths: Implementing tailored learning paths that guide partners through a curriculum aligned with their specific roles and objectives can also greatly improve its effectiveness. This ensures that partners focus on the most relevant and impactful training modules.
  • Communication channels: One of the big barriers to effective partner training is the difficulty that learners face when they require support. To overcome this, consider establishing personalized communication channels within the LMS platform to facilitate direct interaction between partners and trainers. This allows partners to seek clarification on specific topics or discuss challenges they may encounter during training and can make the training both more personal and impactful.

The Power of LMS Personalization: Elevating Your eLearning Engagement Strategies

Measuring the ROI of partner enablement

Whatever the individual goals your organization will have behind its partner enablement initiative, it’s a strategic investment, and like any investment, you’ll need to measure its return to ensure that it aligns with business goals and objectives. By establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) and leveraging relevant metrics, businesses can assess the effectiveness and impact of their partner training programs. Here's a guide to measuring the ROI of partner enablement and effectively communicating its value to stakeholders.

Essential KPIs and metrics to track

  • Partner performance: Monitor the impact that partner training has had on sales revenue by tracking the revenue generated by partners after training and comparing it to those from earlier. You can also analyze the percentage of deals closed by partners after training, indicating their improved effectiveness in converting leads into customers.
  • Training engagement: Evaluate the percentage of partners who successfully complete the training program, indicating overall engagement and commitment. When doing so, be sure to assess the average time partners take to complete the training in order to gauge the program's efficiency.
  • Knowledge retention: Conduct assessments post-training to measure the retention of knowledge and skills acquired during the program. To go a step further, you can gather feedback from partners and end customers to assess the perceived value and effectiveness of partner-enabled services.
  • Operational efficiency: Measure the decrease in support requests from partners in order to showcase the improved self-sufficiency and reduced dependence on additional support that training has provided. If you’ve recently introduced new products or services, you can also track the time it takes for partners to bring them to market after completing training to gauge improvement.

How to demonstrate ROI to stakeholders

  • Quantify revenue impact: Clearly demonstrate how partner enablement has directly contributed to increased sales revenue. Showcase specific deals closed or highlight revenue growth attributed to trained partners.
  • Conduct a cost-benefit analysis: Compare the cost of implementing the partner enablement program against the financial benefits derived from increased sales, reduced support costs, and improved operational efficiency.
  • Demonstrate improvements in business goal alignment: Illustrate how partner enablement aligns with broader business goals, such as market expansion, improved brand representation, and increased customer satisfaction.
  • Collect case studies and success stories: Share real-life examples of partners who have undergone training and achieved significant success. Case studies like these can provide solid and tangible evidence of the positive impact that the enablement program has provided.
  • Outline initiatives for continuous improvement: Highlight ongoing efforts to improve the partner enablement program based on feedback and performance metrics. Demonstrating a commitment to refinement emphasizes the program's long-term value.

Scaling for success: How an LMS supports a growing channel partner enablement program

As your partner network expands, your business will inevitably need to . And as with scaling most other aspects of a business, automation and technology play a key role in efficiently managing an expanding partner ecosystem — meaning that those with an LMS behind their partner enablement training program have an instant advantage when it comes to scaling it.

  • Automation: For anyone who’s had to manage a training program before, one of the biggest benefits that an LMS brings to partner enablement is the increased efficiency that automation brings to the process. Automated onboarding not only ensures a swift and standardized experience for new partners, but also alleviates the manual workload for administrators. This, in turn, allows them more time to focus on further improving the learning experience by taking advantage of other capabilities that automation delivers like progress tracking, and reporting.
  • Personalized learning paths: Personalized learning paths contribute significantly to adaptability, which makes scaling training to adapt to new needs a whole lot easier. As your partners take on new roles or responsibilities, your LMS can dynamically adjust to reflect these changes. This personalized approach not only enhances the effectiveness of the training but also fosters a sense of individual investment and engagement among partners.
  • Modular training content: The ability to break down training materials into modular components that an LMS allows for easy updates and additions to materials. As your partner network evolves, these modular elements can be seamlessly integrated, accommodating the emerging needs and skill requirements without disrupting the overall training structure. This modularity ensures that your training program remains agile and capable of adapting instantly to the shifting demands of a growing and diversifying partner network.
  • Simplified technology integration: Change is really one of the only things that we can count on these days, and that extends to changes in the technologies that you and your partners use in running their business. Whether integrating a cutting-edge CRM platform, communication tool, or other business software, an LMS provides a flexible infrastructure. This adaptability ensures that the training program stays technologically current, empowering partners with the latest tools and skills required for effective representation and sales within an evolving business landscape.

Get a proven solution for your partner training program

According to a study from Forrester, if a new partner doesn't start to market and sell your offering within the first 90 days of recruitment2, they probably never will. So don’t make things complicated — get a proven solution for effective channel partner training with Absorb LMS.

At Absorb, we understand the complex nature of partner training, and we have the tools and capabilities that you need to drive results. Learn more about how to support both yourself and your partners in yourtraining efforts with Absorb LMS. Or, if you’re ready to give your business the advantage in overcoming the complexities of partner training and explore how we can create strategies for success, request a demo today.


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