Partner training 101

Partner training 101


Absorb LMS


Partner training plays a key role in expanding market reach and driving sales growth. Data shows that 80% of SaaS companies use channel partners as a key component of their go-to-market strategy. These partners, which can include resellers, distributors, system integrators, and more, act as an extension of your sales force, bringing your products and services to a wider audience. However, the success of this partnership hinges on one crucial element: education through partner training software.

In this blog, we’ll answer the questions:
  • What is partner training?
  • What are the benefits of channel partner training?
  • What are common partner training challenges?
  • How can partner training software solve common challenges?
Let’s begin!

What is partner training?

Partner training is the strategic process of educating and equipping your channel partners with the knowledge and skills they need to sell and support your products or services.

A well-designed partner training program goes beyond simply teaching partners about your features and functionality. It equips them with:

  • Product expertise: Partners gain a thorough understanding of your product or service, its core functionalities, value proposition, and unique selling points.
  • Sales techniques: The program equips partners with effective sales techniques tailored to your target market. This includes understanding customer needs, overcoming objections, and crafting compelling sales pitches.
  • Technical knowledge: For complex products or services, partners need a strong foundation in technical knowledge. Training programs should cover installation, configuration, troubleshooting, and best practices for ongoing support.
  • Customer service skills: Partners should be equipped with the skills to deliver exceptional customer service experiences. This includes active listening, problem-solving skills, and a deep understanding of your customer support policies.

And the value of partner training is clear. Partners who’ve completed a training or course earn an average of 6x more than partners who didn’t.

Read the blog: Driving success together: The power of partner training

What are the benefits of channel partner training?

Investing in a robust partner training program yields benefits for both your company and your partners. Based on research from the American Society for Training and Development, companies with formal training programs have a 24% higher profit margin than those without. This translates to a win-win situation for both your organization and your partners. Let's dive into the specific benefits for each:

5 benefits for your company

1. Increased sales and market reach

Beyond just confident and effective salespeople, well-trained partners become trusted advisors to their customers. They can effectively position your product or service as the ideal solution to specific customer challenges, leading to higher conversion rates and increased sales. Additionally, trained partners can expand your market reach by accessing new customer segments or geographic territories.

2. Improved brand consistency

A strong partner training program ensures a unified voice for your brand across the entire channel. Partners can accurately communicate your brand messaging, product value proposition, and key differentiators. This consistency builds trust with customers and reinforces your brand image in the marketplace.

3. Enhanced customer satisfaction

Partners equipped with deep product knowledge and strong customer service skills can resolve customer inquiries efficiently and effectively. This translates to faster issue resolution, improved customer experiences, and higher satisfaction rates. Satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal brand advocates and repeat buyers.

4. Reduced support costs

By empowering partners to handle a wider range of customer inquiries, you can significantly reduce the burden on your internal support team. And this is more important than ever. According to McKinsey’s State of Customer Care, higher call volumes and complex calls are challenging existing capacity—61 percent of surveyed leaders reported a recent growth in total calls. Trained partners can address basic troubleshooting, answer product-related questions, and provide initial customer support, freeing up your internal resources to focus on complex technical issues or high-value customer interactions.

5. Stronger partner relationships

Investing in partner training demonstrates your commitment to their success and fosters a sense of mutual partnership. Partners feel valued and supported, leading to stronger, more collaborative relationships. This collaborative environment can lead to increased communication, knowledge sharing, and joint marketing initiatives, ultimately driving greater success for both parties.

5 benefits for your partners

1. Deeper product expertise

Partners gain a comprehensive understanding of your product or service, not just its features. Training explains the underlying technology, functionalities, integrations, and best practices for deployment and ongoing support. This deep knowledge allows partners to confidently position your product against competitors, address complex customer questions, and overcome sales objections. This is also key for selling to existing customers. Data shows that existing customers typically spend 16% to 41% more than new customers when trying new products or services.

2. Improved sales techniques

Training equips partners with a robust sales toolkit. They learn effective sales methodologies, customer needs identification techniques, compelling value propositions, and negotiation strategies. This comprehensive training translates to improved sales performance, closing more deals, and ultimately, increased profitability for your partners.

3. Faster time to market

Traditional sales cycles can be lengthy, but with proper training, partners can quickly grasp the value proposition and selling points of your product. This allows them to start selling sooner, maximize their earning potential, and capitalize on new market opportunities.

4. Competitive advantage

Partners with strong product knowledge and effective sales skills stand out from the crowd. The training equips them with the expertise needed to differentiate themselves from competitors, secure more deals, and build a strong reputation in the marketplace.

5. Increased customer loyalty

By providing exceptional customer service, trained partners can build stronger relationships with their customers. They can anticipate customer needs, proactively address challenges, and provide ongoing support. This focus on customer success leads to increased customer loyalty and repeat business for your partners.

What are common partner training challenges?

Effective partner training is crucial for maximizing the success of your channel program. But delivering impactful training doesn’t come without hurdles. Here's a look at some of the most common challenges organizations face when training their partner networks:

Learner engagement

  • Limited attention spans: Partners are busy professionals juggling multiple priorities. Traditional training methods, whether in-person or virtual lectures, can struggle to hold partner attention for extended periods.
  • Passive learning: Lectures and presentations often rely on passive learning styles that may not cater to all learners. Partners with different learning preferences may disengage if the training doesn't cater to their preferred learning style.

Training logistics

  • Scheduling conflicts: Coordinating in-person training across multiple time zones and partner locations can be logistically complex. Virtual training can eliminate travel time, but scheduling conflicts can still arise due to varying partner work schedules.
  • Travel and accommodation costs: For in-person training, travel and accommodation expenses can quickly become significant, especially for geographically dispersed partners. A full day of onsite in-person training on average costs between $500 and $1,500 per attendee.

Training content quality

  • Inconsistent delivery: With in-person training, delivery consistency can vary depending on the trainer. Virtual training can face similar challenges if pre-recorded sessions lack interactivity.
  • Outdated materials: Paper-based materials or static presentations quickly become outdated, especially in fast-paced technology industries.

Tracking and measurements

  • Limited visibility: Traditional training methods often lack effective tracking mechanisms. It can be difficult to gauge partner comprehension or measure the overall effectiveness of the training program.
  • Limited data for improvement: Without comprehensive data, it's challenging to identify areas where partners might need additional training or refine your overall training strategy.

How can partner training software solve common challenges?

Partner training software, also known as a partner learning management system (LMS), offers a solution to overcome these challenges. An LMS provides a centralized platform for creating, delivering, and managing your entire partner training program.

Here's how an LMS can address the limitations of traditional training:

Flexible training options drive engagement

  • Interactive content: According to the NTL Institute of Applied Behavioral Science Learning Pyramid, traditional learning methods based on listening, reading, and observing aren’t effective. With these training methods, the learner may recall only 20% to 30% of the contents. With an LMS platform, you can incorporate engaging elements like videos, simulations, gamified quizzes, and interactive activities. This variety keeps partners engaged and fosters a more active learning experience.
  • Microlearning modules: Break down complex topics into bite-sized, easily digestible modules that partners can complete at their own pace. This caters to busy schedules and improves knowledge retention.

Read the blog: 5 microlearning best practices for channel partner learning

Cloud-based learning simplifies delivery

  • On-demand training: Deliver training content on-demand, 24/7. Partners can access training materials and complete modules whenever it's convenient for them, eliminating scheduling conflicts and travel hassles. Plus, online training is good for the environment. Online courses consume 90% less energy and release 85% less CO2 than traditional in-person courses
  • Cost-effectiveness: By eliminating travel and physical materials, LMS-based training significantly reduces overall training costs. Additionally, on-demand access removes the need for dedicated training sessions, further optimizing costs.

Consistent, quality training content becomes standard

  • Standardized content: Develop a single source of truth for your training content within the LMS. This ensures consistent delivery and eliminates discrepancies across different trainers or virtual sessions.
  • Easy updates: A user-friendly platform allows you to easily update content with new product features, market trends, or best practices. Partners always have access to the latest information.

Progress reports support data-driven decisions

  • Detailed reporting: A partner training LMS provides detailed reporting functionalities. Track partner progress through course completion rates, quiz scores, and assessment results.
  • Data-driven improvement: Use data to identify knowledge gaps, track overall program completion rates, and measure the impact of training on partner performance metrics. With this data, you can continuously refine and improve your partner training programs for maximum impact.

5 factors to consider when choosing partner training software

Investing in a partner learning management system (LMS) is a strategic decision. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting the right platform for your needs:

1. Features and functionality

Does the LMS offer the features you need to deliver a comprehensive training program? Look for features like course creation tools, content management capabilities, progress tracking, reporting functionalities, and integrations with your existing CRM or other day-to-day tools. For instance, Absorb Create supports course creation using generative AI to reduce time from an average of 49 hours to a few minutes making it easy to launch your training.

2. Ease of use

A user-friendly platform is crucial for both administrators and partners. The LMS interface should be intuitive and easy to navigate, ensuring a smooth learning experience for everyone involved. Absorb LMS boasts an intuitive experience designed for administrators and partners with varying technical skills.

3. Scalability

Consider the future growth of your partner network. Choose an LMS that can scale to accommodate an increasing number of partners and training materials. For this, selecting a cloud-based LMS is key. This eliminates the need for expensive software installations, scaling automatically to accommodate a growing number of partners and training materials.

4. Cost

LMS solutions come with varying pricing models. Factor in the upfront costs, ongoing subscription fees, and any additional implementation or support costs to find a solution that fits your budget.

Read the blog: The Essential Guide to LMS Pricing

5. Security

Lastly, ensure the LMS platform offers robust security features to protect your confidential training materials and partner data. Choosing an LMS like Absorb that supports important compliance standards helps your organization stay secure.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose a partner training LMS that empowers your partners, streamlines your training processes, and supports success for your channel ecosystem.

Your turn: Driving success with learning

Investing in partner training is an investment in the future of your channel ecosystem. By equipping your partners with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive, you're not just building a more successful sales force – you're fostering a network of trusted advisors who can effectively champion your brand and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Ready to unlock the full potential of your partner network? Consider implementing a partner training LMS like Absorb to empower your partners, drive sales growth, and achieve mutual success.

Absorb Software is an AI-powered learning management system (LMS) provider. Absorb LMS is purpose-built for an engaging, personalized learner experience and efficient administration that enables channel partners to discover, absorb, and apply the knowledge they need. Ready to learn more? Book a demo today.

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