Many companies in today's competitive environment look outside the walls of their organizations to further their sales processes. Enter the channel partner, an individual or business that teams up with your organization to sell your products or services.
Understanding how totrain external partners is critical to the success of your organization. When you think of channel partners, think of wholesalers, distributors, vendors, retailers and consultants, just to name a few. These external sales partners are not employees of your company. Yet, as part of your sales funnel, you need to engage, equip and motivate these outside team members, thoroughly preparing them to represent you and your product.
The well-being of your company often depends on the performance of your resellers. It's critical resellers align with your business messaging to generate the most revenue possible. With stakes so high, empower your external partners with the training needed to effectively sell.
Let's look at some tips and tools for how to train external partners.
Target your content
A masterful sales pitch starts with an informed message. Today, thanks to the internet, buyers are more educated and markets are more diverse. It's vital that salespeople not only understand what they sell, but how to sell to specific audiences.
However, not every channel partner serves the same purpose within your sales ecosystem. For example, they may sell different products, or some may provide long-term support or follow-up maintenance after the sale is made while others don't.
Various channel partners represent different aspects of your product or service. To make them fully effective, you need to target training and education to their purpose and ensure access to that content when it's needed. An LMS search function supported with machine learning makes personalized course recommendations that improve over time—the more learners search, the more relevant search results become. This keeps learners engaged and your company growing.
By providing targeted content and dynamic tools to your external learners, you'll not only prepare them to represent your product, but you'll also boost channel partner retention.
Create an effortless learning experience
Just like your employees, you want to create an effortless learning experience for your external learners. Understanding how to train external partners includes recognizing that the content provided is worth their time, effort and money. They are not obligated to participate in training, like employees.
Because of this, it's critical to not only target content, but also to optimize it for various devices, bandwidth speeds and locations. This is even more important now as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a massive uptick in remote work, increasing variables in internet access across your company and partner network.
With most external learners both remote and on the go, you want to entice them to participate in your LMS programs, allowing them to access content and participate right out of the gate. Eliminate potential friction in the learning experience by providing single sign-on for quick access. Clear LMS menus and simplified navigation also help facilitate an intuitive user experience.
Integrate training with Salesforce
When you're planning your learning and development for outside partners, don't forget to incorporate Salesforce into your LMS. With many of your partners logged into Salesforce, integrating your LMS into this CRM empowers your external partners to easily access learning in their current organizational environment. Offer targeted learning content they can use to upsell, generate new sales and more. With the power of smart administration features and Salesforce triggers, external learners get the training they need—right in time.
Reward & motivate external learners
Finally, don't forget to acknowledge and reward your channel partners, solidifying their commitment to your LMS. After all, continuous feedback is just as valuable as comprehensive training and support.
Keep external partners engaged through gamification. Congratulate your channel partners publicly through social media posts or shout-outs within the LMS. Create a leaderboard to promote top performers and motivate learning.
By making external learners feel like part of the team, you can increase their loyalty to your company while providing them with all the tools needed for success. And the stronger their performance, the more your business gains in sales revenue and return on investment for your external training program.