What is Partner Training? The Undeniable Impact of Training Your Partners Effectively
Imagine you’re a major company in the B2B space. Your sales are mostly handled by your channel partners, and to support them, you maintain a robust partner program. You offer a partner portal with comprehensive documentation, an incentive program to motivate them, and marketing materials they can use in their own efforts.
But are you training partners? If your partner hires a new sales associate, can that person easily learn everything they need to know about your product as quickly as possible, or are they reading information aimed at developers and engineers in an attempt to understand your product?
What is partner training?
Partner training refers to the process of providing training and professional development opportunities to individuals or organizations that promote or sell a company’s products or services. These partners, also known as channel partners, can include distributors, resellers, consultants, or franchisees. The goal of partner training is to equip these individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively represent your brand and sell your company’s offerings, to drive revenue and ultimately strengthen the partnership itself. By investing in partner training, companies can ensure that their partners are well-equipped to deliver a consistent and high-quality customer experience.
Why are partners so important?
A channel partner does much more than sell or re-sell a product or service. They are the face of your brand. They might be your product’s manufacturer, and they may provide support or service for your product. They come in many different forms: partners can be franchisees, consultants or suppliers. Basically, any business that helps deliver your product to the customer is a partner.
Their role in the sales process is invaluable. According to a recent study, deals close about 46% faster when a partner’s involved in the sale. Deals are also 53% more likely to close.
Since partners are such an important part of your sales strategy, you want them to know your product as well as any full-time employee, and that means training. In fact, training is one of the most-valued supports a vendor can offer its partners. Partners are hungry for knowledge, but a quarter of partners who responded to a recent survey say they’re not getting the training they need from vendors.
What sort of training should you provide to partners?
Most organizations that use partners agree that enablement is important; according to research from Hubspot, learning solutions are the second most-used partner platforms. Partners agree. A 2022 partner survey found that partners have high expectations for vendor training. They expect several kinds of training, from technical training to sales and business modules.
Because partners are so vital to your success, you need to make sure that you ramp up new partners quickly so they can start selling and supporting your product. A strong onboarding program is vital so that they understand your product, your ideal customer and how you want them to engage with customers.
Being a partner often means being certified by a company both to sell and support its products — it means a partner is a proven expert and has your seal of approval. Because of this, product training is a crucial piece of your partner training program. In fact, partners say they are most in need of technical product training.
How can you make sure your own product training is up to snuff? Do a quick inventory:
- Is your training comprehensive?
- Do you offer training to every relevant part of a partner’s organization, including sales, marketing and tech support?
- Do you regularly update your training?
- Is your training material active (a learning module) rather than passive (an uploaded document or video)?
If the answer to any of those questions is no, it’s time to overhaul your product training.
Sales training is the most popular form of support offered to partners, for obvious, bottom line-related reasons: half of organizations attribute more than a quarter of their revenue to partner sales. Because partners’ most important role is often to sell a solution, partners may need sales training — to get your company’s message across correctly, to know how to talk to customers about a specific technology, and for tips about messaging.
A survey from early 2023 shows that half of companies with partner programs place the highest priority on sales training as a form of partner enablement. Partners place slightly less value on sales training, but say it’s still important to them; about a third of partners are looking for sales training.
Sales and marketing go hand in hand, so it’s not surprising that partners are looking for marketing training. Specifically, studies show that partners are in need of support when it comes to social media marketing. Given the fact that social media is constantly changing, it’s important to offer that training so that partners can effectively market and sell your product.
Operational business training
Recently, partners have started looking to vendors to go beyond product training. The second-most sought-after type of training by partners was operational business training. Considering that business operations include logistics and supply chain issues, the interest in operational business training may be a result of the recent supply chain crisis.
Training can make or break a partner program
Providing a wide variety of training can seem daunting, but there is a bright spot. Partners say they prefer to get their training online, in a self-paced format. The second-most popular form of training is webinars. This means that you don’t have to hold a conference or send out trainers; instead you can meet your partners where they are — online.
No matter their role in distributing your product, partners need to understand your products and services as well as you do. This is why providing quality training to your channel partners is essential for both vendors and partners. When you train your partners well, you get a sales team that understands your product and knows how to sell it, and they get the knowledge they need to do their jobs and sell your product so that both you and they profit.
Are you ready to get the most out of your channel partners? Make sure that every member of the revenue team is empowered to sell your product or service. Download our latest eBook, Rev Up Revenue: Sales Training for Every Career Stage to explore how your organization can train salespeople and partner resellers, no matter where they are in their careers. Download the eBook today!