Addressing Common Pitfalls in Partner Training

SmallBizCRM Staff – July 9th, 2024


Why Partner Education Can Make or Break a Partner Program

One of the most common reasons partner programs fail to engage and retain partners is a lack of partner education. Effective partner education helps partners better understand the product, the customers, and the brand. Without any form of education or training, new partners are slow to produce revenue — if they produce any at all — because they’re unlikely to gain all the knowledge they need from public-facing assets alone.

Newer programs should focus on enabling partners with simple, self-directed resources built upon existing marketing and sales assets. In a recent survey of over 1,000 partners using PartnerStack, 60% of partners indicated that the most desired resources are ready-to-go marketing materials and a partner program FAQ.

Partner Training and Partner Enablement

PartnerStack CEO Bryn Jones explained in a recent Ask Me Anything session that for newer programs, “training and enablement should be a very simple program that partners can run through in 30-60 minutes. When you start seeing partners achieve success, you can ask the successful ones what they need to do even better, and the unsuccessful ones what support they were missing.”

It’s better to think of this as partner onboarding rather than a fully-fledged training program. The goal of partner onboarding is to give partners the essential knowledge they need to start marketing and selling the product. Only after learning from partners joining the program does it make sense to invest time into building larger training courses.

Effective training is especially important for partners driving larger deals. In the partner survey, it was discovered that partners who’ve completed a training or certification course earn an average of 6x more from partner programs than partners who didn’t.

While individual documents and PDFs work fine for initial partner education resources, they’re not ideal for learning about bigger topics. Scattering partner education across too many resources makes it likely that partners will miss or ignore large portions of critical information. Training courses allow partners to learn everything they need in one place and make it easy to pick up where they left off.

Using an LMS for Partner Education

The best way to build courses and certifications for partners is with a learning management system (LMS), which houses all educational content and uses automation to motivate partners forward.

Using an LMS makes it easy to:

  • Build interactive courses: Unlike static slides and PDFs, using an LMS allows for the creation of interactive courses that include text, video, embedded web content, and interactive components like surveys and quizzes.
  • Track partner progress: See where each partner is in the training program, including who’s excelling and who might need extra nudging. Building assessments into courses allows the testing of partner knowledge before moving forward.
  • Award certification badges: Certifications and visible proof like badges help partners prove to their audiences that they deeply understand the product, lending them more credibility when they market and sell it.
  • Give access to additional rewards: Incentivize partners to complete training by giving them access to new partner tiers with increased commission rates or additional benefits like co-marketing opportunities.

PartnerStack recently added access to the leading cloud-based LMS, SAP Litmos, to make it even easier for partnership managers to educate and empower their partners. From inside PartnerStack, managers can select which groups can access which courses and automate actions upon course completion.

What Kind of LMS Courses Can Further Partner Education?

When thinking about the types of courses to create, consider:

  • How can partners generate more value? Education can help partners reach prospects expected to produce higher value, such as customers in larger organizations, and help them sell larger plans or add-ons.
  • Are there new audiences to reach? Create training modules that help partners better understand new customer audiences and how to position the product to them.
  • What formats work best for educating partners? Courses don’t have to be limited to text. Include images, slides, and video content.
  • Has the nature of the product or brand recently changed? If new features are launched or product positioning is revamped, partners must be informed and understand these changes.
  • Do partners resell or integrate software? Certification can incentivise partners and help potential customers understand the level of service expected from each type of partner.

Effective partner education can truly make or break a partner program. By investing in comprehensive training and utilizing tools like an LMS, companies can empower their partners to succeed, drive significant revenue, and enhance overall program engagement. The success story of Looka underscores the transformative power of well-structured partner education. For those looking to optimize their partner programs, remember that education is not just a component but the cornerstone of lasting success. PartnerStack is here to help design and implement an education strategy that aligns perfectly with specific goals. Ready to elevate your partner program to new heights? Try PartnerStack!