How to Develop Partner Onboarding Programs That Deliver Impressive Results

According to Brandon Hall Group’s 2022 HCM Outlook Study, more than two-thirds of organizations say that improving sales performance is either highly or critically important as a business strategy. Nearly three-quarters say the same about gaining market share. It is critical for these organizations that their sales teams are highly effective, have up-to-date product knowledge, and possess the critical skills to make them successful. 

Organizations with extensive partner and reseller networks face a host of challenges in keeping these groups professionally trained. Typically, sales professionals are tasked with selling multiple, often competing brands and product lines. This creates a variety of complex training needs. When you consider that sales teams are often widely dispersed and typically do not work for the company as direct employees, it only adds to the complexity.

One of the things that makes Absorb a Brandon Hall Group Smartchoice® Gold Preferred Provider is their LMS (Learning Management System) platform’s ability to effectively manage training for a complex channel partner network. They see learning management software as the linchpin for successful partner training. Absorb also understands that one of the key phases of the channel partner relationship is bringing new partners on board. New partners can come from almost any background, and the LMS provides a standard, universal, and seamless way to introduce new partners to your products and services. 

The onboarding period is a critical time for channel partners to learn about your company’s voice, brand, and culture, ensuring customers receive consistent brand messaging. Channel partners typically sell multiple brands, and if the training for your brands gets off on the wrong foot, it can be difficult to cultivate new partners as advocates. When your onboarding program is effective it can impact the market’s overall perception of the brand, as well as the experience of the partner working with you.

By leveraging a purpose-built partner training platform like Absorb LMS, companies can streamline a lot of the things that can make channel partner training difficult. Many companies provide product certifications to their resellers. Leveraging an LMS ensures that both new certifications and recertifications are kept up to date. Automating the process takes one more thing off the partners’ plates, allowing them to focus on selling. An LMS can also automate any other kind of training notifications, so partners always have the latest information.

Partnerships are not one size fits all. A dynamic LMS like Absorb LMS allows companies to create custom training workflows, so each partner is getting specifically what they need. They will not be bogged down with redundant training or training on products that are not relevant to them.

One of the hardest things companies face with training their channel partners is effectively measuring the impact that training is having. An LMS can help assess training progress with customized reporting tools, helping you discover growth and learning opportunities for your channel partners. This kind of measurement is critical in the onboarding phase.

Organizations that want to supercharge their sales and partner training must recognize the unique nature of these audiences and their job requirements. A strategy designed to meet their needs and the technology to make it happen are essential. 

David Wentworth, Principal Learning Analyst, Brandon Hall Group

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