Certification and training are a vital aspect of most partner programs, especially when there are levels or tiers that require certain accreditations. A partner relationship management (PRM) solution can provide a native module/app or an integrated third-party Learning Management Solution (LMS) to deliver customized channel training and quizzes for partners to meet program requirements.
Successful training programs that focus on channel partner enablement need to address many aspects of the sales cycle including marketing, sales, and technical knowledge sets. A comprehensive channel training program should also account for all the different groups requiring specialized training within the partner company.
Training, certification and partner relationship management
Any modern PRM community should provide the ability to easily create and organize course and lessons with a variety of content including video, slides, images, and text as well as support for importing content from other course-authoring tools through industry standard formats such as Tin Can API (Experience API) as part of a full PRM system.
It's vital that tests or quizzes are flexible enough to deliver multiple kinds of questions including multiple-choice, keyword selection, and essays. It’s also beneficial to use an automated process for issuing and tracking certificates when users pass tests with a predefined score.
In addition to providing interactive and engaging learning content, a training module or LMS needs complete user management functionality to easily assign courses, monitor participation and identify any skill gaps, which need addressing. For channel management, it's important to have a full picture of the partner account, including training and certification status - the LMS data should easily integrate with the PRM and CRM solutions.
Channel partner training curriculum
A channel Partner training plan should be designed to provide training on the program, products, pricing, and processes.
The channel partner training plan consists of both initial training and ongoing training. Initial training will be more comprehensive in scope and depth, while ongoing training will serve as a refresher or provide updates to the channel partner on the channel program, company or products/services in addition to promoting a close partner relationship. There are four main components to the channel partner training curriculum:
- Channel Program
Channel partner certification
Certification lends greater prestige to the training program in the eyes of most channel partners. There can be multiple levels of certification offered, for example, bronze, silver and gold levels. This can add higher perceived value among the participants and serves as an incentive to progress to higher levels of expertise.
Your company may also consider rewarding the partners who have reached higher certification levels by providing more leads or higher commissions. Certification can also be positioned as an elite club or ‘inner circle’ with a unique moniker with related premiums, prestige, training and support materials.2
The development and implementation of a channel partner training and certification program is critical for the success of any channel partner sales approach. A training plan targets the skill level and required competencies needed to skillfully manage products and generate more sales.
Moran, Patrick. The Sales Channel Development Guide (Kindle Locations 523-527, 488-492). US MarketSuccess,Inc.. Kindle Edition.
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