In Part 6, we examine the subject of partner training. Here we ask the question, what training & support is immediately available for the partner, from the vendor, to equip the partner’s sales, technical & marketing teams to be day one ready, and to have the ability to create relevant messaging to their existing customer base?
At Junction we have developed an approach called Channel Activation. Channel Activation is designed to build long-term business relationships between a vendor and a technology partner (reseller). Executed well, it delivers planned, measured and successful commercial partnerships.
In a series of blogs I will examine and explain our ‘10 Step process for Channel Partner Success’ (CPS). This process helps to build success in the activation of channels for both new and established vendors seeking to attract new partners to new and existing segments of their portfolio.
Let’s discuss the areas around partner training in two steps:
- Education – Does the vendor have courses available both online and classroom based for sales, technical and marketing staff? It is vitally important that if a vendor is recruiting new partners and expecting them to sell their products and solutions, that they provide up to date, relevant product and solution training, in language. Depending on the type of training, many vendors have outsourced the online elements of their educational offer to ensure that partners can access the relevant training on a secure and adequate learning platform, 24/7. The different types of training that are available can often help to enhance peoples personal CV with genuine and recognized certification like Microsoft or Cisco. Further education can always help in the development of people’s careers and sometimes leads to job promotions and increased areas of responsibility, particularly in technical roles. Training can also help suppliers when they are representing the partner and vendor, to ensure that they fully understand the messaging and offers. This can work well for telemarketing companies. Education helps to improve people’s knowledge and with increased knowledge people like to share. Vendors who help their partners to become educated, certified and empowered with also develop advocates and that is not a bad result for providing some training on your products. As an example, we work with one global technology vendor who offers all their partner training free of charge for both online and classroom sessions. Prospective partners for that vendor see that offer as a massive positive when considering adding their products to their portfolio. Vendors take note.
- Marketing – What resources and training are available to understand the partner program, lead management process, set up and use of the funding program and utilization of the brand guidelines? Working with a new partner all sounds rather easy but put yourself in the shoes of a partner marketing manager. They may have to understand and administer 3 or 4 different vendor systems, guidelines and websites. When we are talking vendor systems, we are talking partner portal, lead management, MDF and branding. Vendors need to have a clear educational program that allow new partner marketing manager’s to understand and register to use of all these various portals. Short and concise two minute, how to video tutorials are always welcomed by partners, as this shows them exactly what they need to do to get registered and start using the various applications provided by the vendor.
In summary, the lure for a vendor to recruit as many new partners as possible needs to be accompanied by a measured, planned and budgeted approach. Follow the two steps above to ensure that as a vendor, you have taken the correct steps in the process of educating your partners for Channel Partner Success.