Channel Training refers to the process of ensuring that all of the channel partners in a company network are up to speed and properly educated about the company processes. However, this is usually easier said than done. There are numerous challenges to channel training. Some of the more pressing issues involve protecting your brand, effectively and efficiently managing growth networks, ensuring the proper level of partner channel engagement, and curtailing partner conflicts.
- Protecting your Brand - It’s important that your channel partners possess the correct materials, resources, and skills to present your brand in the best possible light. Often, this is a challenge due to geographic disparities among your channel partners. These geographic divides bring with them cultural and language differences. It’s necessary for partner channels to have ample product knowledge, but also the proper amount of customer service and sales training to produce a quality customer experience.
- Effectively and efficiently managing growth networks - The task of managing partner channels that span the globe can be a daunting and expensive undertaking. Organizations must remain vigilant regarding channel partner growth, the generation of leads and register those leads, and training.
- Ensuring the proper level of channel partner engagement - It just isn’t feasible for a company to administer a training program once, and expect satisfactory results. Channel partners must be provided with marketing materials, product-related training, and the proper amount of motivation in the form of incentive programs if they are to be expected to successfully market your firm’s offerings. If the partner is not equipped with the knowledge, resources, and motivation, your product might get mentioned in passing—but the odds of that partner pushing for the sale are severely hampered.
- Curtailing partner conflicts - In situations with several different partner channels marketing and selling the same products, there are bound to be conflicts if preventative measures aren’t in place. An organization needs to be proactive about preventing conflicts and unnecessary competition among channel partners in the first place; if and when they do occur, a plan of action is vital to have in place. An important point here is that any conflict that might happen between your parent company and any channel partners risk endangering the customer experience since they are often the ones caught in the middle.
With all of the challenges facing a company concerning channel training, it’s crucial that the proper approach is taken to successfully address these issues. A learning management system (LMS) can offer invaluable benefits and assistance in meeting and satisfy these different challenges. Read on and learn about seven benefits of using an LMS for channel training.
Seven Benefits of Channel Training Online
1. Learning Through Variety
A superior learning management system is readily able to disseminate knowledge in many different ways, thus ensuring that everyone who utilizes the system can glean maximum benefit. In addition to administering a one-shot instructor-based classroom training session, online and mobile learning materials must be easily accessible so that your firm’s channel partners can employ them should the need arise. Formalized training by itself has value, but when teamed with OJT training and hands-on experience the effect is often synergistic.
2. Automated Training
Enrollment rules and certificates that are automated can reduce the time necessary to ensure that proper training is being delivered. A quality LMS software can convey training materials to channel partners in a timely and efficient manner. Also, enrollment rules can be configured to make sure that the right members are receiving the training they need when they need it. Certificates allow the benefit of ensuring that channel partners are adequately trained from the beginning—before they start to represent your brand.
3. Tracking, Analyzation & Modification
A robust learning management system can deliver analytical data that is crucial to the success of the channel. However, sales data and metrics are only one part of the equation. Raw sales data is limited in that it is only able to illustrate the performance of a channel partner. What is not presented are the weaknesses that exist within the partnership. The good news is that you can link training data to sales data to create a clearer picture of the relationship that exists. A superior LMS can supply this data across all training processes, as opposed to only formalized online learning environments.
4. Using Communication to Resolve Conflict
The social tools often found in an LMS can serve as a valuable resource for conflict prevention and resolution. Courses that are mandatory in the LMS software can dictate (specifically) the rules of engagement. Deal registration systems for your partners can be outlined in detail, along with a course that earns required certification to verify that your channel partners are aware of the rules.
5. Using Incentives and Competition for Growth
Implementing friendly competition and rewards serve as powerful tools to foster channel partner engagement. An LMS software that uses competition and automatic, built-in rewards can dramatically simplify the task of motivating channel partners. The channel administrators can set up automatic rewards that are performance-based and employ an LMS to monitor progress and administer rewards.
6. Employing White Labeling
White labeling is the process of one company (in this case, your channel partner) essentially re-branding your offering and marketing—and selling it—as their own.By selecting the right LMS, customization features are available that allow each partner their individualized portal that can be configured for their specific needs. White labeling is recommended on all communication, marketing and training materials so that a unified brand is presented.
7. Taking Advantage of Social Media
Social media can be utilized to tap into expert knowledge that is located in your organization for channel partners. Message boards are an ideal vehicle within an LMS to ask questions of leading industry experts. Peers are also an excellent source of knowledge and answers, and these answers can be rated to ensure that only the highest quality information is kept current. See how social media learning can help you with channel training.
Looking for an LMS for Channel Training? We Can Help.
Channel training can present many challenges to an organization, including brand protection concerns, managing growth networks, ensuring the proper level of channel partner engagement, and resolving a conflict. However, by choosing a quality LMS, your organization can enjoy the many benefits associated with these invaluable resources.Take a free tour of our LMS to see how it can help your organization with channel training.
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