Your reseller network can help you grow your business exponentially - there’s no doubt about it. Yet, keeping a channel network happy and selling is not an easy job – it feels more like herding cats than training a group of people united by a common goal. How so? More often than not, organizations do not approach the process of creating, training and maintaining a reseller network with the needed dedication, resource allocation, and perseverance which results in high maintenance costs and shrinking revenue.
At the end of the day, your channel network is your unpaid (and very often not properly trained!) external sales force. Just like your internal sales team needs constant training on your product portfolio and company updates, your channel network requires dedicated collaboration, knowledge sharing, and training across the channel. So, here are the
5 challenges to training your reseller network.
1) By definition, channel networks are geographically dispersed (and likely independent) entities which introduces difficulties in the process of organizing and conducting regular training sessions, keeping everyone up-to-date with new product launches and updates.
- Create a central, easy to access on all devices location for all training materials: one centralized portal specifically dedicated to partners makes it easy to deliver and maintain consistent training, ensuring your reseller network is all up-to-date on the latest resources, product developments and company news.
- A centralized location for all training materials not only allows for quick and easy access, it also stimulates microlearning around the clock – resellers can browse and query the information in this knowledge center to receive the right answers to the specific questions they currently have.
- Organize real-time trainings on new product launches and updates: here’s where an eLearning management system comes into play. An LMS solution can help you eliminate the lag between rolling out a new product update and educating the extended network, thus increasing partners’ ability to provide stellar service to their end customers. Needless to say, this all leads to increase in your own revenue too. Providing your reseller network with access to easy-to-use eLearning platform will help them access your training content with minimum hassle. This results in higher course completion rates, better assessment rates, and resources saved by an efficient process.
2) A successfully managed partner network is one that continuously grows. Growth, however, comes at a cost: the need to keep your channel network up-to-date at all times, helping newcomers get up-to-speed and selling as quickly as possible.
When managed properly, your channel partner network should be continuously growing. Without the right practices and tools in place, this growth can quickly become unmanageable and ultimately have a negative impact on your overall partner network investment. A way to efficiently scale your reseller network while keeping it well-trained on your product portfolio and brand guidelines is by implementing a learning management system:
- Resellers might have different training needs so you can leverage an LMS to automate their course enrollment to ensure each of them receives the right training.
- Craft personalized assessments to make sure your reseller network is ready to represent your brand and maximize revenue.
3) Oftentimes, distributors and resellers are not exclusive to your brand which imposes additional implications to attracting their attention and focus to your brand. Naturally, this also means it’s harder to secure their time and interest in your training programs too.
- Establish some sort of certification and reward system, along with regular assessments to spark interest and boost competition. You can offer various certification levels such as Gold and Premium to motivate the extended network to keep on learning. You might be also able to turn into a source of revenue (as is the case with a lot of the big software B2B organizations).
- Leverage your LMS to closely monitor the success of your training programs. This way you can analyze the effect of your training efforts on the overall reseller network performance and customer satisfaction rates. You can use this information to also gauge how partners prefer to learn.
4) Building a reseller partnership network never goes smooth. Be prepared for constructive criticism (which is not always constructive!) and sometimes truly negative feedback on your products and services.
Listen to your network. Be open to your partners’ feedback – after all, they are your eyes and ears out there in the field. Analyze criticism and channel it back to your product teams. Address common issues that the extended network reports – when resellers are armed with the answers to common questions, organizations can reduce the number of redundant questions to their support team, and partners can get the answers they need faster.
5) If your business is a global one, it’s likely that you’d like to develop a worldwide network of partners and resellers too. This inevitably creates extra work and headaches with cultural specifics, localization of training and services, etc.
Establish brand standards and training procedures across the organization: when risk and compliance training is weaved into partner network enablement, organizations alleviate problems that could result from misunderstandings, cultural differences, and geopolitical specifics.
Melon Learning offers an easy to use, stress-free learning management solution that can help you train your distributed partner network in no time.