Most organizations recognize the importance of great sales training. With this, they give their sales representatives the ammunition they need to navigate the competitive battlefield the market has become today. However, along with their in-house sales team, many organizations have a network of channel partners who contribute mightily to this sales process. And, how much time is really invested in their training? Usually, ‘not enough’.
Why do channel partners need training?
Channel partners are an organization’s representatives outside of its four walls. Just like internal sales teams, these teams too sell to the customers, provide support as well as product training. However, the channel partners are often prey to the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ syndrome. Organizations might not offer them the same information and training for new product or service offerings. They might not train them on the new updates and upgrades. They might not train them how to improve their selling skills. The list can go on. And even if they do, the training might be one single, interrupt-driven, marathon session—one that hardly facilitates knowledge retention.
However, channel partner training is essential and should be offered to all those who are selling a company’s products or services—representatives, distributors, resellers, consultants, contractors etc. By doing so, you not only foster partner enablement but also ensure that you have a competitive, well-informed, and knowledgeable sales team outside of the boundaries of your organization.
The next question to answer is, how can we train this channel? This is where sales training via eLearning courses has gained prominence. Organizations have realized the immense potential of online employee training when it comes to the sales department. Clearly, the channel partners should also get the same benefit of online training when it comes to sales training courses.
eLearning courses can be accessed anytime, anywhere
Your channel partners might not have the bandwidth to attend classroom training sessions. Also, organizing such classroom sessions for a big network can be time-consuming, resource intensive, and expensive. Not to mention the productivity impact it will have as it draws people away from their role in the field. eLearning courses, on the other hand, give organizations the bandwidth to reach out to a larger audience. It facilitates anywhere, anytime learning. The channel partners, thus, can access the courses when they have the time and can be evaluated easily on their progress without burning precious “feet on the street” hours.
Stay current and updated
Corporate training aims to keep the employees up to date on the latest product, service, and organizational developments. However, the channel partners have no immediate access to such training programs. Often the information that is passed over to them is not even current and updated. The manner of information exchange, via brochures, eBooks etc. also is not suited for knowledge retention. By extending online corporate training to the channel partners, organizations can ensure that their partners possess the most current information at all times. Supplement these online eLearning courses with the brochures and handbooks for better information retention and exchange.
Ease of modularized content
It might not be feasible for a channel sales representative to read a 10-page manual, remember all the information and exchange or implement that when needed. This is due to cognitive overload. Disseminated information in digestible chunks to facilitate knowledge retention. With eLearning courses, organizations can optimize sales training courses. Break information into manageable chunks to facilitate learning of even the most complex subjects.
Ease of knowledge assessment
How much do your channel partners really know? How much do they need to learn? eLearning courses are great not only to facilitate easy dissemination of content but also to accurately assess an individual’s knowledge. Levering all the data from eLearning courses, organizations can gauge where channel partners need more training, how effective the course is, and where each individual stands on the knowledge scale. The assessments at the end of each module help in not only understanding how well a concept has been grasped but also help in identifying pain points if any. Assessments also do not have to be in the form of boring tests. Elements such as gamification lend themselves easily to this assessment infrastructure. They provide immediate feedback and ensure better knowledge retention
Customizable and more interesting
The beauty of online training is that it can be easily customized. Use video, gamification etc. to reduce cognitive overload and make online corporate training more interesting and engaging. Training content, as well as, delivery can be made reasonably specific for channel organizations, situations, and even individuals.
Important training courses such as compliance training, soft skills training etc. can sometimes be boring and time-consuming. With the customization capabilities of eLearning courses, organizations can make boring matter more interesting, ensure knowledge retention, and also ensure better course completion rates.
When it comes to training the channel, much like internal training, it cannot be a one-time affair. eLearning courses make it intensely easier for organizations to ensure that their entire sales channel receives the same level of training as their internal employees with eLearning training courses. Once the channel partners are on the same page as their internal team, it becomes much easier to drive impact from them.