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Reimagine Your Partner Training and Onboarding

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Inspire an ecosystem of  high-performing partners.
  • Explain why it’s critical to invest in partner onboarding and training.

Introduction

Partners are not experts in your product. They are generalists with niche domain expertise. They don’t eat, drink, and sleep a single brand like you do. Thus, the high stakes for winning—and retaining—partners starts the moment they begin onboarding. To successfully win mindshare, training must be laser focused on partner success. 

In the past, representatives traveled on-site to conduct hands-on training with channel partners. But this time-consuming process is limiting: It’s hard to scale and does not provide just-in-time direction to help partners sell. Since partners are feeling the pressure to make more sales in less time, businesses are investing in learning management tools that are online and on-demand to get partners up to speed fast. As mentioned in the previous unit, personalization is key to get partners to focus on high value training activities

Invest in Onboarding and Training

Quick access to training material is necessary for partners to succeed—and here’s why: More than 75% of buyers report that partners don’t have the depth of product knowledge needed. Today’s buyers eschew generic pain/benefit conversations about potential solutions. Partners have domain expertise, but need help properly positioning how your products are relevant for each region, industry, or persona. 

20% of end consumers report that partners are not specialized enough in the products and services they sell.

This presents an enormous opportunity for vendors to differentiate themselves. If businesses can proactively push training rather than wait for partners to pull the materials, then partners can respond faster to emerging needs. The trick is to use partner profiling, user, and CRM data to push collateral or training plans needed based on what has made other partners successful on similar deals. 

So why should a business invest in technology that seems far removed from revenue generation?

A survey conducted between Salesforce and the Sales Management Association found that while businesses know that delivering content and tools for channel partners is important, they are struggling at delivering just-in-time content. Worse, businesses are struggling to coach and develop partners because of the breadth of options partners have to sell.  

High performers (businesses exceeding channel revenue goals) are pulling ahead of underperformers (businesses with flat or declining channel revenue) by investing in digital education and sales enablement within a partner ecosystem.

Compared to underperformers, high performers are:

  • 2.4x more likely to automate onboarding
  • 2x more likely to have a learning management system
  • 1.8x more likely to deliver enablement resources

The choice is clear: investing in onboarding and training will increase your bottom line. 

Resources