The success of your business depends on the efficiency and loyalty of your channel partners towards your organization and the products you offer. They could be retailers, wholesalers or agents. Training becomes an important medium to engage and involve the channel partners in your business and seek a long term commitment from them. What is the type of training that best suits channel partners? Keeping in mind the fact that training goals should mirror the business goals of your organization, training programs for channel partners should include the following:
Product Training: Your channel partners should be well-versed with your product range and the benefits they offer to end-customers. Therefore, the training program should devote considerable time in highlighting the USP of your products vis-a-vis competition. If your organization has launched a new product, it is important for you to educate your channel partners about the same. Unless they understand the features and utilities of the new product, they will not be able to advocate the same to the end-consumers. New product training provides an opportunity to create excitement and generate interest. By showcasing the new product, you will help in its promotion which will ultimately help in boosting its sales.
Sales Strategies and Sales Process: Your channel partner will be interested in promoting your product only if it helps him to reach his business goals. It is therefore in your interest to help your channel partners, guide and plan their sales strategy and help them implement the sales process. Channel partners are often provided with varied discount and incentive schemes for different products. You might also provide them with some co-marketing support such as providing display boards, advertising and so on. It is not enough to provide good incentives to the channel partners; you need to educate them about the same to ensure their loyalty towards your brand.
Selling Skills: It is normally the onus of the organization to train the dealer’s sales staff to sell your products. It is important to equip the sales staff with critical skills that are essential to promote your product. This ensures that the people who interact with your end customers are competent, proficient and true spokespersons for your product.
Virtual Training or Online Training: If your product is a market leader, you could set up online training centers and get customers or channel partners to receive training and provide certification for your products. Microsoft offers such training programs for channel partners and provides a certification as “Microsoft Certified Partner” for its channel partners. Thus, if your products enjoy market leadership, you can actually make training your channel partners a revenue-generating activity by charging for them.
A well-thought out training program will not only help you to foster productive relationship with your channel partners but also helps in increasing the revenues you generate through them.