A partner network is a lot like an investment fund. The more you put into your partnership program, the more likely you are to reap big rewards.
To start a successful partner training program at your organization, follow The Intellum Methodology™. It includes eight focus areas or “strategic thrusts”:
The Intellum Methodology, developed across the span of 20 years, is the foundation of organizational education success. Our methodology enables you to build a curriculum-based, formalized, and scalable initiative.
But before we dive into the specifics, we want to address the elephant in the room.
According to a recent Intellum survey of 500+ education leaders, only 25% of businesses educate partners. The same study revealed that companies are three times more likely to educate customers and employees than partners.
There are several known benefits of training partners to better serve customers:
So, then, why is this happening? Why are companies neglecting their partners?
Some leaders mistakenly believe that each audience requires a separate content initiative.
And when businesses don’t have the resources they need to create new materials for all three audiences, guess what? They choose to educate only their “most important” audiences.
This perfect storm of mistaken beliefs plus resource constraints creates the partner training gap.
You must train and enable your partners.
In the context of corporate training, “scalable” means having the ability to support additional learners with minimal administrative effort.
Some education professionals don’t realize they can repurpose content for different audiences. But they absolutely can.
For example, customers, partners, and employees all need better product onboarding and education tied to a user maturity model. You might use the same video within your customer, partner, and employee training programs.
If you have business training software built to educate multiple audiences, you can share content between customers, employees, and partners. This helps you create a scalable education initiative.
Companies with scalable education initiatives are most likely to experience improved partner success, according to the same report mentioned above.
Below you’ll find details on each of the eight focus areas. You don’t have to complete one to move on to the next. Rather, you must execute all eight successfully.
Partners have a lot to learn.
At a basic level, they must understand the product and how to sell it. Of course, you must offer product education and sales training. But that only scratches the surface.
For example, if you are trying to create a category, you need to teach them about your category. If your partners will be delivering workshops to clients, you might offer public speaking training.
We recommend conducting a training needs analysis to determine “gaps” between the current state and the desired state. Once needs are clear, then you can create education goals that tie to the overarching business goals.
Audience strategy is about defining your audience segments and learner personas. Only then can you make smart decisions about content and delivery methods.
Not every partner is alike. You can choose to segment your audience by tier (e.g., legacy partners, new partners), by niche (e.g., manufacturing, finance), or some other way.
Within each audience segment, you can group learners who share common characteristics. For example, training goals, job responsibilities, or skill level.
The size of your education team will vary depending on company size, stage, and budget. However, here are seven roles you need access to:
(Learn about the responsibilities of each role as well as traits to look for when hiring here.)
There are different types of content within an organization. Education content drives behavior change.
Building a content strategy allows you to gain alignment on:
This is where you map delivery to the learner journey. For example, you might have multiple onboarding assets: a virtual training session, videos, and help articles.
You will answer these questions for each learner persona.
There are four elements of marketing strategy:
You need to know if your program is successful. One helpful model for measurement is the Kirkpatrick Model, which measures learner proficiency across four levels.
(Discover questions you can ask learners and metrics to measure at each level here.)
Application is the process by which you share learnings, iterate, and republish. In other words, you’re not always best served by creating more content. Many times, your channel partner program will go further by improving and refining your existing content.